The only way they can achieve consistency is through in-depth training programs that educate franchisees in all aspects of the business from the bottom up. For the franchisee starting out, there are a number of things to look for in a solid training program, and for the franchisor there are a number of things needed to ensure that golden consistency.
A Comprehensive Operations Manual
Step one in arranging a training program for franchisees is drafting a detailed operations manual. The manual serves as a quality control mechanism for the franchise because it sets forth the standard operating procedures for all aspects of the business from site selection to sales. The OM allows companies a way to define and measure performance standards and also enforces brand protection by making sure that all franchise locations follow the same set of rules.
Franchisors are wise to have a professional write their operations manual since a poorly written one could land them in legal trouble. The manual is a legally binding document so accuracy and precision are essential. OMs are exhaustive and complex, so it’s easy to miss something or to not be clear on every point.
The franchisee should also look at the franchise disclosure documents which are included as part of the franchise agreement. It will outline everything included in the training program.
Three Levels of Training
Most companies offer three tiers of training: headquarters, on site, and continual. The first step is headquarters training and this can take as little as a week, or as long as several months depending on the complexity of the business. Most franchisors will pay for the franchisee’s travel and accommodations and the training fee is, in most cases, included in the franchise fee so there is no additional cost. Training usually takes place in a classroom setting, and the best programs make use of multiple learning methods since it has been proven than people learn better that way. Learning materials should be presented in audio, video, and tactile formats to ensure the best learning experience. Franchisees should also be introduced to company staff members including management and executives to make them feel like they’re part of the family.
Onsite training happens either at an established franchise location, or at the location that the franchisee will be opening. At this stage, the training should be tailored to the individual to address whatever questions that may have and whatever concerns might be troubling them. During store opening it’s also a good idea to have a team of experienced staff members for the first week or so to ease the franchisee into the business. Good franchise training will also include ongoing sessions updating franchisees with the latest products, procedures and industry trends. Intermittent refresher training courses can secure brand strength and act as another method of quality control guaranteeing a successful franchise.
Finally, a good training program will test its franchisees to make sure they’ve been paying attention and learning the things they’ve been taught.
What Should Training Cover?
To put it simply, a training course should cover everything the franchisee needs to know about starting their businesses. To be more specific, it should cover these areas:
- Site selection and construction
- Operational standards and procedures
- Recruitment and employee training
- Customer service standards
- Marketing, advertising, and public relations
- Financial management
- Administrative tasks
- Sales procedures
- Affiliated suppliers
Excellent Training Examples
Many companies on the BeTheBoss.ca network offer excellent training programs. The Gardener, for example, has an apprenticeship program for new franchises that allows them to get the hands on experience they need to run a gardening business. As an apprentice they work side by side with an experienced franchisee and learn all about the various plants, products, and techniques used in creating a beautiful garden.
Minuteman Press has an award-winning training program that has received much praise from its franchisees. The comprehensive program covers everything they need to know and schedules the classes at a brisk pace, keeping franchisees engaged and interested all the way through. Most Minuteman Press franchisees have no experience, but they still come out of their training as experts.
Auto detailing service Cody Mobile takes the multi-faceted approach to their training program. With in-class session that utilizes video, online courses, and one-on-one instruction, they cover everything in a matter of weeks. Cody Mobile considers the franchisees learning styles to optimize the training experience and guarantee results.
These are just a few examples of who gives top notch training. Now that you’re informed on what to look for, you’ll know if your franchise is effectively preparing you for the job.