With 18 years of experience in marketing, eight of which are dedicated to all things franchise-related, Andy McCarroll is Head of Marketing here at Platinum Wave. Andy has a deep understanding of what it takes to run a successful franchise business.
Read this article on FranchiseDirect.co.uk
One of the first questions that a prospective franchisee will ask is about training. How long it is, where it is and how readily available it is. What many people do not think about, however, is the type of training that is on offer and the skills of the person conducting it.
Andy is here to explain the importance of assessing a franchisor's training and not being afraid to ask what are seemingly 'obvious' questions.
Franchisors earn money from the royalties paid by successful franchisees
Franchisees become successful by working hard and embracing the training that teaches them how to ‘follow the system’. Therefore, it’s hard to imagine that a franchisor would put anything less than 100% into their training programmes, isn’t it?
As a prospective franchisee, one of the most important elements of your due diligence is to assess how well you will be trained to run your business successfully. Remember, alongside the power of the brand, product or service, it is the systems and training that you are investing in.
There’s no generic list of what a franchisor must include in a training programme, because every franchise is different – but it needs to be extremely thorough. Basically, you’ll need to be trained on every single aspect of running the business, as laid out in the franchise operations manual.
The better you are trained in the franchise system, the better you will follow it. If the franchisor expects customer service to be uniformly excellent right across the network, then they need to be able to show you and your fellow franchisees precisely what excellent looks like as part of your training. Brand uniformity is important in franchising, but it will never be achieved if each franchisee is simply doing their own version of the essential elements.
Whilst it’s OK for a franchisor to devote slightly more or slightly less time on a particular aspect of the training depending on a franchisee’s prior experience and needs, no one should get a free pass at training. Remember, at the very beginning, you won’t necessarily know what is or isn’t of critical importance to the business. For example, you might have lots of marketing experience from a previous role, but if you are allowed to start trading without marketing training specific to your new brand and business, then what’s to stop you accidentally spending a fortune on an ineffective marketing campaign?
It can often be the simple things that get overlooked at training. The franchisor knows the business inside out and often it’s easy for them to assume certain things are just obvious. Franchisors can add massive value to training by sharing anecdotes – ‘I remember once when I first opened...’ ‘I had a member of staff who…’ ‘you’ll not believe me, but one time a customer actually...” – it’s often these kind of stories that stick in the mind and come to the rescue of the franchisee when something similar happens to them. If your franchisor isn’t naturally forthcoming, ask them lots of open questions that draw on their experience.
Also, ensure that the training programme covers how to operate the business financially too. The last thing you want is to be stressed out by not understanding tax returns or not knowing how to deal with late-paying-customers. These things can take your focus away from effectively running your business and can often snowball into disaster.
The bottom line is, if your think your prospective franchisor is simply providing the bare minimum, walk away. They obviously aren’t invested in the future success of their franchisees – they just want to sell franchises. Besides, the cost of properly training a new franchisee should be included in the initial franchisee fee – you’re paying for it, so there’s simply no excuse for franchisors to do it badly!
Do not hesitate to get in touch with us today to see how we can help you!