Sometimes I get asked to talk with potential franchisees of one client or another – usually when they are thinking about joining a network and want to speak with someone connected but not part of the franchise.
So, it wasn’t really surprising that I got a call from a guy who is thinking about joining a network.
The slightly surprising thing was that he lived a mile from me and wanted to meet rather than talk!
I have to say I usually enjoy these conversations because we only work with franchisors who want our services and we believe in what they are doing… which means that I don’t have to make anything up, I can talk from a position of belief.
And, to be honest, this meeting was no different and my interrogator (did I say interrogator?) even bought the coffee. Two cups. That’s how long we were together!
I got a real grilling.
I didn’t really mind the grilling because there was an answer to every question but I did feel drained, as though I’d been to a job interview when I finally got out of Starbucks.
The reason for such a grilling is that my interrogator knew a man down the pub who was an ‘expert’ on franchising and had given a series of questions based on an understanding that just wasn’t right.
The first attack: the Interrogator was primed to ask why there were two limited companies – one for the main business and another one styled Jo Bloggs (Franchising) Limited. The main issue was that there was a mis-understanding about customers… a mis-understanding, that is, on the part of the bloke down the pub.
Once I had explained how a franchise operation works all became clear.
Next attack… what if the business was sold?
Yeah, what if the business was sold? The nature of the relationship between franchisor and franchisee was then explained and we managed to get over that, too.
Third attack: my mate reckons you need to change clauses two, seven and… whoa, hold on!
Get the agreement checked by a franchise lawyer, ‘cos anyone else won’t understand the reason the clauses are there and what they do.
And so it went on. For two hours.
But at the end of it I felt pretty good. The guys questions had clarified my own understanding of franchising and how it works.
As I always say, conversation always moves on understanding; both yours and theirs.
I look forward to seeing my interrogator on the next course.