Initial and ongoing training in all aspects of the business operation
is clearly a benefit of becoming a franchisee - as opposed to starting
an independent business. Most franchisors are very good at training
the technical and operational aspects of the business because it
is what they know - running a restaurant, cleaning cars, whatever.
But many of their franchisees may not have run businesses before,
so they need training in more than just how to operate the restaurant
or clean cars.
Initial technical training, either in the classroom or on-location
at a company-owned outlet, or with another franchisee, generally
follows the structure of the Operations Manual and gives a good
grounding in the knowledge and skills required. How long this takes
varies from days to months depending on the complexity of the business
involved, but it is only a start. Refresher sessions should be available,
as should programmes to introduce new products or methods. Where
these sessions are held, and who pays for what, will again vary
from franchise to franchise.
Trainers will usually come from within the franchisor's, or maybe
a supplier's, staff but it should be remembered that just because
someone is very good technically they are not necessarily a good
trainer. Transferring skills and knowledge has its own skills and
there maybe a need for some "train the trainer" sessions to get
the best results.
So what about non-technical training, such as business planning,
budgeting, accounting, understanding cashflow, recruiting and managing
staff, health and safety issues, and so on? It's fair to say that
the majority of franchisors are poor at providing this sort of training
themselves (probably because they are poor at doing it for themselves!).
But because the principles of these issues are common across all
businesses, these sessions can often be outsourced. One way or another
though, it is the franchisor's responsibility to make this training
available to his franchisees.
All training should of course have clear objectives and some evaluation
afterwards to make sure that the desired outcome was achieved, or
to arrange further sessions if it was not.
If we accept that the franchisor's role is to provide the tools,
and the franchisee's is to use them, a key function for the franchisor
is to keep his franchisees, and his staff, up to speed with the
latest developments and techniques in their respective roles and
responsibilities. To grow a world-beating franchised network there
must be continual training and development of everyone concerned
so the importance of this activity should never be questioned -
indeed it could be said to be the whole raison d'etre of the franchisor.
What else is he there for?