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How to Onboard New Franchisees

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Your franchisee’s operations contribute to the health of your brand identity and overall franchise network. If a franchisee is operating successfully, this can reflect positively on your brand. The reverse is also true. Franchisees who are improperly prepared or have values that misalign with your brand can have a negative impact. Providing an effective franchisee induction program is an effective way of ensuring success and mitigating this risk. This article will explain how franchisors can onboard and integrate new franchisees into their franchise networks. 

1. Develop a Plan

Before you can deliver an effective onboarding program, you must plan how it will work. Aspects you should plan include: 

  • the initial training program; 
  • provisions for early and ongoing mentorship; and
  • mechanisms for support and two-way communication. 

Think about how you can best share your knowledge with new franchisees and help them learn how they should operate. Also, consider how you can teach them about your brand’s core values. 

2. Provide a Comprehensive Training Package

To successfully onboard a new franchisee into your network, you must provide a comprehensive training package. The training should equip franchisees to carry out their new roles. Aspects this training should cover include:

  • information about your brand and its values; 
  • how the franchisee will operate their business; 
  • training in specific operational processes; 
  • your expectations and brand standards; and 
  • how your relationship will work. 

You will also cover many of these points in the franchise agreement and franchise operations manual, two essential documents you will provide to prospective franchisees. They will be familiar with these documents by the time you onboard them. However, effective onboarding involves more than a contract and a manual. Your training package should:

  • reinforce key aspects; 
  • teach franchisees the necessary skills; and 
  • show them how to implement their knowledge into practice.

The training should prepare new franchisees to operate their businesses. As a franchisor, you must also provide ongoing support for franchisees in addition to the initial training package. Your support should keep your franchisees up-to-date with changes within the franchise business and allow them to ask for assistance. Support may also include further training. 

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3. Help Them Understand Your Brand Values and Culture 

Training a franchisee to work effectively is one task, but ensuring their operations align with your brand’s values is another. Ensure franchisees understand your business’ core values and culture. This way, your franchise network can operate more cohesively and maintain your brand identity. 

During training, ensure that new franchisees understand the ‘why’ behind your brand. Why do your products and services exist, and why does your brand operate as it does? Franchisees who run their businesses too differently from others can affect customer perceptions and harm your overall brand. 

4. Actively Work With Franchisees

It is a franchisor’s responsibility to train and support franchisees. Some franchisors outsource this work or get their employees to do it instead. However, you should actively work alongside new franchisees while they settle into their roles. Establish a strong working relationship and prime the relationship for success with open and transparent communication. 

Working directly with new franchisees also ensures they can ask you questions and thoroughly understand what you expect them to do.

If you cannot dedicate time to actively working alongside new franchisees, consider appointing a mentor who will have direct contact with franchisees. An existing franchisee could act as a mentor. They could actively help the new franchisee within the first few weeks. Beyond this, they could be a point of contact for further support and guidance. 

5. Establish Open Two-Way Communication Channels

Franchisees can become demoralised if they feel unsupported. Therefore, you need to have open two-way communication channels with a franchisee. Such communication is crucial throughout the onboarding process and for the duration of the franchise agreement. 

Communication can also involve site visits so you can monitor the franchisee’s operations. When doing this, remember that there is a careful balance between being supportive and overbearing. A franchisee’s business is a separate legal and financial entity from your own. You should establish a relationship where you can help them flourish in their roles without them feeling stifled.

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Key Takeaways

Effective franchisee onboarding can help you ensure long-term franchising success. Before successfully onboarding new franchisees, you need to develop a plan. Set out exactly how you will integrate a new franchisee into your network. This includes developing a training program and establishing how to best communicate with them. 

If you need legal assistance franchising your business or integrating new franchisees into your network, our experienced franchise lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0808 196 8584 or visit our membership page.

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