As a franchise consultant, I put great emphasis on the importance of detailed franchise planning. Let’s take a look at franchise operations manuals in particular.
I feel it is particularly important to decide each aspect of how the Franchisor and Franchisee will work together.
These aspects include:
- The responsibilities of the Franchisor and of the Franchisee
- The established lines of communication
- The amounts of money due and when they are due
- What information the Franchisee must provide and when it is due
- Franchisor support systems
In addition to stressing the importance of thorough franchise planning, National Franchise Associates strongly advocates that the Franchisor puts in writing all pertinent details about how to launch and run the business. We have found that the Franchisor’s Operations Manuals are the best place to organize this information.
Sample Areas of a Franchise Operations Manual
Custom manuals are actually much more in-depth than they might appear. To demonstrate this idea, we’ve highlighted some typical areas of coverage that might be addressed on a case by case basis:
- Pre-opening Procedures
- Business Entity Selection
- Business structure, choosing an entity, administration, income tax, liability protection, entity location, assumed name certificate
- Site Selection
- Criteria for selecting a site, market analysis, lease considerations, lease approval
- Permits / Licenses / Taxes
- Business licenses, permits, optional certifications, tax registrations, tax payments, state information websites
- Training programs, food safety training
- Facility Setup
- Building out the facility, approved supplier list, sign requirements, POS systems, computer systems, required fixtures, construction specifications
- Inventory & Supplies
- List of approved suppliers
- Bank Accounts
- Main business accounts, operating accounts
- General insurance requirements / coverage, minimum coverage amounts, insurance company requirements
- Grand Opening
- Notification, 2 weeks out direct mail, soft opening publicity, weeks 1/2/3, VIP invites, first company meeting, pre-opening checklist
- Business Entity Selection
- Personnel Management
- Employment Law Fundamentals / OSHA
- Your First Employee Hire, responsibilities & profiles
- Employee Recruiting, job applications & interviewing
- Background Checks
- General tips and special rules
- Pre-Employment Testing & hiring issues
- New Employee Paperwork & Steps in Hiring Process
- New Employee Orientation & Training
- Personnel Policies
- Communicating work rules
- Paying Your Employees
- Wages, minimum wage, benefits
- Employee Scheduling
- Employee Management Forms
- Employee Morale / Motivation
- Signs of good / bad morale, improving morale & motivation
- Performance Evaluations
- Employee Discipline
- Resignation / Termination
- Resignation, termination, post-separation procedures, final paychecks, explaining termination to other employees, giving references
- Summary of Good Employee Management Practices
- Getting Legal Help with Employment Law Issues
- Daily Operating Procedures
- Required Days / Hours of Operation
- Customer Service Procedures
- Service philosophy, customer feedback & complaints, complaint policy development, handling refund requests
- Other Customer Services
- Dry-cleaning, lost and found
- Service Procedures
- Greeting customers, answering the telephone, understanding product offerings, customer interaction, job descriptions, selling techniques, passive vs active selling
- Merchandising Procedures
- Visual merchandising standards, merchandising products, using signage
- Meal Preparation Procedures (for food service businesses)
- Prepping procedures & stations, recipes, inventory, dishwashing / sanitation procedures
- Opening / Closing Checklists
- Opening/closing checklists
- Transacting Sales
- POS system training, cash procedures, accepting checks & credit cards, pricing
- Gift Certificates
- Issuing & redeeming gift certificates
- Inventory Management
- Product ordering, approved suppliers, changing approved suppliers, product receiving & storing, labeling/rotating inventory, spoilage
- Operational and Financial Reporting
- POS System features, generating & analyzing reports, sample reports
- Franchise Fees and Reporting Requirements
- Royalty payments, marketing fees, required reports, financial statements
- Loss Prevention Techniques
- Cash & inventory
- Required Cleaning and Maintenance
- Daily/Weekly/Monthly Cleaning and Maintenance
- Safety Procedures
- Preventing accidents & injuries, crisis management policy, reporting accidents, worker’s compensation issues, fire safety, robbery, unruly customers, using the alarm system
- Sales Procedures
- The Sales Process
- Identifying customer needs, building customer rapport, handling objections
- Understanding Your Competition
- Competitive Advantages
- The Sales Process
- Marketing & Resources
- Promoting our Business in Your Area
- General obligations, marketing standards
- Logo Specifications
- Required Marketing Expenditures
- System marketing, local requirements, regional cooperative advertising, grand opening marketing
- Local Marketing
- Direct mail, radio, television, billboards, magazines, newspapers, Yellow Pages, internet, networking, word of mouth, referrals
- Public Relations / Community Involvement
- Press releases, Better Business Bureau, local Chamber of Commerce, team sponsorships, community service / charitable activities
- Obtaining Marketing Approval
- Website Resources
- For small businesses, organizations, employment laws, tax information
- Promoting our Business in Your Area
- Sample Management Documents
- Daily Cash Sheet, Absence Policy, Applicant Information Release, Sample Applicant Rejection Letter, Sample Applicant Acknowledgment Letter, COBRA, Sample Collection Letter, Time Spent During Work Hours, Customer Satisfaction Survey, Discipline Documentation Form, Drug Test Consent Form, Electronic Funds Transfer Authorization, Emergency Instructions, Job Application, General Work Rules, Holiday / Vacation Policy, Restroom Inspection Worksheet, Sexual Harassment Policy, Smoking Policy, Termination Meeting Checklist, Employee Time Records, Checklist For Handling Workers’ Compensation Claims, Workplace Safety Rules, Employee Data Form
Franchise Operations Manuals, Key To Success
A comprehensive, well-written set of Operations Manuals serve a number of purposes when putting together a franchise program, including:
- Operations Manuals act as written how-to guides to take the new Franchisee from signing the Franchise Agreement to opening the doors
- Operations Manuals provide detailed instructions for running the business
- Operations Manuals are a tool for instilling better quality throughout the system
- Operations Manuals help ensure the Franchisees have received all the necessary information in a well-organized format.
- Operations Manuals act as a compliance guide. (It is very difficult to enforce your procedures if the Franchisee claims to not know them).
Operations Manuals are training guides on two different levels. First, the Franchisor can use the Operations Manuals to train new Franchisees prior to opening. Second, the Franchisee can use the Operations Manuals to train new personnel.
By updating the Operations Manuals, Franchisors can easily communicate new policies and procedures system wide.
Many of our clients have told us about an unanticipated benefit of putting together Franchise Operations Manuals. Focusing on the details of their procedures in order to create their Operations Manuals resulted in many enhancements to their systems. These innovations improved the profitability of company-owned locations as well as franchises.
It can be very helpful to hire a professional technical writer to draft your Franchise Operations Manuals. A person experienced in creating Operations Manuals can help you determine the best way to organize your Operations Manuals and how to go about gathering the necessary information.
Also, because he or she does this type of work regularly, the writer can usually produce the Franchise Operations Manuals more quickly than one of your staff people who is assigned this project on top of his or her other duties.
The next step is to organize your method for marketing your new franchise. You must determine who your best prospects are and how to reach those prospects most efficiently. What marketing materials are needed? When selling a franchise, who is responsible for each step in the process?
In short, properly planning and organizing your franchise program at the outset is time well spent. It will lead to greater short term and long range success.
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So, if you are still asking the “should I franchise my business” question over and over with no clear direction, give us a call at (706) 356-5637, or contact us through our online form. We look forward to helping you take your business to the next level and beyond.