World class training and support is the bedrock of success in franchising, according to Gaby Lixton, co-founder of Turtle Tots
The importance of regular and consistent training and development in a franchise business shouldn’t be underestimated.
As a franchise, brand and identity are everything, but if you don’t keep franchisees up to speed and provide innovative training that’s at the cutting edge of your business sector, you cannot expect the network to perform and grow to its full potential - not just from an innovation perspective, but also in terms of maintaining future stability.
All too often franchise businesses provide a catalogue of great training and materials at the outset, but fail to deliver on the consistency of that learning and development as they grow.
This is a dangerous trap to fall into because franchisees need to be motivated and feel like they’re part of something much bigger. Ignoring training needs and opportunities often leads to complacency and eventually can affect the network and business progression as a whole.
World class training is the bedrock of franchise business success. Having franchisees who are among the most qualified in your industry can only be a good thing. Whether that means developing your in-house training capability or outsourcing externally to provide training opportunities, you will reap the rewards in the long term.
Training and follow-up should cover every area of the franchise business too - it’s not just about sector specific training, which is a given. Running a business requires a certain level of knowledge, whether that’s customer service, finance, marketing, social media, health and safety, human resources, admin or photography. Every aspect is worthy of support.
Holding annual development days or weekends that cover every area of the business will help to keep franchisees up to speed with company developments, as well as providing a useful platform to share knowledge and experience with like-minded peers.
Running regular events like this also brings the entire network together in a supportive environment, where questions are encouraged and feedback and follow-up is given.
Training workshops covering the vital management skills required to become a successful franchisee will also stand your business in good stead as your network grows.
Often, franchisees are motivated individuals who are ambitious and hungry for success, but in many cases they will have little experience of what it takes to run a business. That’s where early skills focused training and support comes into its own, but it has to be maintained on an ongoing basis.
A great way to keep franchisees focused and up to date is to invite individuals to the head office facility on an annual basis for a business health check-up. This is meant exactly as it sounds, as it’s a process that looks at the business, checks it’s ticking along well and identifies any areas for improvement and growth.
Such processes also help to keep franchisees up to speed and provide support towards their strategies for the coming year.
Promoting best practice
It’s imperative franchisees feel equipped and empowered to grow their businesses and to deliver the overall brand proposition in their territory/ region. Training can be incredibly motivating for everyone involved and it’s also a great opportunity to share and promote best practice.
It’s also worth considering different types of training too, because it’s seldom a one-size-fits-all approach. That said, sometimes group training is exactly what’s needed, but there are occasions when training should be tailored specifically to individual needs. That’s where individual health checks work especially well.
Training is becoming so important to the franchise industry that many businesses are appointing staff centrally and around the country who deal directly with training requirements for the company. Although investment in training for some franchisors is a distraction from the everyday focus of running their businesses, it’s worth looking beyond that and considering the wider implications and results of good training.
Arguably, a solid, evolving training programme is the backbone of any great franchise. Think of it like a well oiled machine. Keep topping it up and it continues to run smoothly, let it dry up and before long it will grind to a halt.
Taking training to the next level
Turtle Tots takes the issue of training very seriously.
We’ve recently introduced the STA Level 3 Diploma in Aquatic Teaching to our training portfolio. Baby and Pre-School is a brand new qualification regulated by Ofqual.
The aim of the diploma is to raise the standard of baby and pre-school swimming across the whole industry by expanding and developing the knowledge of baby swimming teachers in the light of the most recent research in and academic theories about neuroscience, child development and pre-verbal communication.
Teachers need to have at least 50 hours of teaching experience before attending the diploma and then complete coursework and case studies afterwards as they incorporate the knowledge into their lessons.
Turtle Tots has always focused on high end training to ensure that its baby swim franchisees and teachers are as qualified as they possibly can be. Its aim is that all franchisees will achieve the diploma during 2017, with all teachers to follow.