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Becoming a franchisee is an exciting venture – you’ve found a way of combining your passion with the opportunity to build your own business, in a proven way.
Understandably, there will be plenty of franchising elements that are unfamiliar to you, from learning about the business structure and operations to recruitment and sales.
The great thing about being a franchisee is that you have the full support of the franchisor and receive proper training, not just to get your business up and running, but for the entire time you own the franchise.
So, what does this mean in terms of training courses and ongoing support? All franchise networks are different and have their own appropriate training for their business. After all, it’s in their interest to make sure franchisees are fully prepared to run their own business, as ultimately franchisors will want to ensure high-quality service across all territories as well as consistency of brand values.
At Premier Education, we have a thorough franchise training and support programme for our franchisees. In this article, we hear from Head of Sales, Glenn Hoy and Franchise Support Director Karl Fox about the process for onboarding new franchisees, once the franchise agreement has been signed, and the ongoing training and support that’s provided.
“The first thing we action for any new franchisee coming on board is to set up their business dashboard,” explains Karl. “This plan distils the franchisee’s short, medium and long-term strategy as well as KPIs. We work closely with the franchisee to get this completed so they have clear visibility of their business objectives.
“Having this one-page plan is vital as it clarifies exactly what the franchisee wants from the business; the direction they want to take the franchised business, but also to make sure they are aligned with our overall brand.”
Glenn continues: “The initial and ongoing training is over 14 months and covers all of the key disciplines, including sales, marketing, finance and recruitment.
“However, before this starts, we take time to get to know the new franchisee to understand their strengths and weaknesses and identify any areas where they may need additional training.”
“As part of the initial training, we also make sure the new franchisee is fully trained on our Business Management System.” Adds Karl. “This online portal is home to all of our main franchise systems and information, such as products, staff, performance and reporting information, compliance management, invoicing and our customer database.
“Being familiar with this system is crucial as it is central to the day-to-day running of the business.”
“Most of our initial training takes place face-to-face, at head office,” explains Glenn. “This way, we can make sure new franchisees are able to spend some time in the different departments, learning the important skills needed to run a successful franchise.”
Rather than traditional classroom training, Premier Education also believes in gaining practical experience from existing franchisees.
“We find it hugely valuable for new franchisees to spend some time with one or two of their local counterparts,” says Karl. “They can see for themselves how a successful franchise business model operates and it’s great hands-on experience.
“Having the support network of other franchisees offers numerous benefits to new starters, not only in training terms but also to help give them more confidence and feel fully equipped to run their own territories.”
“Our training programmes for franchisees continue for the life of the franchise,” says Glenn. “We ensure there is ongoing support readily available for the entire franchise network, and it’s designed to suit the individual.”
Karl adds: “Each individual business has a daily, disciplined process to ensure excellent communication between staff and managers, including a weekly ‘LION’ video call, which stands for ‘Last week, Issues, Opportunities, Next week’. This is a chance to go over any concerns from the previous week as well as a look ahead to the following week. During induction, these will be held with a member of the central operations team to support the new franchisee’s onboarding.
“There are also regular opportunities for the franchisees to touch base with the network. For example, we hold twice weekly webinars with our operations team on Wednesdays and Fridays, which are run to provide information to our network, share knowledge and offer support. These sessions are kept to 45 minutes and we’ll regularly have external speakers relevant to any programs we are running at that time.”
One key point that Glenn is keen to make is that everyone wants you to succeed. “We never allow our franchisees to feel on their own,” he adds. “As a franchisee, you might have purchased the rights to operate the business, but you’re still a part of the franchise network, so support is there whenever it’s needed.
“A quarterly business review takes place to ensure the business is on-track and the measure the business’s overall operational effectiveness score as well as being a good chance to identify whether any more training is needed.”
There’s also an opportunity to stay in touch with the wider Premier Education network at both twice-yearly regional training and a national training event. “The national training event is a fantastic week-long event,” explains Karl. “Franchisees get to hear from both the franchisor as well as keynote speakers and it’s a great chance to find out not only what’s planned for the business but also how each franchise can reach its full potential.”
“Our training programs are absolutely flexible,” comments Glenn. “We understand that each franchisee has different skills and experience, so will need assistance and development in different areas in order to achieve success.”
“We always encourage our franchisees to work collaboratively within their regions,” explains Karl. “It’s always great to hear how the different franchises have been supporting one another, whether that be in regards to employees, recruitment, services or customer experience.
“Of course, we are always on-hand here at head office, but for a new business, nothing beats the advice from someone in the same position as you!”
Premier rewards its top ten franchised businesses as Trailblazers, and these successful businesses become role models for new franchises. But not only this, but they become a key part of the overall franchise business model, helping to shape decisions that are made within the company.
“It’s important to us as a business that our top franchisees have a platform to influence what goes on in terms of our focus and direction,” adds Karl. “These Trailblazers are brilliant examples of successful franchises so it also makes sense for them to be on-hand to support any franchisee who needs that bit of extra guidance.”
“We are one big team here,” continues Glenn “and ongoing training is vital not only to ensure each franchise business emulates the Premier Education brand but to help each business reach its full potential.”
Karl adds: “As a company, we are evolving and developing our propositions to match the needs of schools and parents, so it’s vital that our franchise network stays up to date.”