ABC’s of Franchising: Operations

There are two items that often rise to the top when considering the most important value propositions delivered by top franchise systems – an ever-increasing brand awareness and a turnkey operating model.    

It’s important to evaluate the operations of a franchise system to ensure you receive the value for the ongoing franchise fees you will pay to the franchisor for support.

Strong operational support is the foundation for long term success in franchising. By eliminating much of the guesswork, a proven and time-tested system will shorten the learning curve of starting a business, getting you to profitability more quickly. Operational areas to take into consideration when you are evaluating a franchisor’s offering include:

  • Business processes: Are there checklists and training for each phase, initially and ongoing? Are processes in place to properly execute operations within the store’s four walls? Are all daily operations accounted for via process or are there areas you would be on your own? Are you comfortable with those areas? 

Look at a typical day of a franchisee and decide if this is a lifestyle you want to live. How does your previous work experience and skill set fit with operating the business? Look at sales patterns and see if there is seasonality. Can you cover manage those off-peak times? For example, industries like haircare are year-round, whereas mosquito abatement peaks in the spring and summer and drops off in winter.

  • Consistency:  Consistency across the brand is a good indicator the processes can be easily replicated. Firmly established standards and procedures result in uniformity of customer experience and quality control, helping you deliver on the brand promise.   
  • Hiring, training and retention of staff support: Have recruiting methods and guides been established? Are there support staff and resources dedicated specifically to this area? What is the brand doing to be the employer of choice in their industry? Providing an established career path and growth opportunities reduces employee turnover.  
  • Business coaching: Franchisors get a royalty check no matter how your business is doing. A franchisor committed to your individual success will provide support in the way of a dedicated business coach.  The coach should be focused on growing the business as well as increasing your profitability.
  • Technology: Is there technology in place to automate parts of the process? What sort of support and training is offered? How responsive is the franchisor to fixing problems with technology?
  • Operations manual, tools and resources provided: These will be your daily reference tools to empower you with the knowledge to run the business. Are there online resources, guides, checklists, and monitoring tools that are easily accessible to help run the business, not just in the startup phase, but ongoing? Are these updated often?
  • Training: How robust is the training? How easy is it to access? Is training available in multiple forms – online, video, in-person, group classes, one-on-one, etc.? It should extend beyond the initial phase and be ongoing.
  • Kaizen approach: This refers to the idea of continuous improvement based on incremental, positive changes. The world is constantly changing, so a discerning franchise is constantly looking for ways to evolve its business and processes with it. This might come in the way of improved methods and best practices, new product and initiative development, or strategic marketing. It can also manifest itself in a franchisor’s responsiveness to its franchisees. Look for ways a brand is constantly improving itself.

The operations of a brand are the infrastructure the business is built upon. Look closely and ask the right questions about the operations and support so you can better determine if the business offering you are considering is the right fit for you and if you are receiving value for your franchise fee; two very important questions when making the decision to partner with a franchise.