While franchises offer business-minded individuals a network of support, tried-and-true marketing methods and numerous other advantages, franchisees, unlike those investing in a small business opportunity, must comply with a set of policies.

Franchisor policies are not merely rules for the sake of having rules, the website Franchise.net points out. Policies are based on the past experiences - what works, what doesn't - of franchisees, the founder and the management system. These policies, the site, points out are not arbitrary.

"A policy is developed from numerous experiences and can take into account a whole line of knowledge, circumstances and other arrangements which all stand behind it," writes Franchise.net.

However, when compliance problems arise it is usually not a result of willful disobedience on the part of franchisees. Rather, these issues usually stem from a lack of knowledge, such as not understanding the fundamental definition of "policy" or something within the policy itself.

Before compliance can even be guaranteed, however, franchisees must understand why a policy exists in the first place. For example, a policy outlining how a franchisee must clean his or her unit's floor may seem silly. However, the policy was developed using factors such as cost, timing, slippage, potential damage to other items and ease of enacting.

These items and tests are not included in the franchisee handbook to justify the floor cleaning policy, though. As a result, a franchisee who decides this policy is needlessly complicated and then cleans the floor according to his or her own judgment could cause more damage or expenses than necessary.

Instead, if a franchisee believes a policy outdated, it is his or her responsibility to find out why such a rule was created in the first place. Likewise a good franchisor will explain and clarify the policies where needed.

"The good franchisor does not argue about the policies; stays open to additional information and experience; and rewrites policy as necessary but only when the changes take into account all other past experience, all other current policies and is absolutely sure the new policy is going to forward the purpose of the business and lead to success," the website explains.

Many of these policies will be laid out in the Franchise Disclosure Document, which any interested individual should receive before signing with a franchisor. Prospective franchisees should make sure to read all policies thoroughly and ask any questions before entering into a contract.

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