Franchisees see a higher probability of success than startups and independent businesses. Around 97% of franchisees report profitability – an impressive figure, considering that only 40% of startups are operational after three years.
Yet high chances of success don’t mean it’s guaranteed. While franchisees are supplied with a proven framework and the clout of a known brand, they will need training. Deploying that training across hundreds or even thousands of locations presents unique challenges.
Importance of Franchise Training
Franchising is not quite an out-of-the-box venture. Although critical business elements like the operations structure, marketing materials, and the products themselves come ready to be deployed, the success of each unit depends on knowledge imparted through training.
A structured training program shows potential franchisees they will be supported
Robust franchise training programs strengthen your value and reputation. Prospective owners will be more encouraged to buy into a chain when they know headquarters is as invested in their success as they are.
The correct level of support signals that franchisors are committed to sustainable, long-term partnerships. Ongoing training keeps partners up-to-date on the latest pivots in strategy, policy changes, and how to sell or use new products and services.
Remote access to resources ensures franchisees are properly equipped
Training gives franchisees the proverbial keys to the business. Courses include everything a franchisee needs to know to replicate your business model and ensure the brand standard stays consistent across the network.
Aside from profitability, a comprehensive training program equips partners with what they need to keep staff and customers safe. Training gives franchisees a taste of what things will be like when the doors open and exposes them to nuances that can’t be gleaned from a handbook.
Biggest Challenges of Franchise Training and Their Solutions
It’s one thing to read an operations manual and another to implement it correctly. Franchise owners are not directly under the employment of headquarters, and this can give rise to a myriad of issues.
Franchisees are trying to learn the ins and outs of an entire business within a couple of weeks. Even experienced business owners can get lost within the tangle of training documents and everything else they’re setting up for the opening day. The last thing your partners need is vague requirements that cause miscommunication.
Solution: Review your franchise agreement and operations manual
Make things easier for your franchisees by setting out explicit timelines and targets. Outline any mandatory courses. If they need to achieve a particular score for a module before they’re allowed to open or serve customers, make sure it’s stipulated in the agreement.
Leaving no room for guesswork will save both parties time and circumvent any conflict from learners not understanding what’s expected of them. Clear requirements give your franchisees a smoother runway towards opening day.
Multiple franchisees with different training needs
Franchisees can be anyone, from seasoned business owners to first-time entrepreneurs. The number of staff and the roles within will also change based on the size of the franchise unit. Franchisees can also be operating from different regions with different work cultures.
Solution: Customise training programs for franchisees
Taking a more bespoke approach helps you achieve your franchise training goals, whether for products or customer service. Programs can begin with core training for all departments, and then branch out with individual modules for specific purposes and roles.
Business owners should also consider what the appropriate medium is for the topic.. Online webinars can be enough for covering tax regulations and labour laws, but a different approach may be needed in other areas.
Training within franchisees is lacklustre
Franchisees often buy into a franchise to access the franchisor’s experience and knowledge. Anything other than comprehensive and competent coaching can quickly erode trust in the brand they’ve signed up to.
Solution: Set up a train-the-trainer program
Franchise training encompasses three levels: the franchisor, the franchisee and managers/staff at the ground level. Ensuring best practices are distilled down to the last rung means information needs to be disseminated correctly. Online training ensures that training can be easily undertaken by all franchise staff members.
Aside from training on how to execute the handbook, managers also need training on how to pass on pertinent knowledge to in-store employees. Franchisees can also benefit from a hub where other managers share best practices, creating a rich feedback loop they can use to improve operations on the ground.
Lack of training completion tracking
Franchisors have limited visibility into the day-to-day operations of their franchisees. That makes monitoring a learner’s progress or the outcome of training programs difficult. Some brands leave that responsibility solely on franchisees, with no way of verifying if best practices are being implemented properly.
Solution: Use a Learning Management System (LMS)
Franchise training platforms offer the ability to track when modules are completed and follow up when needed, especially if some of the courses are required for launch. Your chosen LMS should also be able to produce progress reports that you can use to identify any gaps in your learning.
Additionally, the most robust platforms allow you to create fun and engaging games-based assessments (also known as gamification) to gauge the effectiveness of training, encourage fun competition between teams and help remove barriers.
Lack of training participation
In the office, learners are juggling multiple things at once. Training is time not spent on projects or getting ahead of deliverables. Franchisees and their learners, who are a layer away from the main business, can be even harder to entice to sign up for any training session that isn’t mandatory, especially once operations are running.
Solution: Provide incentives
Countless studies have already proven the value of rewards for learning. And while skills improvement is satisfying enough for adult learners, adding an extra incentive to keep people engaged never hurts. In fact, a well-structured rewards program can raise performance by up to 44%.
Incentives can work particularly well for franchise training. Since it can be trickier to connect with learners as they’re not directly employed by franchisors, a rewards system is a quick and effective way to boost engagement across hundreds, if not thousands, of franchisees and their staff.
Communicating with multiple franchises
Chains can have multiple global locations. Amidst the web of franchisees, it’s easy for communication lines to get muddied, with no way for learners to provide feedback or ask for help.
Solution: Take advantage of training software
When it comes to business communications, the challenge isn’t finding a channel. It’s how to cascade and trade data across the large network of franchise systems without it turning into a convoluted game of telephone.
To make sure information is being transmitted effectively and accurately, businesses may want to designate a dedicated learning platform for franchisees. Ideally, these platforms allow for real-time replies and calls. Fast and easy communication is key when you’re navigating a network that includes scores of professionals on their busy schedules.
Franchisee performance degrades over time
Many choose to franchise because there’s a lower barrier to entry. You don’t need to come up with a trailblazing product idea, or carve a niche–the viability of the business model has already been proven. However, this ready-made framework is also prone to degradation over time. Franchisees can become complacent, and franchisors can end up neglecting individual units.
Solution: Maintain ongoing and refresher training programs
Franchises are built on the back of a beloved product or a tried-and-tested service. Yet nothing in business is truly static. Strategies and targets change. What’s working today may no longer be working tomorrow.
Training needs to continuously reflect these changes. Updated courses and follow-up courses allow franchisees to benefit from the knowledge of the entire network. It also helps unify the brand’s image and lets franchisees maintain a standard service level across locations.
With business concepts already proven, and products already having a share of the market, there’s only one thing left that will determine the success of new franchise units: training.
At Wahoo Learning, we can help franchisors secure the success of their entire franchising systems with bespoke franchise training LMS and managed services that work for everyone.
Ready to talk to us? Book a chat with one of our team here.