In the franchise world, not all franchisors are created equal. This is particularly true when it comes to the level of training and support, they provide their franchisees. One of the biggest advantages to buying a franchise is leveraging the franchisor’s expertise and experience to better position you for success.
When you consider investing in a franchise, pay close attention to what you can expect from the franchisor in terms of training and support. Then take the time to validate with existing franchisees and see if your expectation aligns with their experience.
Sandy Craven, senior director of training at Sport Clips Haircuts says, “A good system can take a person with a set of business skills and with the proper training and support, help them translate those skills into their new role as a franchisee.”
Knowing what training and support franchisees need starts with a refined business model. Look at the ways the franchisor stays connected to its franchisees and how they are finding ways to optimize their business model.
Sport Clips, for example, has some of the most comprehensive and robust training and support programs in the franchise industry. One of the reasons for this is its 69 company-owned stores. “Sport Clips puts themselves in the team leader role along with its franchisees. It can see firsthand what tools franchisees need. New procedures or products can be tested and refined before they are rolled out systemwide,” says Craven.
When it comes to training, all aspects of operations should be covered. Most franchisors hold an initial training session, typically at their headquarters in a classroom setting. Usually this is when the brand’s operational manual is introduced.
Many Friendshuh, director of technical and operation success for Sport Clips says, “The operational manual represents a structured and universal set of values and standards for the brand. At Sport Clips we call ours the playbook and it gives team leaders a framework of values to work from. When they are living the values of Sport Clips, they are better positioned for success.”
Because lot of information is covered in initial training, it should be followed up by some onsite training and assistance to ensure competency. Ask the franchisor what that looks like. Also, ask existing franchisees how prepared they felt to implement the system after the initial and pre-opening training.
Training and support should not end there though, they should be ongoing. “What sets a good brand apart is the amount of tools and support they give their franchisees, as well as having the structure in place to put the tools into practice,” explains Friendshuh. “Key points in a business’ development should be identified and benchmarked to ensure that everything is working. Franchisees should be able to lean back on their training, but also have the support to knowing how to utilize the tools.”
Friendshuh says the most important thing franchisees need to do is trust the system. “Use the tools and do all the steps as outlined,” she explains. “If you have a solid franchisor like Sport Clips, at the end of the day this is the key to better positioning yourself for success.”
Another important thing to note is whether the franchisor is actively looking for ways to improve and elevate their support. Craven says, “Sport Clips is continually adapting its support, creating new training and development programs. It is important not to get stagnant. We listen to the team leaders, coaches and managers. We look for industry best practices. We look for ways to utilize the newest technology to help bring people together and create more efficiency.”
Friendshuh adds, “We feel it is important to empower our team members, such as our coaches, and customize training and support because they are our eyes and ears on the ground. They know who they are working with and how to best adapt the tools to fit the managers while maintaining brand consistency.”
When you invest in a brand, you should feel confident you will be given the training and support to properly execute the business model. Closely examine the support and training offered by the brand you are considering and what that actually looks like. It should be comprehensive, ongoing and dynamic. While you are going into business for yourself, you should never feel like you are in business by yourself.