The Importance of Cultural Fit When Purchasing a Franchise

May 8, 2024

The franchise ownership journey is an exciting one that is comprised of key pivotal moments.

The process usually begins with a big “aha” when an aspiring business owner recognizes the substantial benefits of purchasing a franchise. Next, after a copious amount of research, this prospective new owner identifies the franchise opportunities that interest them. Then comes the vetting and a tick list of questions to be answered. Are the franchise fees and startup costs reasonable? Check. Is there a market need for this franchise? Check. Do current franchisees have a strong success rate? Check. But what many potential franchisees neglect to consider, particularly early on, is whether the franchisor represents a good cultural fit for them. In fact, cultural fit is one of the leading drivers of franchise business success.

Why Cultural Fit Matters in a Franchise

The alignment of culture between franchisee and franchisor is pivotal for the success of a franchise business. Cultural fit is about embracing shared values and is the underpinning of every successful franchise business. A franchise organization’s culture and brand identity should ideally share the same values and reflect positively on each other.

The ubiquitous McDonald’s is a good example of the alignment of franchise culture and brand. Whether or not you frequent any of the hamburger giant’s more than 40,000 worldwide franchise locations, you are more than likely familiar with the brand and its culture. Bright, clean, speedy and a hint of whimsey are all part of the company’s brand identity and culture.

Now imagine if McDonald’s didn’t vet potential franchisees for cultural fit, opting instead to engage with those less concerned about speed of service or brand compliance. How long do you think that franchise would last before sales faltered, the brand was tarnished, and the location ultimately closed? The answer? Probably not long.

Not all franchise brands and cultures are as outwardly obvious as McDonald’s, particularly in B2B industries. But make no mistake, cultural alignment is as important for B2B franchise business owners as it is to their B2C counterparts. Regardless of industry, it is critical that potential franchisees understand how to evaluate a franchisor for culture fit.

First 4 Steps in Evaluating Cultural Fit

It can be challenging to peel back the layers of cultural fit, particularly early on in your search for the perfect franchise opportunity. The following are four effective tips on how to start navigating this important groundwork.

1. Explore Franchise Values
As a potential franchisee, identifying your own values is essential. Next, assessing a franchisor’s values should top your research activities. Start by visiting the business’s website to better understand its vision, mission, and culture. Then determine if those key tenets align with your own professional and personal values.

2. Review Franchisee Testimonials
Most franchisors include franchisee testimonials on their websites. To get a strong sense of cultural fit, take the time to read every quote that is posted. In all likeliness, you will begin to see recurring themes and shared experiences in these firsthand accounts. Later in the discovery process, you can ask to connect with current franchisees one-on-one to gain their perspectives on the culture.

3. Meet with Key Stakeholders
Whether it is by participating in a franchisor’s discovery days or scheduling a one-on-one meeting with key stakeholders, initiate discussions on company values and cultural fit. While the top franchisors commonly feature their culture front and center, be wary of those who instead use these opportunities for hard sales tactics. The best franchisors care as much, if not more, about cultural fit as you do.

4. Evaluate Franchise Training and Ongoing Support
A franchisor’s commitment to training and support programs is often indicative of cultural compatibility. Businesses who value continued education and professional development are more likely to consider themselves partners in your franchise success. And those are the franchises you probably want to focus on.


TAB Franchising and Cultural Fit

At The Alternative Board (TAB) our culture is represented by the acronym CALIBER – Community, Accountability, Lifelong Learning, Innovation, Belief, Excellence and Respect. And it is foundational to everything we do. CALIBER plays a central role in TAB’s discovery process, as we want our franchisees to embrace our shared commitment to excellence and business success.

Our ideal TAB franchisee candidates are most often transitioning executives, business consultants and coaches with several years of experience under their belt. TAB franchisees are passionate about helping other business owners and executives in their journeys to success. They are polished professionals who possess an unwavering drive, commitment, and passion for business ownership.

At TAB, we live and breathe CALIBER and are always looking for likeminded individuals who embrace these same values.


Click here to learn more about TAB franchise opportunities and how our culture of CALIBER will position you for franchise success.

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