IS YOUR TRAINING ON TRACK?
Ensure you know the essentials before you open the doors to your business.
When you invest in a franchise you’re buying into a proven formula. Add the right training, and you have a recipe for success. But how can you be sure you’ll find out all you need to know to run your business effectively?
There are many aspects to the educational side of taking up a franchise, so ask the right questions to ensure you’ll learn
all you need to run your business successfully.
“Franchisors typically offer good, comprehensive operational training – how to make coffee or burgers, for example, or provide a particular service,” says Franchise Advisory Centre director Jason Gehrke. “This is usually detailed in the operations manual and covered in the induction process.
“But if it is your first venture into business, you will also need training in basic business skills such as financial management, human resources and the principles of marketing. These aren’t always so well covered.”
Some sectors demand qualifications before you can be considered for a franchise, such as a builder’s licence or a real-estate licence. “In cases like these, the training is about building a really good business around your skills,” says Gehrke.
Generally, if you are starting your business from scratch, training will be
included in the initial fee. But this may not be the case if you are buying an existing business. In this situation, you’ll reach an agreement with the vendor to buy the business. But before you can take over, the franchisor needs to know you’re going to be a proficient operator.
“The vendor is not responsible for this training, so you will probably have to cover it with a separate payment to the franchisor.”
If you do identify gaps in your training, Gehrke suggests you speak first to the franchisor. “If they can’t help, they should be able to point you in the right direction. Again, this might incur a separate cost.”
It is reasonable to expect that once you have completed your initial training, you will be ready to start trading. “Many franchisors now provide competencybased training,” says Gehrke. “If you fall short of the required standard in the ongoing assessments, you will need to undertake remedial training.”
While this process can feel intimidating, technology can help to alleviate any anxiety.
“Online learning makes it easy for new franchisees to work through basic information in private, at their own speed and as often as they need. This helps them feel more confident in a classroom situation,” says Adam Wiser, managing director of digital-learning company Mind Atlas.
“You will also be able to make better use of the time allocated for face-to-face training by building on the knowledge you’ve already acquired.”
A good network will
schedule regular training to refresh franchisees’ skills and ensure they keep up with developments.
He believes a blended approach to learning is most effective. “There are many benefits associated with face-to-face interactions, but an online component will always be able to support that.”
Technology can also save time and money for franchisees who need to train their employees.
“Sectors such as hospitality and retail tend to have a relatively high turnover of younger staff,” says Wiser. “Now new employees can work through training modules on their phone or laptop at home or on their way to work – and this is the way the generation coming through prefers to learn. They expect to be able to study in their own time on whatever device they prefer.”
Online learning management systems should include a high-level dashboard with a sophisticated reporting capability. “One of the big advantages of online learning is that you can make a module available and immediately start tracking and measuring the uptake, competency and completion rates,” says Wiser. “You can also identify areas that need further consolidation.”
While all franchisors promise ongoing training, the quality and content can vary widely.
“A good network will schedule regular training to refresh franchisees’ skills and ensure they keep up with developments,” says Gehrke. “This could include classroom learning, on-the-job training, mentoring and coaching support as well on-demand online training. It is important to know what you can expect and whether any extra costs are involved.”
Wiser says he often helps franchise groups create a continuous learning pathway for both franchisees and their staff members.
“We also recommend that franchisors adopt a co-ordinated, digital system that ensures everyone receives information about changes to policies, procedures and legislation as soon as these are confirmed.”
Whatever form, training should be tailored to your specific needs.
“Requirements and expectations are constantly evolving – your own, and also those of your employees and customers,” says Wiser.
“It is vital that both the content and the delivery of your training are relevant, current and engaging.”