Do you know the three P’s required to successfully franchise your business?

There is one thing that separates those who succeed from those that fail. To successfully expand as a franchise, you must fix the foundation of your house first!

So you’re getting ready to franchise your business? Hold your horses. Before you embark on the franchising journey, getting your house in order is important. The more solid the foundation of your house, the more interesting your business will be to potential partners and investors.

As a leading developer of Franchise Software, we have identified three items that successful franchisors consider before diving into the franchising pool. We call them the three P’s:

Franchise Process Processes in place – A successful franchise can only deliver a fully consistent experience to its customers, if there are clear guidelines, processes and job instructions to follow. At the core is the franchise manual which typically generates headaches for new franchisors. Many of the leading edge franchise businesses are leaving behind the traditional franchise manual and moving it to a cloud based manual. Not only does this make updating easier across the entire user base. For the user, it also provides with a more logical way of looking things up, and understanding what’s expected to successfully do a good job.

Franchise programPrograms in place – A successful franchise business will provide a range of supporting programs, including promotions, media planning, marketing assets and tools for creating brand compliant marketing materials. You don’t want to give your new franchise-partners too much flexibility in tinkering with the brand you’ve worked so hard to establish – instead give them the right programs from the start, so that they can be successful in driving your business vision profitably.

Franchise Software PlatformPlatform in place – So you have done all your homework? Now you need a way to centralize collect all your processes and programs. This is where the franchise software platform will come in handy. Stored in the cloud, it provides you as the business owner with a power content and knowledge management tool, while giving your franchise partners an intranet on steroids where they can easily access they need to do your business justice.

And not only does the franchise software platform unite your company for processes and program. Used effectively, it will collect key functionality for vendor agreements, discount programs, training, reporting, and pricing – all under one roof.

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Five Reasons To Re-Focus on Your Franchise Intranet

“In the rush to adopt new and exciting technologies, franchise businesses risk overlooking one of their most powerful assets.”

Five Reasons To Re-Focus on Your Franchise IntranetToday a franchise intranet is rightly regarded as a necessity. This can result in web properties being taken for granted, as new social platforms and mobile opportunities are prioritised. Understandably, it can be hard to focus on internal processes, when customers need to be served, and monthly quotas met. Our findings confirm the importance of a compelling franchise intranet in driving sales is significant for five key reasons:

  1. Staff morale and empowerment – An informed workforce will act confidently, and take the right decision, at the right time. The outcome will be a franchise that customers want to keep coming back to.
  2. Effort to process requests – Integrated applications and information at your fingertips will allow the workforce to find a job process, work description faster, and with better quality. This means a job well done quicker, happier customers, and increased customer loyalty.
  3. Staff capability development – With a knowledge-base and platform for franchise training in place, your efforts to train franchisees will go a long way to educate the work force. A well trained staff means reduced errors, rework and staff replacement.
  4. Level of compliance – Compliance in your franchise is key. The more disciplined your approach is to training and providing knowledge, the more compliant your franchise network. Putting your franchise intranet to work for you, will significantly increase compliance across the board.
  5. Reputation in market – Don’t underestimate what a franchise intranet can do for the reputation of your business. A franchise intranet can even be a deal breaker for franchisees looking to invest; if you don’t have the right tools in place, may signal that you are not putting focus on training and knowledge-building.

Collaboration Franchise SoftwareIn summary, done right, your franchise intranet is increasingly becoming a critical tool in franchise daily operations. Companies should be looking to exploit this by enhancing intranets using franchise software, including optimising content to make it easier for franchisees to find information, streamlining navigation to aid findability, and easy-to-use operations manuals. In the rush to adopt new and exciting technologies, businesses risk overlooking one of their most powerful assets. The Franchise Intranet may not be the flashiest of digital properties, but it will transform the way your do business.

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Build your franchise house on a foundation of rock, not sand

So you have taken the decision to franchise your business. What’s next? Once you take the decision to franchise, building a solid foundation is critical. You can’t build a franchise on a foundation of sand.

TrainingAnd it’s not just about financing and legal matters. Also consider your new responsibilities as a knowledge provider: establishing processes, providing training and guidelines, and ensuring that your new business partners are enabled to a create consistent customer experience.

After all, as a new franchisor, you will rely on your franchisees to realize the vision you have for your business. So how do you make it happen?

“The Internet plays a critical role in the success of a franchise. Many franchisors use the Internet to communicate with franchise owners and suppliers – and to share critical information and expertise”, writes Kevin Harrington in Forbes Magazine.

I couldn’t agree more. In terms getting your franchise ramped up, we see a tremendous difference in those franchisors that embrace franchise software, versus those that don’t. By establishing a franchise intranet at the early stages of your franchise transformation, you are creating a foundation that will support your long-term goals.

Here are three things franchise software will help with:

  • SINGLE POINT OF ENTRY: A franchise intranet lets your franchisees tap into your universe of operations manuals, marketing assets and training programs. Every franchisee will be more empowered to act, communicate and build the business with confidence.
  • Common viewCOMMON VIEW: Once inside the franchise network, a franchise intranet will franchisees understand they are members of a system of mutually-dependent outlets, each working for the better of the entire network. Developing an awareness of this concept early in the relationship will create a positive attitude, encourage innovative ideas from franchise owners, ensure timely royalty payments and prevent franchise relationship problems later on. WorkMap is methodology that can help run your processes more seamlessly.
  • KNOWLEDGE: Of all the tasks that befall the new franchisor, perhaps none is as important as the role of training. If the brand is the heart of any great franchise, training is the physical conditioning that keeps that heart beating strongly and consistently. Far too often, franchisees and their managers are inadequately trained in new policies and procedures, and the franchisor does not have a clear understanding of what training the franchisees are providing to their new employees. Here is an example of how a franchise uses  franchise software to put training at the core of their business.

Transforming your business to a franchise means your organization will have to tackle new challenges. So when is the right time to implement franchise software? The short answer is: now. It doesn’t matter if you are on the verge of franchising their business, or have very few franchise processes in place.

You’re in the driver’s seat.

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The Three C’S of Franchisee Relationship Fixing

What’s your new year’s resolution? To improve the relationship with your franchisees? Not a bad idea. I’ve written previously that 50% of Franchise Master Licensees are not satisfied with ongoing support from the Franchisors and want help to perform better.

There are a few low hanging fruits that you can pick immediately to help improve the relationship with your franchisees, while helping your overall business perform better.

CommunicateCommunications – A real franchise leader understands the importance of equipping franchisees with the right knowledge, at the right time. Do your franchisees have visibility of what marketing campaigns are in the pipe for the first quarter (and are they on board)? Do your franchisees know what’s accepted of them, performance wise, compliance wise? How are you making it clear? There is no such thing as under-communicating – the key is how, and with what tools you communicate.

Collaboration Franchise SoftwareCompliance – If you don’t have a good operations manual or processes that everyone can understand, it goes without saying that your franchise will not deliver on its brand promise. Get your operations in gear, provide training and start sharing information in a way that impacts your bottom-line in a positive way.

But dusting of that old operations manual may not be the best approach. Have you considered providing your franchisees with an interactive operations manual online?  It is estimated that operations manuals developed with WorkMap™, a proprietary methodology that results in better operations manuals that require less administration at lower cost, can improve workplace efficiencies at a franchise by up to 50%.

I guess the only question is: “Why am I not using that already?”

CollaborationCollaboration – Working in silos never helped anyone in the long run. If your franchisees are operating independently with very little visibility of what’s going on across the organization, there is no shared learning, no distribution of ideas, and no sense of community. Ultimately you are not building a team – you’re just operating in parallel universes. What good is that? Get your franchisees online and start the conversation! Share the knowledge! Learn from experiences!

Collaborating online means your franchisees will LEARN EXPONENTIALLY. If you don’t have a franchise intranet in place, or if you have one that is barely ever updated, now is the time to make it sizzle.

Whether you are a growing franchise or just starting out, the benefits of a connected and collaborative franchise are numerous. The New Year is just starting. Make 2014 a prosperous one: Connect with your franchisees more effectively and see your franchise thrive.

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Is Your Franchisor Providing Online Support and Training?

Franchise_TrainingIn a recent post, I discussed what prospective franchisees look for in a franchise. With a score of 6.7 out of 10, “Franchise Training and support” ranked second only to “potential earnings” as the most important item considered by a franchisee when evaluating a franchise.

So it’s surprising how many franchisors are making no promises to provide franchisees with any support or assistance after a business opens, and a few mandatory days of start-up training.

If you are considering investing in a franchise, you need to be on alert for empty promises from the franchisor.

Unfortunately, franchise agreements are becoming very one-sided. While paying a hefty chunk of change, the franchisee gets nothing but the right to a trademark, a set of rules to follow, and a template-produced operations manual. Fair?

Insist on a better framework, and look for a franchise the embraces a collaborative environment where knowledge is shared across the franchisees. Here are three things to look for in a franchise:

  1. Franchise Intranet: A franchise that understands the value of internal communications will put its franchise intranet at the very core of its business model. The intranet will house all the tools you’re looking for, from training modules, to ways of communicating with leadership and other franchise owners.
  2. Online Franchise Manual: Printed franchise manuals based on Word-Templates are a thing of a past. A well-structured, easy-to-navigate online operations manual will help your franchisee do the job better, faster – with more satisfied end-users as the outcome. Here is our issue-to-outcome based approach to operations manuals called WorkMap.
  3. Franchise Training Online: A franchisee will only be as compliant and process-loyal as the training received. Modern franchise operations not only provide training, but invest in online training modules and e-learning to boost the performance of their franchisees.

Franchise Software Boost ProfitsIt’s been proven again and again: A franchise that provides better support using franchise software, will perform better, have happier franchisees, and ultimately, more satisfied end-customers. It’s a win-win.

If the franchise informs you they are not obligated to provide any assistance and support, beyond the start-up training, odds are you are in for a rough ride.

As difficult as it may be when you’re reviewing that 30 or 40 page contract, don’t be afraid to place demands on the support you’re receiving up front, and get it in writing. Insist on a better franchise agreement – Demand franchise knowledge and support to be at the core.

Examples of franchise and retail chains that took the leap and went digital can be found here.

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Is your Franchise Knowledge Powered and Enabled to Learn?

According to a recent study by Franchise Mind Corp., 50% of Franchise Master Licensees are not satisfied with ongoing support from the Franchisors and want help to perform better. Here are three critical findings:

  • Master Licensees consider operational improvements as critical to succeed
  • Master Licensees want greater focus on training to be better performing
  • Master Licensees want tools and operational focus to grow the brand

Franchise TrainingThe inability to provide a consistent customer experience, deliver on the brand promise across locations, get staff trained and productive, and provide access to a knowledge sharing environment have an immediate impact on customer perception and bottom-line.

The damage to the brand, the financial implications to the franchisee, and ability to concentrate on growth are difficult to repair.  So how do you deliver and grow the knowledge across your organization, and ensure that your network has one common view?

A super powered franchise intranet that equips all job functions across your franchise with the right knowledge, at the right time, can help bridge the gap.

Whether you are a growing franchise or just starting out, the benefits of a connected and collaborative franchise intranet are easy to spot in daily operations:

  • Easy access Online Operations Manuals
  • Increased learning through training and support materials
  • Seamless collaboration and knowledge sharing across r franchisees

“What I look for in a franchise, is proof it that supports multiple units effectively and makes use of technology. They should have systems in place, like POS systems that talk to each other, offer online training and marketing tools that everyone can use,” says one Franchisee we spoke to.

More importantly, as you tackle the challenges of knowledge delivery in your franchise network, the overall business can truly start to flourish. In a knowledge-powered franchise, franchisees are more likely to:

  • Franchise SoftwareExpand market share into other territories
  • Open additional units
  • Validate the company to prospective franchisees
  • Participate enthusiastically in company programs
  • Contribute ideas for overall system growth
  • Take a leadership role in helping other franchisees

It is time to fix the training failures of the past and provide franchisees with cost effective and easy to implement tools to provide a continuous learning and knowledge sharing environment that facilitates the real-time needs of franchise employees to please customers. Here is a great video to help you get started.

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Don’t underestimate the power of a digital franchise manual

Whether you are operating a franchise spa, tanning salon franchise, or a restaurant franchise, a properly written franchise manual will help you outperform competition.

But having a digital franchise manual is not the same as slamming a PDF document on your intranet. A franchise manual is a living document that should be easy to read, and easy to apply in real life. In other words, everything a PDF is not.

One of our clients said it best: “A PDF is just a dead document sitting on the screen. For the franchisees, it still just a sheet of paper which is painful to read.”

That’s why I am such a strong believer in WorkMap™, a methodology we developed to improve the way operations manuals are developed, written, and ultimately used in the workplace.

By building on logic rather than a template process, we have actually seen some of our clients improve workplace efficiencies by up to 50% by using a digital franchise manual developed with WorkMap™.

Here are some of the immediate wins using a digital franchise manual

More consistent customer service – Because the manual is written according to WorkMap™ standards will make for improved readability, and ultimately better execution in the workplace.

Handle customer complaints better – By seeing only relevant information, there is significantly less room for misinterpretation (i.e. “does this instruction apply to me?”)

Knowing how to do a “job well done” – A more structured flow for each work process that is easy to follow. Clear criteria and measures for each role will help establish what is required to achieve “a job well done

So how does it work? We recently put together a case study on WorkMap which you can find here. This is a great place to start if you are considering getting a digital franchise manual.

Putting your franchise intranet to work for your teams

By integrating your digital franchise manual with your franchise intranet, you are truly empowering your franchisees to outperform competition and exceed expectations.

And remember, in a collaborative environment, everybody benefits. Knowledge is shared instantly across the organization, and team members can view best practice and new learnings in real time.

6 Key benefits of using a digital franchise manual

For the Franchisor

  • Work and Operational processes in real time
  • Significant cost and time savings on administration vs. print
  • A more educated, informed workforce

For the Franchisee

  • Immediate understanding of tasks that need to be completed
  • Immediate understanding how to complete a task with satisfactory results
  • Immediate understanding of what tools to use to complete a task
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