It comes as no surprise that the most important things we realized in 2020 had to do with our relationships. With social distancing, quarantining, and stay-at-home orders going away, we hope, we must now look to rebuilding our relationships with franchisors, employees, and customers.
It’s vital to have a healthy relationship with your business partners. Every franchisee knows that working with franchisors is different from working directly with a normal “boss” or manager. As a franchisee, you are a business owner yourself. However, that does not mean that it is not important to maintain a good relationship with your franchisor.
As we move into the rest of 2021, keep in mind that your franchisor is an ally, and an asset – not a burden. Things might have been touch and go between you during the hardest parts of last year. Working with others is not always easy, but maintaining these personal connections, especially while moving into what may be the best year for franchises yet, is of the utmost importance.
Keeping a close relationship with your franchisor can help you stay up to date on industry trends, learn more about the business and customer relations, and benefit you both down the road.
Keeping up with our employees during the pandemic has looked different for each business owner. In a lot of ways, we have stayed connected more about personal health and safety than ever before – asking about symptoms, and even looking after our employees’ mental states through high seasons, long hours, sickness, and quite often the loss of someone they knew.
As we move back into the normal, chances are these specific details will no longer be shared in your regular interactions with employees. But this does not mean that it isn’t important to maintain a healthy relationship with your employees.
Ensure they feel appreciated and valued, especially as life returns to normal. Remember to thank them for toughing out challenging times and overcoming the negativity. Being there for your employees reminds them to be there for you. Encourage loyalty, engagement, and employee satisfaction by continuing to remind your employees that they matter, long after the hardest days are over.
Chances are, you were there for your customers when they needed it most. Franchises did exceptionally well in 2020, despite the overall economic downturn of most of the market. So, your customers will be thinking of how you were there for them when they needed it the most.
As you move forward into a post-COVID world, be sure to show your customers that the feeling is mutual. Offer rewards programs, or customer appreciation tokens to show that you value their loyalty and patronage.
Maintaining positive relationships with customers is always a good thing, but even when things are going well, a relationship can suffer due to a perceived lack of appreciation on one party’s behalf. People naturally want to be appreciated, even in a customer-business relationship. Recognizing these things will help your customers to continue to feel valued. A good business relationship is good for everyone involved.