The Five Year Plan

It’s said that for every year we age, a dog ages seven. A business also evolves much faster than its masters. For most companies, 2008 was another era; 2003 feels like a lifetime ago and 1993 is recalled through a fossil record of discarded pagers and dusty dial-up modems.

A five-year period for a business will see employees come and go, offices move, straplines change, offerings refresh and the business grow. Over the same time, processes will be improved, procedures will be refined, policies will be updated and technology will shift. In short, the business will look and operate quite different in just half a decade.

Business Doctors, a highly successful, nationally franchised business growth support provider, which is headquartered in the North West, is a case in point. Valued clients of FDS North since 2007, Business Doctors grew from a single unit operation in 2008 to a robust and rapidly-growing national network in just five years.

During this time, its portfolio of industry-leading services was expanded and adapted to meet the evolving needs of clients. Its marketing and sales strategies were refined, based on the successes of its growing number of franchise owners.

The company hired a dedicated Marketing Director with social media expertise and began engaging prospective and existing clients in new ways. Social media guidelines were developed, along with a raft of new guidance points for franchise owners, designed to help them maximise their impact in their local markets.

In fact, the business had developed to such an extent that its original franchise documentation, created in 2008 – its Franchise Prospectus, Franchise Information Memorandum and Franchise Operations Manual – did not reflect today’s Business Doctors.

The Prospectus, the key selling document, presented a young business with a novel opportunity, not the tried and tested success that Business Doctors had become. The Franchise Information Memorandum, the disclosure document for prospective buyers, underrepresented the extent of the financial opportunity. The Franchise Operations Manual, Business Doctors’ key reference and training tool for franchise owners, did not incorporate all the best practice, policies or procedures developed and refined in the course of recent years.

That’s why Business Doctors came back to FDS North for a thorough refresh of its documentation. Over the course of eight meetings, we undertook a systematic review of its existing documentation against current operations and managed the development of fresh, relevant, compelling and, most importantly, effective documentation for today’s Business Doctors by an industry-leading business writer.

The result is a suite of documents that is not only fit for purpose, but also geared to support Business Doctors’ continued growth.

Five calendar years is equal to at least 25 “business years”, or a “business generation”. It’s the time when any franchise business needs to look at the documents it is using and ask: do my marketing, disclosure and training tools reflect the business as it is today? Are the numbers still right? Is the franchise opportunity accurately conveyed? Are current policies, procedures and best practice documented? If not, it’s time to call in the experts. It’s time for a new generation of documents for the next generation of franchise owners.

Your documents are the tangibles that help prospective and existing franchise owners get a full grasp of your business and the opportunity it affords. Make sure it’s doing you justice. Call it the Five Year Rule. Renew your documents once every Business Generation.

If you’re based in the North of England and want more information or a free review of your Franchise Documentation, feel free to get in touch.