What to Do When You Don't Know the Answer in Franchising
As an adult, you've learned that there are plenty of times in life where you don't know what to do. Unlike what we thought from a young age, growing up doesn't automatically give you the answers to life. Whether you were asked a question you didn't know the answer to, or something just left you "stumped," you were in over your head and had to call for backup answers. There's no shame in doing so, of course; it's always better to get the right solution than to simply find one fast.
Because, let's face it, no matter what size of problem you're dealing with, it's better to do things wrong than to guess and have to backtrack later on. Especially when dealing with a business (and therefore money).
When a situation takes place in your new company, or in a setting that affects jobs and incomes, the stakes are much higher. So why take the risk? It's time to break out the big guns and to learn as much research as possible, as quickly as possible.
In doing so, you'll also learn more than you even knew you could – and faster than you knew was possible.
But really, what do you do?
There are plenty of places you can go for an answer. First, start by contacting your franchising company, also known as the franchisor (you are the franchisee).
Do you have a contact there or someone who you prefer to go to for advice? Check with them and see if they can help you out. Because you already have an established relationship with them, you should be able to open up communication quickly. They might know the answer off the top of their head, send you to someone who knows more about the subject, or need a few minutes to ask around. Either way, they should be a trusted source to help you through your question, no matter how big or small. Franchise field representatives are called “Regional Manager” or “RM” or similar. These are franchise representatives that actually visit stores so they’ve seen a lot of methods of approaching issues.
This is also a great go-to when dealing with franchise-based questions, or something that might be listed by contract.
Next, head to the net. With a quick Google search, you can gain infinite answers to your questions. Will all of them be right? No, but you will have plenty to choose from. Check chat forums and more for situations that might be applicable to your own business. Or, if your franchise has its own behind-the-scenes web presence, you can head there for real-time knowledge toward the situation at hand.
Another place to go is fellow franchisees. Do you have contacts or friends you've made in the business world? When you're not sure about what to do next, ask for their help. Even if they haven't dealt with your exact situation, they might be able to impart some wisdom on a similar situation. This might be ideal for gray areas or any type of situation that doesn't have a definite right or wrong solution. (Or in other words, a majority of your franchising dilemmas.)
Go for the Combo
Finally, it's time to bring in all you've learned and put it together. When it's your business, you will know the right way to deal. Even if it's the first time around, it's your baby. You're the best person to fix whatever scenario might have arrived. And if it's a doozie, consider the whole experience a hard lesson learned.
This is, after all, what you've been waiting for. As a business owner, you get to make the big decisions. Take everything you have learned – before the franchise and after – and compile it into one conglomerate of information. Next, use the advice you've gained from others, answers you heard online, and of course, data or instructions from the franchising brand. Put it all together, and then it's time to come up with a plan of action. One that's informed, well thought-out, and has proven steps behind it.
As a franchisee, you'll learn to quickly put out fires as they arise. Over time, this will become standard, allowing your business growth and continued success. Without missing a beat.