Need some tips for training franchisees? We're here to help. Keep reading to find out how you can provide your investors with the information to be successful business owners and develop a high-quality franchisee training scheme.
Franchises rely on skilled, informed and savvy franchisees - without them, a brand suffers, with inconsistent service across branches and worsening performance results. To get the best out of their investors, franchisors must provide an organised franchisee training programme. But where to start?
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How to create a training programme for franchisees
Start onboarding early
When you've built a business from the ground up, it's easy to forget just how many elements go into its success. As a result, information that's second nature to you can quickly overwhelm your investors.
To limit the amount of knowledge franchisees must take on at one time, try to introduce them to your business and working practices as early on as possible. You could use discovery days and initial interviews as a chance to share your vision.
Make sure your operations manual is up to scratch
Any franchisee training programme relies on a high-quality operations manual. Franchisees will use this document as a reference point when developing their skills, so it should explain every element of your business in detail.
Write the manual as if you're talking to someone with no managerial experience or knowledge of your business. Start with the basics and then provide detailed explanations of how the franchise works. Performance standards, recruitment processes and technical information should all be included.
Get expert help
You may know your franchise inside out, but there's no shame in not having the ability to convey your knowledge to others. Due to the complexity involved in running a franchise business, we always recommend franchisors get expert help.
Industry professionals and consultants can help you develop not only your operations manual but your training scheme too. Although you may not have budgeted for this step, it's your way of controlling brand quality, so it'll be money well spent.
Don't just dictate the operations manual
The operations manual will form the foundations of your franchisee training programme, but you mustn't just recite the information you've written down. You'll probably end up confusing, alienating and boring your participants.
Remember, your franchisees may only just be learning to speak your language, so make sure your approach isn't too overwhelming. Instead, develop a manageable induction scheme and let trainees know how and where they can access extra information.
People absorb more information if they're actively involved in the learning process. Franchisors can get their franchisees to engage with their training scheme by incorporating Q&A sessions, role-playing games and group exercises.
This approach is a win-win scenario; franchisees feel inspired and involved, and franchisors can make sure their brand values are protected. Plus, it's fun!
Franchise training classes should be lively and interactive. A mixture of training formats such as video (for example, showing a key supplier's facility), lecture, discussion and hands-on work (such as product preparation or how to provide the franchise services) creates an inviting training environment for franchisees. - Mark Siebert
Tailor your franchisee training programme to the individual
To help your franchisees get the most from their induction scheme, you should consider their individual needs. Find out what experience and knowledge they have, and monitor their first few days of training. Then, you can think about how you can make sure they develop all the skills they need without covering old ground.
A franchisee training scheme can take anything from a few days to a month - or more, depending on the person involved and the franchise they're joining.
Incorporate on-site training
An excellent franchisee training programme has classroom learning, as well as the chance to see what life is like in an actual franchise unit. Whether you choose to take investors to an existing branch and let them oversee operations or guide them as they set up their own unit, incorporating on-site training is vital.
Recently, more and more franchisors have developed virtual induction systems too. Allowing investors to complete some or all of their training online can save money, time and effort, and make sure it's consistent as time goes on.
It can be nerve-wracking for investors to carry out their training as a series of one-to-one sessions. Bringing other team members into the mix could help to lift the mood, allow for more natural conversation and take some of the heat off the franchisee.
We often recommend that our clients involve their management staff in the home office training session… Exposing multiple staff members to franchisees energises the process and helps build franchisee relationships. - Mark Siebert
Follow up with franchisees
Once your franchisees have completed the course, you should discuss the outcome. Ideally, review their test scores and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to create an insightful analysis of the training scheme. Then, you'll be able to develop an actionable plan to help the franchisee develop further.
Don't forget ongoing training
You can pat yourself on the back when you have successfully trained your first investor in your business model. But standards could slip over time if you overlook ongoing training. Organising a rolling schedule of refresher courses, webinars and networking events will encourage continued growth.
Make sure your franchisees are willing to take part in ongoing support schemes by including it as a requirement in the franchise agreement.
Your training programme must be good enough to ensure that the least-skilled new franchisee will represent the brand to the standard of quality associated with the concept. - Mark Siebert
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Running a franchise
Being a franchisor isn't always easy; your franchisees will look to you for guidance, advice and support. But with the right knowledge, you can develop a network of thriving businesses and happy entrepreneurs.