Owning your own franchise can make a major corporation's successes your own. Despite what some people might imagine, franchisees have a great amount of leeway when it comes to how their individual businesses are run. Sure, you might not be able to change the name on the sign outside or switch from selling footwear to spaghetti, but so long as you've made peace with the basic tenets passed down by the franchisor, you'll see the business is all about whatever you decide to do with it. Take a moment to ponder over these three tips on how to take your franchise to the next level.

"A smart franchisee knows that everyone involved has the same mission."

1. Overthink your location choices
Common sense dictates securing a storefront somewhere along a busy stretch of road will increase your chances of business. However, it also increases your chances of being immediately next to a bajillion other franchises, perhaps one identical to yours. But wait, no other franchise is like yours! In spirit, maybe, but two companies selling the same products or services under the same name in the same neighborhood means you might accidentally cannibalize each other's business.

Stake out a prime location for your franchise and spend a whole day scoping out the area. What's the parking situation like? What other businesses are nearby that may help draw customers to your doors? How much through traffic does this location see daily? Find a cozy spot and start taking notes!

Be kind to your customers and they'll reward you with their everlasting patronage.Be kind to your customers and they'll reward you with their everlasting patronage.

2. Customer service is your greatest ally
This may seem a tad obvious, but according to The Franchise King, a franchise succeeds when it pays attention to how well it's retaining customers. Not only does this mean training your staff on the finer points of customer interactions, but also developing an accountability system like a suggestion box. That way, your patrons will feel like their voices are heard and their concerns have been met.

But it doesn't have to be all bad news. Inversely, give your customers the chance to participate in promotional opportunities like sales or events that will help associate your business with good vibes and keep them coming back day after day.

3. Learn to play the game, so you can break the rules
From the perspective of an onlooker, franchises might appear to have two opposing profiles: the franchisee – the little guy with no power – versus the franchisor – the head honcho with all the power and more. However, a smart franchisee knows that everyone involved has the same mission: to provide goods and services to the people who need them the most.

That's why FranDevelop recommends always maintaining a good rapport with your franchisor when they ask you to implement new policies and the like, instead of gossiping with other franchisees and coworkers. Honoring this partnership will pay off when your franchisor notices you're a team player. Moreover, learning to ask questions appropriately can establish an engaging relationship that is as much "take" as it is "give."

Equipment and franchise industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.