Evaluating Franchisor Training Programs

By Rick Bisio | Creator of The Educated Franchisee | Franchise Consultant

I have often thought that a small franchise could be the perfect one-size-fits-all college graduation present. Just imagine – if every business person owned, or had owned and sold his/her own franchise business, what a smart and effective work force we would have. Their franchise educations would make them incredible business people.

I’m always impressed when young people have the foresight to investigate franchising. I have seen, thousands of times, what a leg up a franchise can be for people – young or not so young – who want to be at the helm.

Why do I believe franchising is the best route to self-employment? Primarily because of the high success rate franchises have. And why are the success rates so high? Because in franchising you buy a proven business model – and you receive training in that business model – training that should set you up to be a successful franchisee.

Most franchisors build their training programs on the assumption that you – the new franchisee – have never worked in this business before. Franchisors also assume that you have never owned your own business before. Their intention is to design a thorough training program that positions the franchisee for success. Frankly, some franchisors are better at this than others.

The quality of the training is absolutely critical, so ignore intentions, and focus on facts. Here are 7 things to do when evaluating a franchise training program.

  1. Talk to existing franchisees about how well they are doing. Read Chapter 11 of my franchise book, The Educated Franchisee, to learn how to approach franchisees. Ask franchisees if the initial training program positioned them for success.
  2. Find out how long each franchisee you talk with has been in business, and ask what s/he thought about the training. If they’re new, your training experience will probably be most like theirs. If they’ve been in the franchise for a while, ask if they find the on-going support to be effective.
  3. Find out what stood out in training, and what could have been covered more thoroughly. Ask how prepared they felt when they opened the business.
  4. Ask about support materials and on-going programs. Is the operations manual updated regularly? How is the intranet used? Are there regular conference calls? Annual meetings? Are they effective?
  5. Ask the franchisor and franchisee what is covered besides the product or service. A strong program should also cover business set-up (location, leases, permits, build-outs, equipment, software, etc.), business and accounting procedures, reporting requirements, employee management, marketing, and so on.
  6. Is there a company store? While not necessary, this can be an excellent way to get some “hands on” training.
  7. Read the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), provided by the franchisor. Training highlights should be outlined in Item 11.

Adequate training and on-going support will be critical to your success. If you do your homework and don’t hear good things about the franchise training program, walk away. Don’t assume you will be able to overcome poor training. Even if you could, others will not be so lucky, and you’ll find yourself in a failing system.

Do your homework, and ensure you’ll walk out of training ready and able to meet your goals and become a confident and successful franchise business owner!

The Educated Franchisee is dedicated to franchise education through the sharing of franchise information.

Our objective is –To create educated franchise buyers that have clearly defined objectives and are able to recognize the right, or wrong, franchise when they see it. An educated franchise buyer will move into the franchisee role with their expectations properly set and will have a heightened potential for success within the franchise system creating a win/win for all involved.”
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