Storytelling and Franchising: Keeping It Simple.

Multi-Unit Franchising


Franchise Update Media hosted another spectacular Multi-Unit Franchising Conference recently in Las Vegas. This is one of my favorite annual business conferences due the diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and interests of the attendees.

The final day included a fantastic session discussing issues impacting small business owners. The International Franchise Association’s Matt Haller moderated the panel which included Catherine Monson of FASTSIGNS, Matthew Patinkin of Double P Corp, Ron Feldman of ApplePie Capital, and IFA Chair Shelly Sun of BrightStar Care. This “A-Team” of business leaders offered their candid insights on many subjects, but the prevailing topic was the National Labor Relations Board and its 2015 ruling on the joint employer standard.

It occurs to me that such non-elected policy makers, as well as some elected officials, journalists, and activists are dreadfully uneducated about the ownership of a franchised business. This leads to the general public being uninformed and in many cases purposefully misinformed.

If we want to correct this, we need tell the story of franchising in simple terms —  so simple, in fact, that a politician and maybe even a journalist could understand.

Here are my two suggestions to properly and simply communicate the role of a franchisee:

1. The Franchisee Is a Customer of the Franchisor

There’s no clearer argument than showing that a franchisee is a customer of the franchisors and not an employee or middle-manager. There are many things small business owners must purchase in order to open their doors. The purchase from the franchisor is just one of those things.

As an example, let’s use a home services franchise brand such as a plumbing, landscaping, or cleaning franchise. There are several things you need to buy If you want to own one of these businesses including:

A) The Franchise.
B) A Truck.

If you buy a Ford F150 for your business, does this mean The Ford Motor Company is a joint employer of your staff?

Of course not. The car brand from whom you purchased your truck is not in charge of your employees.  Also, the plumbing brand from whom you purchased your franchise is not in charge of your employees.


2. Not Franchisees. Owners.

While some franchise systems may have specific language that they can or can’t use in some agreements, in general discussions we should refer to owners as owners.

If we, as an industry, had used this terminology more often in recent years, the anti-business Washington bureaucrats, lobbyists, and activists may have targeted a different industry. They would have perpetrated their schemes on a business sector without owners.



Social Media: Candy for Franchises

  Social Media Hearts

Social Media is a means to give your brand a voice, put a face on your corporation, and give consumers “someone” to engage. Remember, people don’t buy from companies; they buy from people.


Nowhere is the opportunity greater than in the Franchise Industry, where even the biggest global brand is represented by a local business owner (and many times literally mom n’ pop)! The explosive growth of social media platforms means most of your potential customers are now reachable. Smart franchise systems are reaching those customers by empowering their franchisees with training and tools to be that local voice, face, and identifiable part of the community.


And, last but certainly not least, a social media plan and tools will give your franchise sales team a boost by presenting franchise candidates with an attractive – and affordable – benefit to selecting your system above others. The very fact that you have a plan of attack in social media may a deal-maker for some potential franchisees.


If you’re in franchising, I hope to see you at the 51st Annual International Franchise Association Convention . Perhaps we can continue this discussion!


I have organized a Tweetup at the IFA show with Deb Evans, Matt Haller, and my colleagues from Engage121. If you’re attending, please join us on Sunday evening. Here are the details: