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IFA tools drive positive franchisee-franchisor relations: your IFA membership provides access to how-to guides and programs for improving and building positive relationships.

Developing purposeful relationships which are not only solid and strong, but are also harmonious and effectual, form a bond between a franchisor and its franchisees. This is what we should all be searching for as we strive to create a system which not only works, but thrives. And while there may be numerous approaches to achieving this goal, it is imperative to creating a sound and successful system.

There are many ways to build strong and positive relationships within a system. However, it is not always easy to find the resources on your own. This is why the International Franchise Association, along with its Franchise Relations Committee, works diligently in developing tools that drive positive franchisee and franchisor relations. These resources are specifically aimed at assisting a franchise system as it cultivates positive relations with each segment. Knowing where to turn for advice and information on cultivating positive franchise relationships is a key component to building the foundation of positive relationships.

As with most enterprises, building fruitful rapport within a franchise system begins with leadership's ability to set the foundation of the franchise culture. Those leaders look for resources that offer them the ability to increase their knowledge when deciding to develop or improve upon the relationship within a system. In addition, they seek out information and programs that coincide with the culture they are working to achieve. I found that one of the most significant benefits of being a member of the IFA is the ability to network with members who individually and jointly possess a wealth of knowledge and experiences that can be tapped. In addition, through your IFA membership, you are granted access to tools which have been developed by many of these members. They offer how-to guides and programs for improving upon and building on positive relationships within your system.

Highlighted here are just a few of the tools that are available to IFA members. You will also find directions for more detailed information regarding these programs. Let's start with what is available on the IFA's website, www.

Tapping the Franchise Relations Committee

Our first resource to consider is the Franchise Relations Committee resource center, located on the main page of the website. A few years ago, the FRC began developing this resource center with the intention of creating a convergence of best practices information, including developing or enhancing positive relationships within your system. Within this library-resource center is material that is available to the IFA community, including the most recent information that has been developed: "Effective Development of a Franchise Support Organization." This guide was developed with the intention of helping franchisors develop an effective operational support system within their organizations. The information is invaluable and covers topics from franchise support principles, basic elements of support, support standards, goals, objectives and measurements of the support organization. In addition, this guide also provides an appendix of sample support forms and letters that can be implemented within a system.

Another informative guide for IFA members is the "Successions Planning and Transfers Handbook," developed to be used interchangeably by either a franchisee or franchisor to help in planning for the eventual exit from your business. This manual gives a detailed explanation regarding why a succession plan is needed, how to develop the plan along with helpful information on the sale and transfer of a franchise. The detail within the sale and transfers section is broken down into steps from selling to an outsider, marketability of the franchise business, valuation methods, selling to an employee and the importance of establishing a transfer policy.

The guides and programs mentioned above are not the only materials available to IFA members. In addition to written materials, you can access electronic Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, such as "Getting Franchisees Engaged, Productive and Profitable" and "Franchise Relations in Action," which were educational sessions from this past convention conducted by the FRC. Another source of information that we have compiled within this library is an extensive collection of past Franchising World magazine articles that are relevant to establishing and nurturing positive relationships within a franchise system.

The Ombudsman Program

Another tool that drives positive franchisee-franchisor relations is the Ombudsman Program, a self-regulated program within the IFA. It helps to identify, facilitate and encourage resolutions to disputes that may occur between a franchisee and a franchisor. The objective of this program is to enable the franchisor and franchisee to identify disputes early and to assist in developing preventative measures. This process allows all parties to be heard, and ensures that each dispute is addressed in a constructive manner. It works to encourage the individuals or groups to work together in resolving disputes, thus driving a positive relationship between all parties. In addition, this program provides confidentiality to each faction and acts as an impartial source of assistance in a resolution of the dispute. More detailed information is available on the IFA Ombudsman website at www.ifaresolve com.

The CFE Program

A final point and source within the IFA regarding tools that drive positive franchisee-franchisor relationships is the Certified Franchise Executives Program. Its mission is to enhance the professionalism of franchising by certifying the highest standards of quality training and education. It offers a wide range of educational programs for franchise executives to learn and to grow professionally. With the extensive collection of classes, forums and educational sessions available within the programs offered, there is sure to be a focus within the curriculum that you will find drives positive franchisee-franchisor relationships.

I have only scratched the surface of the available tools that members of the IFA can access that drive positive franchisee-franchisor relationships. There are many educational sessions, programs, guides and articles that have been developed over the years by leaders within the franchise community, offering valuable information on establishing positive relationships within a franchise system. Now it is up to you to decide which method is right for you.

Barbara Moran-Goodrich is CEO/president of Moran Family of Brands and is chairwoman of the IFA Franchise Relations Committee. Find her at via the directory.
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Comment:IFA tools drive positive franchisee-franchisor relations: your IFA membership provides access to how-to guides and programs for improving and building positive relationships.
Author:Moran-Goodrich, Barbara
Publication:Franchising World
Date:Sep 1, 2013
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