Operations Manuals

Stephen S. Raines
President, National Franchise Associates
Atlanta-based Franchise Consultants

(Continued from previous blog)

In my over three decades of experience as a franchise consultant, I am often asked “What makes one company a successful franchising program while another fails?

Rarely is there a single reason for a successful franchising program versus a failure.  Here, I will examine some of the many factors that can help a Franchisor put together a successful franchising program.

In my last issue, I addressed in detail the importance of careful franchise planning, in particular determining each aspect of the relationship between the Franchisor and Franchisee, such as mutual responsibilities, communication, payments and support, among others.

In addition to proper franchise planning, at National Franchise Associates, as franchise consultants we believe it is also vital to document each detail in opening and operating the franchise.  These particulars are typically spelled out in the Franchisor’s Operations Manuals.

Well crafted Operations Manuals are vitally  important for a number of reasons:

  1. Operations Manuals provide a written guide for helping the Franchisee launch the business
  2. Operations Manuals are an invaluable tool for on-going operational excellence
  3. Operations Manuals ensure the Franchisee has been given all of the necessary information
  4. Operations Manuals act as enforcement documents for quality control and compliance with Franchisor standards and procedures
  5. Operations Manuals serve as a step-by-step training guide while the Franchisor is performing pre-opening training for  Franchisee personnel
  6. Operations Manuals are used by the Franchisee to train new hires after the business is up and running
  7. Operations Manuals are an excellent tool for updating information provided to Franchisees
  8. An unexpected benefit of Operations Manuals — focusing on operations can help enhance procedures system-wide, improving the bottom line at company-owned locations

It is often advantageous to bring in an experienced technical writer to draft a franchise company’s Operations Manuals.  This professional can streamline the process and provide significant help in determining the proper structure, format and contents for the Operations Manuals.  Also, they can usually produce the Operations Manuals more quickly.

In addition to Operations Manuals, careful franchise planning must be put into sales and marketing programs for the new franchise company.  How are prospective Franchisees to be reached?  How will inquiries be handled?  What marketing materials are needed?  Who is responsible for each step in the franchise sales process?  When a new franchise is sold, what steps will be taken next to cement the relationship?

Taking the time to put together a well-structured franchise program leads to greater success, both over the short term and the long term.