How to Thrive in a Franchise without Losing Your Cool
I frequently get asked questions about "how to open a Pure Barre" from women across the country. It's a funny thing, being in a franchise. You feel like you have all the answers to give, but at the same time, no wisdom to share because the process changes regularly. You feel like an independent entrepreneur, but there's no doubt that the franchisor has the power to radically change your business with a single decision. As the franchise evolves and grows, so do the demands put on your business, and one person's experience will not necessarily be similar to the next. However, what I have learned to be true is that you have to know what you are getting into when you sign on to any company as a franchisee, and there are certain things to know if you want to keep your cool.
Here's the deal - if you can't roll with the punches, don't get involved in a franchise. You are a person, with your own independent thoughts, ideas, and talents, and no matter how good or bad your franchise is, you will disagree at some point. You will think that you could do better or that the initiative set in place is a flop. I have good feelings towards my franchisor, but I would be lying if I said I've never questioned leadership or direction. Some of that is good - it's called being objective and keeping the pulse on your own market.
But rebelling against the franchise that you have signed on to will never get you anywhere - they are parent and you are child.
The likelihood is that, when you got involved in your franchise, you felt like you had the freedom you needed and the support you desired from your franchisor. If you didn't feel that way, you probably wouldn't have spent a chunk of money or taken out a loan to sign your life away. And then, something shifted. Ownership pivoted and the rules changed, and you feel like an angry child, protesting loudly the whole way. Guess what?
Lasting change never happened because someone shared their emotions through kicking and screaming.
In order to thrive in a franchise model, you have to be respectful of the parent-child relationship, but I like to view this familial tie as one of an adult child and parent, not a co-dependent toddler. As a franchisee, there are things that are appropriate to lean on your franchise for - marketing assistance, cohesive branding, quality control, and an excellent product. However, expecting the franchise to "do the work for you" is indicative of a person who doesn't actually want to be an entrepreneur.
Yes, franchisees may have additional challenges in their business because of franchisor decisions that don't ring true in their market, but non-franchise business models have their own challenges because their product has not yet been proven or established enough to franchise. Everyone has issues, and you pick your poison.
Your voice matters, but you don't always have the power to impact change beyond your position of authority. Instead of always fighting the flow of the franchise, your time can be better spent making the changes in your individual business. If you truly know what's best for your market, spend your time and money on the local level.
People who keep their heads down and hustle for success will speak volumes over those who protest every decision but don't take action.
I'm not advocating for a lack of healthy conflict because I do believe change happens when you speak up. However, if you're in a franchise or debating becoming a franchisee of any business, understand the likelihood that you will not agree with every decision, but you made a choice to be here, so you have to do your best with what you're given or get out. At the end of the day, people buy into you far more than they buy into your product, so focus on making connections where they matter and saving conflict for when it's truly important.