When I ask individuals what they expect from the franchisor/franchisee relationship, they almost always start with Training and Support. This is the first of the four keys and it is the most well known.
Every franchise system has a training and support department. The job of this department is to take an individual that has limited experience in the functional aspects of the business model and create experts. The training and support process has four parts –
Pre-training – This training normally happens after the person signs the franchise agreement and continues until they attend formal training class. There is often a ‘pre-training manual’ which contains To-Do List’s, Study Guides and Vocabulary. Topics vary from setting up your DBA to getting Business Cards to placing ads to hire your first employees. In some cases it also includes identification, design and build out of real estate. Pre-training is the franchisor holding your hand as you take your first steps.
Training – Formal training can range from one week to several months. It is normally held at the Franchisor’s headquarters and can be a very intense experience with long days and mental overload. The formal training can also include functional training in the field. For example, if the business focuses on cleaning dryer vents, then part of your training would include cleaning a bunch of different types of dryer vents.
Post Training Field Support – Once you graduate from the formal training class, most franchisors will continue with ongoing field training for the first few months. This training would include daily calls with the designated franchisor representative to discuss questions and to provide as much guidance as needed during the first number of months. This normally continues until the franchisee is both confident and competent.
Ongoing Training– The last part of training is ‘ongoing training’. As the franchisor develops new programs or as new functionality is added to the system, all the franchisees need to be brought up to speed. Ongoing training happens from time to time to allow the system to integrate news programs in a systematic way.
It is interesting to note that although training is important and highly valued at the beginning of the relationship and less valued as time goes by. Eventually all franchisees believe they know as much, if not more, than the franchisor. So, why do franchisees still see value in the franchise system after many years? That takes us to the Infrastructural Backbone.