5 Ways to Keep on Learning as a Franchisor

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Tips for Franchisors

The best franchisors know that learning and development doesn’t stop just because you’ve established a franchise network. In this article, we’re going to look at five of the best ways to continue growing and expanding your knowledge as a franchisor.

Franchisor development might be low on your list of priorities, but a love of learning is one of the most common qualities of a good franchisor. Even if you’ve managed to build a successful network of franchisees, it’s your responsibility as their franchisor to continue developing yourself and learning as much as you can about both your industry and franchising. Get complacent and you could find yourself overtaken by franchisor that’s always seeking ways to improve their network through education. Not sure where to start? Here are five of the best ways to continue your franchising education.

Franchise Association Training

The bfa (British Franchise Association) is franchising’s most-respected and largest industry association. It’s also an invaluable source of information, resources and training opportunities for franchisees and franchisors. Regular events are held by the bfa, both in person and online. If you’re just thinking of franchising your business, check out its ‘Prospect Franchisor Certificate’ to get yourself ready for the challenge.

But if you’ve already taken the plunge and your franchise has achieved bfa member status, check out one of its free ‘Lunch & Learn’ webinars, where an expert will present an informal training session and answer your burning questions. You can also visit its ‘How To Hub’ or ‘Speed Solutions’ events, which are exclusive sessions for franchisors to discuss industry challenges with their peers and a panel of industry experts. Half a dozen are usually hosted every year (under normal circumstances) and it’s just £40 to attend.

The QFA (Quality Franchise Association) and the AFA (Approved Franchise Association) are the UK’s other franchise associations. Both offer education resources for franchisors, like the AFA’s e-learning course, which looks at everything from data protection to health and safety to handling difficult conversations.

Franchising Qualifications

If you’d like to get another qualification under your belt, you can work towards becoming a bfa Qualified Franchise Professional (QFP). It’s a widely recognised and respected title across the franchising sector and will help you learn how to be the best possible franchisor so you can lead your franchisees to success. Events like the ‘Masterclass’ will contribute to the QFP course and allow you to work on yourself as an entrepreneur.

The QFA also offers a respected qualification, the VFP (verified franchising professional). It’s not as well known as the bfa’s course, but is a great option for franchisors looking for a cheaper alternative, or a stepping stone, to QFP status.

Learning to be a better ‘boss’

Though your franchisees are business owners in their own right, you’ll still play the role of ‘boss’ in some aspects, particularly if you’ve got a smaller network. If you’re really committed to furthering your education, most universities offer ‘professional education’ courses that are suitable for both pre and post-graduates. Many don’t require in-person attendance, so you can squeeze in a bit of online learning at home after your day’s work. You can choose to cover anything from marketing to leadership to entrepreneurship at a much lower cost than full degrees, so pick a skill you’d like to work on and get stuck in.

You can also learn plenty of great leadership techniques from books and blogs, if you can’t commit to a formal course. Classics like ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey and ‘Good to Great’ by James C. Collins are great places to start, but do your own research to find advice books that address your specific issues. Ask fellow franchisors you admire or reach out to the entrepreneur community for their recommendations on the best bedtime reading that can help you grow as a leader.

Industry specific education

You might be knowledgeable about franchising, but it’s just as important to be an expert in your sector. Whether you’ve been operating in your industry for years or you’ve decided to franchise in an area you’re less familiar with, it’s vital to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, developments and regulations in your world. Companies like Mintel, Statista and YouGov offer trusted insights into everything from consumer attitudes to buying habits to our reactions to different kinds of adverts, so they’re excellent places to start your research.

Regularly read industry-specific magazines and publications, or subscribe to online newsletters from relevant news sites, to keep yourself in the loop. Make sure you’re building up a strong network of contacts in your field too, whether you choose to network virtually (through social networks like LinkedIn) or at in-person events. Speak to both franchisors and independent business owners, as well as regularly consulting with franchisees both from within and outside your network. Getting insights from a wide range of people and businesses, regardless of whether they’re in the world of franchising, will keep your mind open to possibilities and help you guide your business in the best way.

Personal development

Truly great franchisors also take time to work on themselves. It’s hard to inspire your franchisees they can overcome their faults if you’re not willing to address yours. Nobody’s perfect, after all. Do you struggle with your confidence, or hate broaching difficult conversations? Or is your issue overconfidence and you find it tough to accept when you’re wrong, to the detriment of your franchisee relationships? Be honest with yourself, and do whatever it takes – whether that’s confidence-boosting exercises or conflict-resolution courses – to make yourself the best version you can be.

Learn to succeed

Hopefully, this gives you somewhere to start when it comes to your ongoing development as a franchisor. It’s not an exhaustive list though, and there are plenty more ways to mould yourself into an excellent franchisor, mentor and friend to your franchisees.

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