Good franchisee training shouldn’t be optional, Suzie McCafferty, managing director of Platinum Wave, says
Franchisors make their money from the royalties paid by successful franchisees, so underinvesting in their training is ultimately going to hurt the franchisor the most.
There’s no generic list of what a franchisor should include in a training programme because every franchise is different - but it needs to be extremely thorough.
Franchisees need training on every single aspect of running their business. Alongside the power of your brand, product or service, it’s your systems and training they are investing in.
The better you train someone in your franchise system, the better they will follow it. If your business is customer facing, for example, invest sufficient time in ensuring your franchisees and their teams understand what standard of customer service is expected. If you expect it to be excellent, show them what excellent looks like.
While it’s okay to devote slightly more or slightly less time on a particular aspect of the training depending on the franchisee’s prior experience and needs, no one should get a free pass at training.
A franchisee might join a network with lots of prior experience in sales or marketing, but if they’re allowed to start trading without sales and marketing training specific to your business, it will be the franchisor’s fault when they spend a fortune on an ineffective marketing campaign.
It can often be the simple things that get overlooked in training. The franchisor knows the business inside out and often it’s easy to assume certain things are 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 kinds of stories that stick in the mind and come to the rescue of the franchisee when something similar happens to them.
Also, don’t forget to ensure they understand how to operate the business financially. The last thing you want is a franchisee stressed out by tax returns, late paying customers or overdue invoices. That takes their focus away from running the business and can often snowball into an issue big enough to stop them trading.
Remember, training can be a bit overwhelming, particularly for people who haven’t been in that kind of situation for some time. There’s going to be a lot to take in and it needs to be presented well.
Unfortunately, this can be an area some franchisors fall down in, which isn’t really their fault. Training is a skill - people study for years to become effective trainers and good one’s are well paid.
If a franchisor feels like its lacking the skills to provide the necessary training in an engaging and effective way, it should consider outside help.
Bottom line is, when it comes to training, too much is likely to do less damage than too little. If a franchisor is simply providing the bare minimum, it obviously isn’t invested in the future success of its franchisees.
Besides, the cost of properly training a new franchisee should be included in the initial franchisee fee, so there’s simply no excuse to do it badly.
Suzie McCafferty founded Platinum Wave in 2010, after gaining more than 10 years’ experience in the engine room of franchising, first as a franchisor who built her own retail brand from a single store to a network of over 60 outlets in six countries, then as the franchise director and board member of a multi-million pound division of a recruitment plc.
She is the chairperson of the British Franchise Association’s Scottish regional forum.
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