In previous articles, we explored the seven systems needed to successfully run a business. We exited by stating that these systems are amalgamated into an operations procedures and training manual.
This manual embodies the franchisor’s experience in written form and is intended to guide and assist the franchisee in the daily running of the business. Its purpose is also to protect the business as a whole by ensuring that product and service standards are maintained as well as uniformity throughout the network.
Franchising by definition is to conduct business according to an established and defined system. The Operations Procedures and Training manual is an amalgam of the philosophy, systems, procedure, techniques and concepts under which a franchisee must operate.
It covers all aspects of the business, including general business procedures not necessarily peculiar to the franchised business.
Defining and refining the service delivery system in written format accomplishes a number of objectives.
First, it encapsulates the intellectual knowledge of the franchise as a business asset. Written instructions which add value to a business process are leased to third parties to generate a profit. Second, it reduces risk associated with running the business by reducing the risk of knowledge being lost if key staff leave the business.
Third, it contributes to effective training. Documentation is a powerful training tool.
What cannot be documented cannot be trained, hence documenting business procedures and systems ensures a franchisor can easily train others to run their business in exactly the same format as the original business.
Fourth, documenting increases business efficiency by not only providing understanding but also giving insights on how to improve the system. Fifth, documenting eases task allocation and co-ordination.
Documenting system procedures make it possible to assign tasks to specific staff members and to define performance measurements. Finally, documenting eases to facilitate repetition of the same level of performance, consistently and regardless of who carries out the task. This is where experts say “superior systems in the hands of ordinary people produce extra-ordinary results”.
The Operations Procedures and Training manuals must be designed specifically for the franchise business. It should also always reflect the current business practices. It is a living document made available to the franchisee to assist him/her to manage his/her franchise. The changes made are usually to improve current practices or to introduce new procedures to manage risk or to take advantage of new business opportunities.
It is advisable, due to its live nature, to have it in soft copy on the franchisor’s intranet where franchisees refer regularly. If hard copies are required, they should be updated as need arises.
These changes should be of mutual benefit to both the franchisor and franchisee. It must not be perceived by franchisees as additional burden with little or no operational benefit.
It is suggested that the franchisor should use the Franchise Advisory Council when updating the Operations Procedures and Training manual to achieve this.
In the franchisee-franchisor relationship, the manual plays the following roles.
First it provides information useful to the franchisee. Second, it provides procedures and system guidelines. Third, it defines standards that the business must follow.
Forth, it acts as a complimentary enforceable and upgradeable part of the franchise agreement. Fifth, it defines communication and information flow between franchisor/franchisee and within the network. Sixth, it prescribes control mechanisms necessary to maintain the relationship. Seventh, it maintains a tangible record of the intellectual property of the franchise.
Eighth it acts as a training tool for both franchisees and the franchisor. Finally, it is a management tool for the franchisor.
The writer is the Lead Franchise Consultant at Africa Franchising Accelerator Project. We work with country apex private sector bodies to increase the uptake of franchising by helping indigenous African brands to franchise.
We turn around struggling indigenous franchise brands to franchise cross-border. We settle international franchise brands into Africa to build a well-balanced franchise sector. We create a franchise-friendly business environment with African governments for quicker African integration.