What training should you expect in franchising?

When researching a franchise opportunity and seeing the different types of support being offered as part of the package, you may wonder what they are. Tom Endean, of the British Fr­anchise Association, provides some advice about what training a potential franchise owner should expect to receive.

Franchising has proven to be far more successful than other business start-ups. This is an intrinsic benefit of franchising, being built around a proven business model and then training suitable dedicated people with support on an ongoing basis.

There is no one element of this formula that can realistically be cut out without it having an effect on the result and this includes training. The training element of franchising is vital. It is the glue that holds everything together so that the person can run the business as proven and outlined in all the documentation. As such an important part of franchising, it is obviously sensible for anyone looking to join a franchise to make sure that they understand what training they would receive.

Upfront Training

Franchising should allow previously untrained people to trade successfully as a business owner. However, this depends heavily on the right training being in place to not only cover the specifics of delivering the product or service, but also cover the various elements of running a business in general, such as understanding marketing, sales and finance.

The elements of this initial training will vary hugely between businesses, as some will be vastly more complex than others. Some franchises will even include aspects of this training into the initial recruitment process and only if you reach the correct standards will you be able to move forward in the process.

The duration of initial training can also vary. Some businesses can include the bulk of all training in the first week, sometimes over just a few days. This is because the businesses are of a certain structure or type that will not require in depth training. Other businesses may take many week or even more if they include the training as part of the recruitment process as mentioned earlier. The initial training is not likely to cover every single aspect of every possible area to make you a world expert in the business sector, but it should give you the practical knowledge and skills to get the business launched and up on its feet.

However, just because you have started, the training should not stop there. Some businesses may want you to cover a continuous training programme; some will need just intermittent updates but all will involve some level of training support for the long term.

Ongoing Training

With ongoing training, again it will vary between networks quite substantially, but what will be common is that all franchisors will want to make sure that their franchise owners are up to date with any developments in the products or services. This may mean occasional product training or updates to keep the business up to date with the requirements of the business format and operations manual.

Some networks will have developed refresher programmes for the core business skills that you would have covered in the initial training.

This will help to ensure that you are not only keeping up standards, but you are also up to date with any developments in business practice.

One key aspect to remember with training is that you are a business owner and as such you should also be responsible enough to recognise where you need further training to maximise your potential. This may be something that the franchisor can help with by either directing you to the franchise’s own courses, or even help financially support you on approved courses. Some franchisors will actually sponsor their franchise owners on extra training courses. However, this will not be the case with all, so make sure you understand what systems the franchise has in place. If there isn’t a whole host of additional approved training courses, it is not necessarily a problem, but you will need to recognise this at the start.

Remember, one of the reasons franchising works, is that you are operating an already proven business model. Therefore, you will want to ensure that you are running it correctly. The bulk of the training, which should give you this knowledge, should be automatically put forward by the franchisor as part of the natural set-up of the franchise. However, you should not assume that every aspect of personal development in franchising is down to the franchisor. Speak to them and find out where they will support you and where they are unable to. Don’t be afraid to discuss where you want further development outside of this, as the franchisor may be able to help or direct you – and even if they can’t they may be very encouraged to see you trying to ensure you maximise the potential of the business.