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Evaluating a Franchise Training Program

list of questions

Many people embark on a new career when buying a franchise. Bankers ditch their suits and become lawn care experts. Doctors transform into fried chicken moguls. Teachers try their hand at grooming pets. What makes these transitions work? Franchising has a magic ingredient: the franchise training program. A franchisor can train you to excel in a field where you have no experience.

Novices Welcome

If you are open to a career change and looking to buy a franchise, you’ll come across many exciting opportunities. And your inexperience can actually be a plus. Few franchises require experience in their field. In fact, many favor candidates who have little to no industry experience. Franchisors often find that prior industry experience can get in the way when training a new franchisee.

How to Research the Franchise Training Program

As part of your due diligence, you’ll want to research everything you can about the training a franchise system provides. A high-quality franchise training program covers much more than information about the central product or service. The program should also address setting up the business, marketing, employee management, business procedures, reporting, etc.

What’s the best way to find out about a training program? Speak to the franchisees. Ask them about strengths and weaknesses of the program. What stood out about their training? What areas should have been covered more completely? Ask them how prepared they felt when they opened their business. What ongoing training has been provided since they opened?

Keep in mind that franchise training programs evolve over time. Problems that existed at one time may have been fixed. Or, a training program that was fine in a company’s early days may now be out of date. Be sure to speak with newer franchisees as part of your research. They’ll be more likely to have participated in the current version of the training program.

The operations manual is another valuable resource, particularly if the franchisor updates it regularly. Find out what additional training support sources the franchisor offers, such as conference calls or intranet sites.

11 Topics a Training Program Should Address

The greatest merit of a franchise system is that you should be able to walk right into your new business after training and have the tools needed to make it successful. A strong training program is required to make this happen.

Franchisee training should of course include detailed information about the central product or service. But there are 11 other topics that the franchisor should address. Let’s call these the “how to” topics. Franchisors should provide training on:

  • Using and protecting the brand
  • Selecting your business location
  • Negotiating a lease
  • Completing the permitting and build-out processes
  • Finding, hiring, and managing employees
  • Marketing your product or service
  • Maintaining the books, records, and accounts
  • Complying with reporting requirements
  • Purchasing the necessary equipment
  • Getting supplies and inventory
  • Finding help when there’s a problem

 

To get full value for your investment in a franchise business, the training should answer all your questions and set you up as a confident and successful owner. After you conclude your research, if you feel a particular franchise provides inadequate training, it’s time to step back and look at other opportunities.