This article is a summary of good franchise management techniques, all franchise groups are different, and require their own unique systems to achieve success. It is not intended to deter franchisors from continuing with their own training manuals.
Good training of franchisees is in everyone’s best interests in a franchised business – after all, your success depends on theirs!
Training helps franchisees increase their skills, competency, and overall chances of success. As the franchisor, you also stand to benefit because sound training helps to maintain reliability, quality and brand consistency across the franchise system.
But there is a lot more to training franchisees than just teaching them the operational side of things. Franchisees are business owners in their own right, and need skills in business management and how to turn a profit, and in recruitment and people management if they employ others.
New franchisees are also investing considerable time, effort and money into their ventures, so it’s important that their training is comprehensive and not rushed.
Here are a few suggestions and ideas for successful franchisee training in your franchised business.
The franchise’s operations manuals should be the main ‘textbook’ for franchisee training. They should be written in such a way that even someone with no experience or idea about the business can follow them. The manuals should avoid excess industry jargon and be very detailed, covering all topics from opening a bank account to how to maintain the franchise’s standards.
This is no mean feat, and you may need some professional help initially in setting up your franchise’s operations manuals to ensure they are comprehensive and thorough.
Since virtually no one can read and absorb an entire operations manual, teaching and training remains essential. This may take place using face-to-face methods or online sessions, or a combination of both.
Examples of training methods include:
- Formal classroom setting at head office or another venue. This may involve lectures, videos, slideshows, discussions, role-playing, and practical demonstrations using a franchise prototype.
- Onsite training. Onsite training is less formal, and provides the opportunity for franchisees to ask questions, and for the trainer to identify gaps in the franchisee’s knowledge and customise the training accordingly. It also enables the trainer to provide feedback and support, and to identify areas to be targeted in later training sessions.
- E-learning. Online training can be a great cost-saver as there is no requirement to pay for a venue or live trainer every time. Examples include online courses, videos, webinars and skype sessions.
E-courses can also be used again and again for all new franchisees at no extra expense, and may be structured to include online competency testing to measure trainee knowledge.
Business Management Topics
Franchisees need skills in running a business. Training programs may need to include modules on:
- Finances – including cash flow how it differs from profit, bookkeeping, taxation, compliance, franchise insurance.
- Products – costs, purchasing and pricing matters, inventory management.
- Marketing – including methods and costs.
- Recruitment – assessing employment needs, remuneration, taxation, employee training, health and safety, workers’ compensation insurance and managing employees.
- Business growth – how to grow the business and manage growth and expansion.
- Conflict – dealing with conflict within the business and externally.
As well as the initial training, regular refreshers are also important to prevent erosion of standards and to maintain a positive connection with your franchisees. Ongoing training may particularly be needed for any new products, procedures or developments within the franchise.
Whatever training methods you use in your franchise, it’s important to measure franchisee knowledge and competence. This might include written exams, practical tests, online question-and-answers or all of the above. You will also need to consider what steps to take next if a franchisee fails the competency tests.
Monitoring and Refining
There are a number of big considerations to take into account in franchisee training, such as how long the training should take, how much time to devote to each topic, the methods of teaching and testing and so on. This is where feedback and monitoring of your franchisees is important, to enable you to refine your training programs as you go.
Quality training helps franchisees to properly utilise your system, maintain your business’s standards, and to succeed in their own right. Make it a top priority in your franchise!