Usually, when you start a business you have to rely on your own expertise and knowledge. But when you start a new franchise business, the franchisor has a training program already in place to familiarize you with the product and/or service, along with the franchise’s way of doing business. A franchisor training program is one of the major benefits of franchising. It lets you acquire skills rapidly through the initial training program, and then gives on-site and ongoing training to reenforce those skills.
A training program needs to thoroughly prepare you to run your new franchise business. How well the program achieves this objective reflects the effectiveness of the training. It also shows the level of care and concern the franchisor has for its business and for its franchisees.
A good training and support program is the backbone of any successful franchise business. Before becoming a franchise owner, be sure the franchisor has a solid training and support program. This information should be outlined in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). In addition, be sure to discuss it not only with the franchisor, but also with existing franchise operators who received the training.
A good basic franchise training program should cover these topics:
- What you need to know about the product or service
- How to find the right real estate
- Dealing with leases, permits, and building design
- Hiring and managing employees
- How the franchise conducts marketing and merchandising
- How to do the business accounting
- Where to get supplies and inventory
- Getting the equipment you need for the business
Most programs begin with intensive basic training that is conducted at the franchisor’s headquarters. Usually done in a classroom setting, this is where you learn all about the inner workings of the business. During this part of the training, you need to ask a lot of questions and take notes in order to get the most from the experience. Also, ask about documentation for the training, including an operations manual and any training manuals and/or materials the franchisor can provide.
In addition to the initial basic training, franchisors also offer on-site training. This means that representatives of the franchisor come to your business site and guide you through your grand opening and first week or so of business operations. This allows you to get hands-on training and become comfortable with the daily running of your new business. Ask as many questions and get as much advice as you can.
Ongoing training and support from the franchisor can include newsletters, meetings, networking, Internet sites, evaluations, toll-free phone lines, field operations, and additional training sessions (particularly advantageous when the franchisor releases new products and services). Another area of training and support involves franchise advisory groups and franchise associations. These organizations are a sign that the franchisor is paying attention to the concerns of its franchisees.
Franchise advisory groups are organized by the franchisor and are made up of representatives of the franchisor and franchisees. They help the franchisor make decisions, voice complaints, and improve the relationship between franchisor and franchisees.
Franchise associations are usually independent organizations that have their own rules and membership requirements. Franchisees pay dues to support the activities of the association, which can include various forms of support and training.
An essential part of all franchise training and support is the operations manual. Along with detailing the various aspects of the business, it sets the standard of operations that the franchisor expects from its franchisees. An outline of the operations manual is normally included in the FDD. A comprehensive manual documents every step a franchisee needs to take in the development and operations of his or her new business.
An operations manual and any supporting reference manuals are vital to your franchise training. When you receive your initial and on-site training, it’s difficult to remember everything you are being taught at once. Comprehensive documentation reenforces your training and helps you get the most from it — both initially and later on as a way of keeping up a high standard of quality products and services to ensure your franchise’s success.