A Franchise Riddle

Riddle: Why does this picture of a crocodile and a plover bird perfectly encapsulate franchising?

Here’s the answer:

The relationship between a Nile Crocodile and an Egyptian plover bird is one of nature’s best examples of mutualism. When a croc needs a good flossing, he will simply open his mouth and wait. The plover bird will instinctively swoop in and pick tiny bits of meat from between the crocodile’s teeth. The croc relies on the plover bird to keep his mouth clean and free from infection and the plover bird relies on the croc to complete his diet. The giant reptile and tiny bird are mutually dependent on each other. Isn’t nature beautiful!?

So what does this have to do with franchising? In order to best understand the metaphor, lets first define the two major parties involved in franchising. The franchisor establishes the brand’s trademarks and business systems. The franchisee pays a royalty for the right to do business under the franchisor’s name and system. Like the relationship between the croc and the plover bird, the relationship between a franchisor and franchisee is the business world’s purest form of mutualism. In order for a franchise to thrive, both the franchisee and the franchisor have mission-critical jobs to do. The franchisor must create a unique product or service, define its target market and develop a strategy to deliver that product or service to its target market. They must provide enough support and infrastructure for their plan to be implemented. In turn, the franchisee must be prepared to execute the mission and business strategy, as defined by the franchisor, with a high level of precision. Without the franchisee, the franchisor lacks a vehicle to scale their business. With the franchisor, the franchisee lacks a vehicle to scale their business. Both roles are critical to the mission and neither role would serve any purpose, without the other. It is a cooperative business arrangement unlike any other!

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