By Katrina Vo posted August 4, 2021

When you grant a franchise, you are entering into a long-term interdependent business relationship, averaging 7 years. (One franchise network we recently surveyed has an average franchisee tenure of 20 years.)

This means you can't just walk away when the relationship gets strained. It also means you are likely to have a spread of franchisees with different levels of experience, ranging from wide-eyed rookies who hold onto your every word, to cynical veterans who know more about the business than you ever will.

We were recently invited to facilitate a series of virtual round tables for the IFA, where experienced franchisors shared their insights on supporting franchisees at different stages of their business journey. We share 14 of their insights with you below, seven for when franchisees start out, and seven for when they have matured. Also in this Positive Franchising Update:

  • An introduction to our good friend, Russell Scott at H&R Block.
  • A franchising fact on the psychology of franchisee satisfaction over time.
  • Coming professional development workshops for franchisor teams.
  • Access to a webinar replay on improving field visits during COVID.

BEST PRACTICE: Supporting franchisees at both ends of their journey

The diagram above shows the six stage of FRI's Franchisee Business Journey. It's a model we teach in our workshops along with tips on how to support franchisees at each stage of the journey. In a recent IFA virtual round table we shared the model and invited a group of experienced franchisor executives to share how they set up their franchisees for success at the beginning of their journey, and how they keep them engaged and growing as they mature.

How to Prepare and Support New Franchisees for Success

#1: Use Discovery Days to introduce them to how your Support Office works and the people who will be supporting them.
#2. Share case studies and stories of franchisees who have succeeded and failed, and the reasons why.
#3. Take them out on field visits to look at various locations and talk with franchisees in their businesses.
#4: Match them up with a more experienced franchisee mentor who is happy to be a sounding board.
#5: Get them into positive habits and help them to develop a simple business plan with KPIs to track their progress.
#6: Be a calming influence to help them manage the inevitable excitement and panic in the early stages.
#7: Provide great training and help them to build a quality team.

How to Keep Mature Franchisees Engaged and Growing

#1: Provide opportunities for them to share best practices among each other.
#2: Be open to listening and learning from them, especially if they’ve been in the network longer than you.
#3: Take time to understand their goals, and ask how you can assist them to achieve these.
#4: Involve them in consultative committees and the pilot testing of new initiatives.
#5: Look for opportunities to help them expand into new units or territories.
#6: Publicly reward and recognize their tenure, commitment, and achievements.
#7: Communicate with them in a transparent manner and provide opportunities for them to ask questions.

FRANCHISING FACT: The psychology of franchisee satisfaction

A well-known phenomenon we have extensively researched at FRI is how franchisee satisfaction ebbs and flows over time. This is documented in Greg Nathan's book, The Franchise E-Factor. We are able to also track this great fidelity through our ACE Franchisee Satisfaction Surveys. Here are a few general insights from a recent review of our database:

  • Satisfaction is strongest when franchisees start out, but this drops to a low point at the four year mark. Their optimism in particular hits a low point here.
  • Satisfaction then rises to around halfway between its highest and lowest point at year eight, where it stabilizes for the rest of the journey.
  • Franchisees feel most appreciated one year in, and least appreciated when they have been in the business for 14 years.

Satisfaction has many dimensions, and these each behave slightly differently depending on the network and its culture. If you would like to better understand the psychology of your franchisees, and how to systematically improve their satisfaction, our Survey Team can help with data-driven insights.


FRI has a range of professional development programs to upskill your team. These include:

  • Franchisor Excellence Masterclasses for senior executives responsibile for creating strategy or leading division teams.
  • Culture of Franchising Workshops for supprt office staff who interact with franchisees as part of their work.
  • Field Manager Bootcamps for field managers who support franchisees to improve their businesses.

Click here for details.

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