Troy Tappenden, the MD of Dream Doors, explores what you need to think about once you’ve decided on running a franchise and what any new franchisees will need to know.
When someone is deciding to take the plunge and become a franchisee, there are numerous questions they need to ask themselves. It’s such a major decision that everything needs to be addressed, from income and lifestyle, to the type of franchise and the training provided.
Training in fact, is an area that is often overlooked when it comes to choosing a franchise. But when someone is starting out, it stands to reason that there are going to be some significant holes in their knowledge and skill-set. This is fine – why would someone that has worked in sales all their career, suddenly have an understanding of other business disciplines? But those gaps do need to be filled. What should a potential franchisee look for in terms of training support when they start their franchise journey?
(1) A range of new business skills
Depending on the background of the franchisee in question, there are going to be elements of running a business that are familiar to them, and others that they have never come across. That’s why it is important for the franchise to offer training in a wide range of different business disciplines.
This should include financial management, covering everything from day-to-day finances to managing annual figures and projections; customer care, addressing everything from overall approach to ways of handling customer complaints; and how to deal with people in the business, whether that is your own staff or suppliers to the franchise.
Some of this information will almost certainly be just a recap of skills and knowledge already held by the franchisee. But as the boss, people will be expected to have a good handle on pretty much every area of the business, so it is far preferable to repeat things rather than suddenly find a franchisee is exposed when their business is up and running.
(2) Industry knowledge
People don’t have to have a background in kitchens or interiors to join Dream Doors, and they certainly won’t be hands-on with the practical aspects of the business. Ours is a white-collar management franchise opportunity and that’s a similar story with a number of other companies.
But when you are advising people on how to makeover their kitchen, it is imperative that you have a good knowledge of what options are available to a customer, what is likely to work and what isn’t, and know how to layout a kitchen. So irrespective of the type of franchise, or the sector it is in, a new franchisee must be given a thorough industry grounding. This should include meetings with suppliers, the chance to network with other franchisees in the network to hear their experiences and to learn the ins and outs of running that specific franchise.
(3) Sales and marketing
This is a section on its own instead of being one of the business disciplines outlined above. That’s because sales and marketing are integral to the success of any franchisee – if you don’t sell, you are not going to make any money, it really is as simple as that.
There are many different ways to make a sale and no one can learn them all on a training course – however good the trainer. Many of the skills required will be picked up along the way, but it is certainly possible to gain a good understanding of the basics and learn some sales techniques that will stand the franchisee in good stead as they embark on their franchising journey.
Supporting the sales efforts will be the marketing department – the franchisee! While a good franchise opportunity will certainly provide a lot of on-going marketing support, it will still be down to the individual to learn how to market your business. This means training must include how to use social media, SEO techniques, local advertising and direct marketing to prospects and customers.
Training is of paramount importance to a franchisee’s success and should cover everything outlined above. But that shouldn’t be where the training stops. A leading franchise opportunity will engage with its franchisees on a regular basis, offering new courses and updates on existing skills, to ensure their franchisees are fully equipped for success.
Troy Tappenden is MD of kitchen makeover franchise firm Dream Doors.
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