Getting to Know Your Potential Franchisor: Training

Nearly every franchisor claims to offer excellent training programs to franchisees, because training is one of the most important services that a franchisor provides.  Dig under all the marketing-speak with these four questions to help you assess the quality of a franchisor’s training program.

Ask the franchisor:

What was the most important recent improvement or innovation you made to your training program?

In the answer, listen for: when and why the improvement was made.  A good franchisor seeks to continuously improve training programs in response to the changing needs of the franchisees and the marketplace.  If a franchisor is still using the same “classic” training that they’ve been using for the past ten years, beware.

Describe the training that you provided to your franchisees for one of your recent new product or service rollouts.

In the answer, listen for: a multi-pronged approach.  People learn differently.  New product training doesn’t need to be elaborate, but a webinar shouldn’t be the beginning and end of it.  A good training mix for a new product might be a webinar, a written guide and an in-person follow-up.   

Ask current franchisees:

How do you regard the training you receive from the franchisor?

In the answer, listen for: how useful they find the training and their attitude toward the training methods.  The simple fact that a franchisor offers training isn’t enough.  The franchisee should find the training useful and interesting, or else it’s not worth having at all.

How well do you feel the training prepared you to start and run the business?

In the answer, listen for: gaping holes or big surprises.  It’s normal for franchisees to come across a situation not covered in training.  That’s what their franchise business consultant is there to help with.  But if there’s a whole aspect of the business they felt unprepared to deal with (marketing or human resources, for example), that’s a red flag.

These questions are a great start to feeling out potential franchisors, but don’t stop there!  Asking behavioral-type questions of an organization will help you get beyond pre-packaged answers to assess whether the organization’s culture is a good fit with your personality and business style.

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