IS YOUR TRAIN­ING ON TRACK?

Inside Franchise Business - - Contents - By Do­mini Stu­art

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.”

STAFF TRAIN­ING

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.”

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