The Franchise Operations Manual of Tomorrow is Here Today
How successful franchises are enhancing their operations manuals with powerful new features and benefits.
By Evan Hackel, Tortal Training
In the past, people who bought franchises received big, printed franchise operations manuals from their parent franchise companies. In fact, many franchisors still do this today. However, that is about to change.
As soon as those new franchise owners received their printed manual, they paged through it, read a few sections that provided information they needed, then put it on a bookshelf. And once the franchise manual landed there, it usually stayed put — unopened for months and even years.
The Operations Manual of the Future
Now, thanks to modern technology, franchise manuals of the past are disappearing and being replaced with something far better. My own company, Tortal Training, is in the process of replacing them with new electronic versions that serve multiple purposes.
When reformatting your operations manual, consider what it will need, such as:
Looking and functioning like websites and is completely interactive.
Has content that is searchable and accessible. If a franchise owner needs immediate information or training on using a franchise’s inventory systems, for example, he or she can jump right to that content.
Has links to appropriate training embedded in the manual, right where they belong. If current and future franchisees are consulting the manual about opening a new store, then they can jump right to the training programs they need.
Interface with a franchise’s Learning Management System (LMS), which tracks exactly who is taking company training, where they are located, whether they have completed their training, earned certification, are selling more and other key metrics.
Can be instantly updated and enhanced with new or revised content and training options. You can’t do that with an old-fashioned printed operations manual. But a modern electronic manual can evolve and become a living, growing resource for everyone in your franchise system.
- Can automate the delivery of communications to franchise owners that can include invitations to take new training courses, to attend your annual franchise conference or regional owners’ councils, to be sure to use new signage and displays and more.
Your Electronic Franchise Manual Can Be Used in Powerful New Ways
For example, Tortal Training is encouraging franchise companies to let prospective new franchise buyers log onto the manual, enroll as users in the franchise’s Learning Management System, and take company training. What a powerful way to bring prospective new owners into your franchise family and encourage them to buy.
You can post the names of prospective new owners in a special section of your manual and invite them to take part in training that:
- Gives a high-level overview of your franchise’s history, products, customers and brand.
- Covers the basics of what a franchise is and what responsibilities and opportunities they will have when they become owners.
- Gives access to dozens or hundreds of training courses that let them understand how they will open their locations, merchandise what you sell, use company signage and displays, take part in your marketing programs, hire employees and be fully supported by your resources and systems.
- Provides the opportunity to take critical courses on safety (for all franchises), food safety and preparation (for beverage and food service franchises) and more.
- Alleviates pre-purchase anxiety by teaching them about insurance, business finance and buying or renting real estate to house their franchises.
- Clearly explains the process of becoming one of your franchise owners.
- Parts the curtains and shows prospective buyers how they will interact with the franchise company. They will attend your annual convention, become part of your franchise councils and begin an exciting and successful life as members of your franchise family.
Your Franchise Manual Can Energize Communications Too
We help franchises offer exciting new communications options that can include short weekly or monthly podcasts of key information that are emailed to all current and potential franchisees. Another inclusion could be fun games that work like Jeopardy and other popular game shows, which could be emailed to all current and potential franchisees.
Long Live the Modern Franchise Operations Manual!
A modern electronic operations manual can increase your franchise’s growth and success in ways you never thought possible. It can breathe new life into all your operations, become a powerful sales tool to attract new franchisees, make your current franchisees happier and more committed, and build a franchise brand that engages and delights customers.
Evan Hackel is a 35-year franchising veteran as both a franchisor and franchisee. He is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company and Principal of Ingage Consulting. Find out more about Tortal Training here.