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Franchisee Advice

Setting The Syllabus

Training is an important part of getting a franchise up and running. Here are three kinds of training that franchisors should offer franchisees.

Mark Siebert

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Ultimately, a 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.

The best franchisors are huge advocates of training and invest heavily in it. Even though the training conducted by newer franchise companies is often fairly informal, the best new franchisors make it a priority to develop more formal programmes as soon as possible.

Related: Franchise Or Start-Up?

These programmes will prescribe what each franchisee and their personnel must master. By specifying exactly what must be taught and how the instruction will be conducted hourly, these training programmes provide knowledge in a manner that will foster consistency.

Even if you’re dealing with a relatively new franchisor, you should still receive the following training:

1. Training at the franchisor’s office

For most franchisors, the hands-on portion of training starts at their office. This training can last for several days or weeks and, for newer franchisors, is often held in hotel conference rooms or temporary office facilities to keep costs under control.

Generally speaking, head-office training starts with a tour of the prototype operation and corporate offices, and an introduction of staff and their roles. Once the formal training session begins, most franchisors focus on subjects best taught in a classroom setting.

Among the dozens of topics usually included in this portion of training are corporate history and philosophy, site selection, lease negotiation, pre-opening procedures, daily operations, insurance requirements, vendor relationships and reporting requirements. This segment of training often involves hands-on training within your franchise prototype.

Franchise training classes should be lively and interactive. A mixture of training formats such as video, lecture, discussion, and hands-on work creates an inviting training environment for franchisees. Moreover, various studies have shown that franchisees retain more information when the trainer uses a variety of training methodologies combining visual, auditory, and tactile learning.

Office training, like all training, should be accompanied by testing, evaluation, and other procedures to ensure that franchisees are capable of top performance.

2. On-site training

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The next step often involves franchisors spending days or weeks assisting franchisees and their staff at the franchisee’s location.

As with office training, franchisors should develop a detailed training agenda for this stage.

Training should focus on assisting the franchisee in becoming more familiar and comfortable with the day-to-day operation of the business.

Franchisees new to the industry will have different questions and expectations than franchisees with prior experience in related businesses.

One of the key objectives of the on-site trainer is to identify and prioritise the franchisee’s needs during the first day or two so he can tailor the remaining training schedule to best meet those needs.

On-site training is an important extension of the franchisor’s pre-opening training programme. New franchisees can easily become overwhelmed and can sometimes momentarily forget everything that has been taught.

Having the franchisor’s representatives at the site — often in the form of an opening team — can ease this transition and ensure that customers get a good first impression of the brand and the franchisee’s operations.

An opening team helps franchisees break into day-to-day operations slowly, so they don’t feel like they’re jumping into the deep end alone.

Within several days of the completion of on-site training, franchisors should provide the franchisee with an overall written evaluation of his or her performance in the training programme.

The evaluation should reference both the franchisee’s strengths and areas in which the franchisee needs additional work, and it should include a specific action plan with a clear list of objectives for the coming weeks and months.

3. Ongoing training

For the best franchisors, training doesn’t end once the start-up period is over. It’s a vital ongoing part of the franchise relationship.

For a franchisor to be competitive in the long run, its franchisees must remain current with industry trends and adapt to changes in the market, incorporating new products, services, marketing, and operating procedures into their businesses.

Related: The Danger Of Being Franchisee No. 1

With this in mind, every franchise agreement should contain not only initial training requirements, but also specific requirements for ongoing training.

To minimise the erosion of system standards over time due to a lack of training, franchisors may want to consider requiring periodic recertification on core competency issues for franchisees and their key staff members.

Such a programme might include regularly scheduled refresher training, as well as detailed training for all staff on any new products, services or procedures.

As a franchise consultant since 1985, Mark Siebert founded the iFranchise Group, a franchise consulting firm, in 1999. During his career, Mark has personally assisted more than 30 Fortune 1000 companies and over 200 startup franchisors. He regularly conducts workshops and seminars on franchising around the world. For more than a decade, Mark also has been actively involved in assisting U.S. franchisors in expanding abroad. In 2001, he co-founded Franchise Investors Inc., an investment firm specializing in franchise companies. He's on the board of directors of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers and the board of advisors to Connections for Community Ownership, which encourages minority business and job development through franchising.

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Franchisee Advice

Develop Digital Marketing Competency In 3 Simple Steps

Conquering the digital revolution needn’t be daunting. Polish up your tech skills and watch your digital marketing prowess increase throughout your franchise.

Diana Albertyn

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As a franchisor, digital marketing may be proving to be a challenge due to the unique structuring of the business.

“The very nature of franchises is ‘structured’, however, when it comes to marketing, that structure often lacks,” says Marcela De Vivo, Founder and CEO of Gryffin Media.

Franchisors and franchisees often struggle to reach common ground when looking to achieve different marketing goals. While the franchisor needs to control the brand in its entirety, the franchisee wants to market their business using particular strategies suited to their location.

Research has found that smartphones are the biggest influencers of 82% of users when they make their in-store purchase decisions while. It’s for this reason that the importance of digital marketing for franchises has increased.

Here’s how to harness its power of influence, amplify foot traffic and solidify brand loyalty:

1. Recruit digital natives and early adopters

As much as you’re the leader of your franchise network, there are franchisees in your chain you could learn from. The global increase in millennial franchise owners means it is highly likely that you’ll be able to identify early digital adopters within your franchise network.

“The best people to learn from are those who have been in your shoes before,” says Matt Forman of the Franchise Centre at Griffith University.

“Encourage and support their efforts and use them as case studies to demonstrate to the rest of your franchisees the value of digital marketing, and how to do it right.”

2. Invest in training your team

“Each digital competency level requires more education and resources in order to integrate digital marketing with your physical stores,” says Forman. For this reason, regularly investing in continuous training for your team so as to ensure they keep abreast of any new and emerging trends.

Proactivity and adapting to the constantly evolving digital landscape led KFC to open a LinkedIn account for its founder and mascot Colonel Sanders. KFC’s out of the box tactic is a fresh approach to what has long been considered a B2B platform, under-utilised as a B2C platform.

3. Apply custom targeting techniques

The discovery of new and small businesses is being fuelled by Google searches, social media and online reviews, making these platforms a goldmine of invaluable tools.

Leveraging certain custom targeting techniques like easily searchable keywords and exposure on other reputable and high-traffic websites, gives your franchise’s digital marketing efforts a boost. This results in an effective campaign, favourable reviews and meaningful and lasting interactions with consumers “whether it’s a reply to a Facebook comment or a retweet,” says Entrepreneur’s Emily Conklin.

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Franchisee Advice

How To Hire Skilled Workers For Your Franchise

Your staff run your business – you just have to show them how. This is why employing the best people for the job is essential.

Diana Albertyn

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According to the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) 2017 Franchisor Survey, one of the main challenges facing franchisees is finding the right staff.

“Staffing your franchise can be one of the most challenging parts of running a successful business. Without a great team of employees, you cannot run your business effectively,” says Saxon Marsden-Huggins, founder of WebRover.

These three tips could help you find the best employees for your franchise outlet:

1. Don’t hire in haste

While you may be rearing to go and keen to fill gaps to speed up profitability, research your candidates thoroughly.

Related: Insights On Recruitment That Could Affect Franchise Performance

As the job applications keep flowing into your inbox, keep in mind that not all of them qualify for the positions available – it may even be a small percent who are actually viable candidates. This is why your hiring process should include:

  • Taking the time to thoroughly screen CVs to develop a short list
  • Creating a carefully crafted list of interview questions
  • Setting aside adequate time for thorough interviews
  • Getting to know the candidates through a second round of interviews to confirm your choice.

Giving the hiring process dedication and attention will ensure you get the cream of the crop, contributing to the long-term success of your franchise.

2. Demonstrate support in the workplace

While you can instil the necessary skills into new recruits, it’s difficult to train for culture. This is why choosing the right employees from the beginning will make the rest of your franchise management system will run more smoothly.

“The manner by which you run the franchise will influence employee perceptions of the brand as well,” says Hireology’s Erin Borgerson. “Your staff must become ambassadors of your franchise system to attract the target consumer market.”

The best way to do this is encouraging staff to give you their honest feedback. Your commitment to creating and upholding a positive culture will result in increased loyalty from your current staff and a superior pool of applicants.

Related: 3 Things You Should Consider Before Buying Your First Franchise

3. Offer appealing incentives

When advancement opportunities are clearly communicated, staff is keen to hear how they can get there, as they have career goals of their own. Encouraging this ambition will draw good employees to your franchise.

“Helping employees understand the steps to advancement helps them to view their current job as an important part of a career with an upward path, not just a pay cheque for this week,” say financial reporting technology experts at Qvinci.

Performance bonuses and employee benefits incentivise staff’s efforts, therefore increasing their income alongside the profit of the business. “This serves to make employees a part of the business and not merely people ‘who work there’,” they explain.

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Franchisee Advice

3 Ways Communication Helps You Run Your Franchise Better

Managing your business as an independent owner may have been challenging at the beginning, but – as you’ve come to realise – the successful operation of a franchise network requires an extended set of skills.

Diana Albertyn

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“When it comes to a multi-location business such as a franchise, effective communication is vital,” says Dani Peleva, Managing Director at online marketing agency Local Fame. “So what happens when you’re struggling to connect with the franchise network you have in place?”

It may be time to upgrade your franchise management skills, because the success of your franchise network has a direct correlation to how you integrate feedback systems into your management processes.

Have a clear comprehension of the challenges your franchise encounters, keep an open chain of communication between yourself, franchisees and managers, and maintain regular interactions between everyone in the network. These are some of the most crucial aspects of successful franchise management:

1. Understand the challenges you face

A thorough understanding of your business requires dedication to regular and consistent groundwork for first-hand experience on how the day-to-day operations of the business are conducted.

Related: 3 Core Strategies For Building Successful Franchise Organisations

“Seeing and talking to the people that make your business will help you understand the challenges that franchisees face and the systems they need to drive higher profitability and growth,” says Rosie Niblock, Marketing and Communications Manager at Proactive Marketing.

“That way you can work more effectively to make improvements to franchise management systems logically and within the financial grasp of all franchisees.”

2. Get personal through regular visits

You never want your franchises to feel neglected. It’ll demoralise them and possibly drop sales, profits and their ability to keep the business running as you intended. Maintaining regular contact and sharing as much information as possible – when you can – fosters strong relations with your franchisees.

Empowerment through information and communication makes a difference in the business and helps franchisees make decisions in favour of the business and to make sure that they all pull in the same direction in terms of customer satisfaction, says Alan van der Westhuizen, executive manager of new business sales at Fournews, a 20-year-old franchise holding company for News Café, Krispy Kreme, Moyo, Brooklyn Brothers, Smooch, Cafe Fino and Go! outlets.

Ensure your response to these concerns is swift. “If not discussed they could fester ad create undesirable rumours,” says Niblock.

Related: How To Write An Operations Manual For Your Franchise

3. Create events for network collaboration

One of the most important aspects of managing your franchise is meeting with all your franchisees, at least annually. “Franchise conventions are almost certainly the biggest tool when it comes to building profitable engagement,” says Peleva. “They’re one of the most important things to focus on when you’re considering how to lead your franchise network.” According to her, a successfully attended and executed convention will let you:

  • Boost your network-wide productivity
  • Hugely increase your profitability
  • Drive passion for your brand

Communicating with your franchisees is the best way to identify problems, work towards solving them, and building a pleasant and fruitful relationship with your owners.

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