Recently I’ve been planning a short get away to a location with which I’m not terribly familiar. Because I was looking to rent a house for this get away, it became important to me to know a little bit more about the area where I’ll be staying. I will openly admit I’m an information geek, and I spent a fair amount of time evaluating the neighborhoods in the city, events going on during the time I’m going to be there, transportation options, restaurants, and on and on and on. For my sources, I utilized the internet, local newspapers, opinions given by friends who live there, and thoughts shared by the landlady for the house I am renting. Finally I realized I had the information necessary to make me feel comfortable and knew it was time to commit. As I was filling out the rental forms, I thought about how it is that we gather information, the different sources we use, and how we evaluate those sources as a part of making our decisions.
In franchising there are many things you evaluate as part of your search for the perfect opportunity. One of the most important things to evaluate is the training provided by the franchise system. A good training program should cover not only the product or service but also setting up the business, marketing, employee management, business procedures, reporting, etc.
The best way to find out about the scope of the training program is to ask existing franchisees. Find out what stood out about the training they received and what they feel could have been covered more completely. Ask them how prepared they felt when they opened their business. As the franchise itself has evolved over time, its training has likely been adjusted too. Keep in mind that the franchisees you talk with may have been through various versions of the training program. Problems that existed at one time may have been fixed. Or, you may find that a training program that was fine in a company’s early days is now out-of-date. As you conduct your research, be sure to have conversations with franchisees that went through the same training you will receive so you can make an accurate assessment of its value.
Because training doesn’t stop after your initial training class, look a bit farther for additional insights as to the ongoing training efforts put forth by the franchisor. For instance, when you talk with franchisees, ask if they received a training manual and inquire as to the last time it was updated. The frequency of conference calls, webinars and e-mail training updates can also tell you a great deal about the commitment towards training on the part of the franchisor. During the national meeting or conference, is time allotted for advanced training?
To get full value for your investment in a franchise, the training should leave you feeling prepared and confident that you will be successful in your business. You should also feel comfortable knowing you’ll be in tune with advances that will help you grow your business in the future. Investing time in evaluating a franchisor’s training programs will pay huge dividends to you as you use this information to make the best choice for you.