What a franchisee should expect from franchise training
When it comes to training, franchisors may look alike. They provide, on average, between one and five weeks of training. But what if those five weeks of training consist of no more than learning the system in an existing well-oiled operation? Does that prepare the prospective franchisee for opening his own unit? And who trains his management team and shop staff?
Franchise training is likely one of the basic reasons many franchisees opt for a particular franchise business opportunity. When prospective franchisees begin to compare one franchise with another, one of the items they need to examine closely is the training the system will provide them. Their very futures depend on it.
They should expect to be introduced to some classroom-type training with several days of intense learning on the franchise’s tried-and-tested systems.
Thereafter, expect onsite and ongoing training regarding on-the-job systems, operations and changes. Before selecting a franchise, it is wise to speak to other franchisees on their training experiences – it must be training that gives franchisees a sense the franchisor wants them to succeed.
The following should be included in the disclosure agreement:
- Who will be trained
- How long will the training be
- The type of training and subject matter
- Who will be conducting the training
The first days of training are an important time because they prepare the franchisee for running the business on their own. Franchisees will begin to learn the detail of the system and how to work effectively and efficiently by following it. One of the questions to ask beforehand is whether franchisees are given operating manuals (and not overly-technical ones) to take home – nobody can be expected to remember it all.
The franchise operations manual will lay out the operations standards expected by the franchisor. It’s a critical tool for development and operations that franchisees can refer to continuously when they first open their doors and grow the franchise business.
Increasingly, franchisors are providing training modules hosted on their Intranet, or requiring franchisees to complete classes and certifications conducted by third parties. Frequently the franchisor will also send members of its staff to assist in the opening of the franchisee’s location, and to assist the franchisee in training its employees to guide them through everything they’ll need to know preparatory to opening. Ideally, this should continue through the grand opening and beyond. This period of time offers great hands-on training right in the place of business. Franchisees should encourage staff to ask as many questions as they can think of.
Thereafter, support should take the form of frequent visits, phone and conference calls, email, company Intranet sites, newsletters, and even franchise advisory groups. Successful franchisees take full advantage of these opportunities and resources.
An important component of training is for the franchisee or a designated manager to learn how to provide ongoing training to your own staff. Check if the disclosure document provides for a train-the-trainer programme.
Itemise what needs to be learned
Running any business is a multifaceted undertaking. On top of knowing how to prepare the products or deliver services to customers, prospective franchises need to know how to manage a business, to hire and fire employees, to advertise, do the books, plus a hundred other details. Franchisees should expect at least the following:
- Detailed information about the products and services being offered
- Merchandising and pricing methods
- Labour management (recruiting, hiring, firing, supervision and motivation)
- Explanation of all marketing, advertising and communication initiatives
- Implementation of computer and accounting systems
- Details on how to procure inventory, equipment, and supplies
- Standards and procedures contained in the system’s operating manuals
- Food safety and CPR (for food franchisors)
- Leadership and business management
- Problem solving
- Training the trainer-techniques and/or materials for ensuring your staff is trained
- Managing the customer experience and brand positioning
- Merchandising and pricing methods
- Safety, security, cleaning and maintenance
- Supply management (purchasing, receiving, stocking and inventory management)
- Financial management and the use of the company’s point-of-sale and management information systems.
A franchisee will have to do everything in compliance with the consistency standards of the franchisor. But not all franchisors provide the same level of training to their franchisees or prepare their franchisees for success – the quality of training is consequently a vital aspect in franchise selection.