I was reading an article about franchising on a website called www.insidermedia.com.
The article was laughingly logged in the ‘ask an expert’ section and was written by a regional director of RBS, that well known, highly successful and highly respected banking group.
On this occasion, though, the article, in my humble opinion, was utter tosh.
It was under a banner which said (something like) here are some things to consider when you are getting your business ready to franchise. There was the usual regurgitated stuff about ops manuals, pilot operations and how to recruit franchisees which seemed as though it could have been copied from any one of a number of similar articles.
This being an article written by RBS there was a fair smattering of stuff like: prepare a franchise feasibility plan and prepare your finances, which, of course, RBS can help you with.
I was pretty bored by the article until I read the section about training, which I shall reproduce for you word for word:
Your franchisees need to know how you want them to run their businesses and a training programme will show them. The structure of this programme and who runs it are up to you.
No, no, bloody well, no.
That’s the equivalent of me writing:
You’ll need some finances and make sure you borrow enough. The structure of that borrowing is up to you.
Come to think about it, isn’t that what RBS did over recent years and why they’re in such a mess? Just saying.
To dismiss training franchisees in such a cursory way, in my view, is highly irresponsible. It kind of suggests that training is easy and there’s no need to get expert help… unlike banking, of course, which is the preserve of a highly talented group of people.
The fact of the matter is that training is a professional discipline and if you put it together incorrectly franchisees won’t achieve the results they are expecting. The franchisor will earn less money and recruitment will be more difficult; potential franchisees will talk to those who are up and running and get the truth.
It doesn’t stop there: franchisees will become disgruntled and talk to each other and the franchisor will have a mutiny to deal with. It goes on: training is just about the first opportunity to deliver on a promise and if the opportunity is missed it sets the tone for the rest of the franchisee’s time with the franchisor.
The other side of the coin is that a professionally constructed training programme really does set a franchisee up for success… and therefore, the franchisor, too.
But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?