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9 05, 2019

The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #24 – Franchisee Compliance

By |May 9th, 2019|Podcast, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #24 – Franchisee Compliance

My podner on today’s show is Ms. Angela Angela Coté of Cultivate Advisors, and she is going to visit with us about Franchisee Compliance, or as she likes to call it, franchisee success.

Angela cut her teeth really early on in the world of franchising as the daughter of Max Voisin, founder of M&M Food Market. If you are listening from the U.S., you may not have heard of M&M but if you are from Canada, with about 500 locations in its prime, M&M Food Market is a BIG deal. She worked on both sides as both the franchisor and as a franchisee running three locations of her own.

Angela has been interviewed on shows such as Social Geek Radio, Franchising Rising Podcast, Tutor Doctor Podcast, and Own Up, Grow Up Podcast. She has been written about in multiple publications such as Global Franchise Magazine, Franchise Blast, Canadian Franchise Association, Douglas Magazine, The Franchise Voice Magazine, Franchise Canada, and a few more

.

Time Stamps

Angela Coté Intro 00:00:40
Segment 1 00:02:48
Get to know Angela Coté
Segment 2 00:24:34
Topic Segment – Franchisee Compliance
Segment 3 00:58:56
Quickdraw Questions

TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:

All franchisees should be as concerned about system-wide compliance as much as the franchisor because compliance to the system standards directly protects their investment.

Common reasons for lack of franchisee compliance are:

  • Lack of buy-in
  • Misunderstanding of why system standards exist
  • Franchisor creates an “us vs them” mentality
  • Poorly trained field consultants sometimes lack “soft skills” that are needed to manage the delicate relationship between franchisor and franchisee

How can a franchisor inspire franchisees to WANT to follow the system?

  • Start the “system standards are good for your investment” education early in the relationship – pre-contract.
  • Create and nurture a healthy “franchisees monitoring franchisees” system
  • Regularly connect to the “Why” a franchisee became a franchisee in the first place. Remind them of their goals and how the system standards will help them achieve their personal goals
  • Create easy and open opportunities for franchisees to collaborate with management
  • Create an open and easy mechanism for franchisees to give feedback to the franchisor
  • Utilize a mystery shopper service when it is needed

Angela Angela Coté

angela@cultivateadvisors.com

Cultivate Advisors www.cultivateadvisors.com

Kit Vinson

FranMan Inc

www.franman.net

kit.vinson@franman.net

214-736-3939 x101

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6 03, 2019

The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #23 – Franchising H-Tea-O Part 1

By |March 6th, 2019|Podcast, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #23 – Franchising H-Tea-O Part 1

My Podner in this episode is Justin Howe and he’s the president of a brand-new franchise concept called H-Tea-O. Justin has agreed to let us do a series of episodes as we follow him through the process of franchising his business. This will be the first episode of that series. This interview is one of the best ones I have done so far, and I am really excited about it.

Time Stamps

Justin Howe Intro 00:00:40
Segment 1 00:02:20
Get to know Justin Howe
Segment 2 00:26:05
Topic Segment – Franchising H-Tea-O Part 1
Segment 3 01:10:30
Quickdraw Questions

TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:

• Texas Tea – the birth of the concept
• Franchising H-Tea-O
• Proving the concept
• Supply chain challenges
• Trademark challenges
• Creating a solid infrastructure
• Putting together the perfect team
• Becoming a franchisee in order to be the best franchisor
• No Item 19 challenge
• Real estate is one of the most important elements
• Establishing a solid franchisee training program

Justin Howe
H-Tea-O
justin@jhowecapital.com

Kit Vinson
FranMan Inc
www.franman.net
kit.vinson@franman.net
214-736-3939 x101

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19 02, 2019

The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #22 – Franchise Marketing Fund

By |February 19th, 2019|Podcast, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #22 – Franchise Marketing Fund

My Podner in this episode is Ms. Drue Townsend and she’s going to share with us A LOT of what she has learned from managing the MARKETING FUND at FASTSIGNS International. The words “Marketing Fund” can create anxiety in many people and Ms. Drue will demystify the concept and teach you exactly what you need to know to make the most of your company’s marketing fund. Rob Vinson from Vinson Franchise Law joins the conversation to help us with some of the legal issues that are related to the Franchise Marketing Fund.

Time Stamps

Drue Townsend Intro 00:00:40
Segment 1 00:02:23
Get to know Drue Townsend
Segment 2 00:13:45
Topic Segment – Franchise Marketing Fund
Segment 3 00:59:10
Quickdraw Questions

TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE:

What Is A Marketing Ad Fund?

  • It is a collection of money paid by franchisees and managed by the franchisor, to enact defined marketing and advertising initiatives and bring value to the brand and franchisees.
  • It is in addition to any Royalties paid by the franchisee to the franchisor.
  • It is usually a percentage of gross sales (but could be a flat fee)

Marketing Fund By Laws:
There should be written By-Laws that outline how the fund can be used (what types of initiatives; pro-rata vs. major markets vs. national only), who makes decisions about it (as an example, highest ranking Marketing Person and CEO with Franchisee Ad Council input), who can sign contracts (often just the CEO and Marketing Person), where the money is kept (recommendation is that it is held in a different financial account with its own Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet), who is providing the fiscal oversight and ensuring proper collection and use of the fund.

Sample Acceptable Uses of the fund

  • Build and maintain the brand and location’s central website
  • Create television ads
  • Run paid social media ads
  • Join a vertical industry association and exhibit at their trade show
  • Agency fees or marketing team member salaries/benefits
  • Marketing research projects

Unacceptable Uses

  • Franchise Development advertising
  • Legal fees for the new corporate office lease negotiation
  • Create training and operations manuals about safety
  • Pay for a convention cocktail party
  • Collect just to rebate back to franchisees who do X and Y

How to Justify an Ad Fund to a Franchisee

  • Use the dollars to protect and promotes the brand, which protects your investment today and should add value to your asset when you go to sell one day
  • It builds brand awareness and brand consistency when marketing and advertising has the same messaging strategy and look/feel; easier to control and do when centralized
  • Doing things “on your behalf”; things that you – or other franchisees – can’t, won’t or shouldn’t do on your own.
  • Looking for economies of scale (having a customer satisfaction survey platform that all franchisees can be part of through the Ad Fund vs. having each one find their own; having one website managed and hosted by corporate; buying national cable television vs. having 30 franchisees by spot cable), things that require compliance (email marketing platform); , would reach beyond one’s area and impact other franchisees positively or negatively (joining a national association and advertising on their homepage), etc.

The Importance of Franchisee Involvement in the Marketing Fund

  • Create a Marketing Ad Council (ours is called the National Advertising Council) and it has 6 elected Board Members representing the 650 locations in the US and Canada. Scale the number with growth; we started out with 3 and don’t have plans to increase beyond 6 anytime soon. Too many prohibits decision making.
  • The National Advertising Council – or whoever works with the corporate team on Ad Fund projects – can be different than the Franchise Advisory Council, or one group of franchisees can provide guidance to the corporate team on both types of topics.
  • You can have officers for the Ad Council, but because franchisees have their own businesses to run, we don’t have franchisees fill these roles and therefore then have to do the meeting minutes, organize administrative board events, etc.

What Should You Start Spending Money on Today From an Ad Fund

  • Digital marketing
  • A corporately managed website with micro-sites/location pages on it
  • Google My Business page management
  • Directory Listings management (so all information about a location gets propagated accurately and updated across the web)
  • Brand social media sites (and organic content/ads on them)
  • Creation of some brand materials (depending on your product/industry and how you go to market; could be an automated platform or just have the assets/materials available
  • Videos
  • Point of Purchase materials
  • Print materials (brochures)
  • Digital Asset Management software

Common Pitfalls with a Marketing Funds

  • Don’t cap your Ad Fund fees; it will make future high-volume franchisees happy but it will keep your Ad Fund from growing (and you will have more locations to help)
  • Try not to require yourself to spend pro-rata. It is very hard to do well and sometimes money needs to be spent in an area of the country or on something that doesn’t benefit all equally. Ex: a sponsorship that covers only 15 cities, but has regional television and a big online effort; a state listing on a website where 50% of your locations do business.
  • Don’t collect money only to give it back through subsidies or rebates or matching. A lot of admin work, disagreements about what does and doesn’t qualify, etc.

Franchise Marketing Fund Tips

  • Start an Ad Fund from the beginning (as you establish your brand/franchise). If you don’t have one, start one now with future agreements. Consult with your accountant and attorney to determine if it should be set up as a separate entity (and what kind), what the tax implications will be, if it is subject to any accounting regulations (ASC 606 deals with revenue recognition).
  • If corporate can match any funds, it is a great way to soften the process of starting an Ad Fund
  • Collect Ad Fund fees the same way that you collect Royalties (ex: EFT on the 5th of the month). If you don’t pay your Ad Fund fees, you are subject to the same compliance issues and penalties as you have if you don’t your Royalties on time/ever
  • Encourage franchisees to spend money locally on things that make sense in their market – local pay-per-click, display ads on local websites, radio, joining associations, sponsoring events, etc. Don’t fund discounts in national promotions either (ex: $1 off sandwich promotion should be absorbed by the franchisee; not paid by the Ad Fund).
  • Determine if king kong seo, freelance help or an in-house marketing team is best for your business. There are pros and cons for each, and in the long term, the best result is probably a mix of all three, but emerging businesses with small or no Ad Funds have to really stretch dollars.
  • Have governance and be transparent with your franchisees. Review financials each month and have annual statements audited. Share categories of spending at big meetings. Have a franchisee-elected Board of Directors that works with the corporate team to be a sounding board, communicator, tester, etc.
  • Have protections. Require a small percentage of the funds to not be budgeted – to be held out of the budgeting process – in case sales decline or the Ad Fund is owed money by the franchisees. It’s easier not to budget for something than to have to cancel programs later. As your system grows and your Ad Fund grows, have provisions in your guidance documents that allow you to reduce that percentage. (We don’t, and our By Laws require a 5% hold back or carryover, which is now hundreds of thousands of dollars a year).
  • Make your agreements broadly specific. Sounds like an oxymoron but give the brand room to expand what the Ad Fund can cover, but don’t make it too open-ended.

How to Set Up a Franchise Marketing Fund

  • Contact a franchise attorney and ask them for best practices in your industry, business and the way you market. See if they have sample drafts or if they can help you create an Ad Fund plan, By-Laws, content to include in your Franchise Disclosure Document and content to include in your Franchise Agreement.
  • Determine and set up your collection amount, audit and governance processes, etc.
  • Create a long range marketing plan – 3 to 5 years – based on estimated collected funds, and what those funds could buy. Prioritize the spending and share the big picture plan with franchisees and future franchise candidates so they know there is a plan, but clarify that this is based on assumed growth and that the plan is not contractually guaranteed.

Drue Townsend
FASTSIGNS International
drue.townsend@fastsigns.com
214-346-5797

Rob Vinson
Vinson Franchise Law
www.franchiselaw.net
rob@franchiselaw.net
775-832-5577

Kit Vinson
FranMan Inc
www.franman.net
kit.vinson@franman.net
214-736-3939 x101

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3 12, 2018

The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #21 – Franchisee Onboarding and Training

By |December 3rd, 2018|Podcast, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #21 – Franchisee Onboarding and Training

My Podner in this episode is Robert Bilotti and he’s going to talk to us about franchisee onboarding and training.  We will dive deep into “training theory” and then wrap it all up with a step-by-step discussion on how a new franchisor needs to set up a training program for franchisees.

Time Stamps

Rob Bilotti Intro 00:00:40
Segment 1 00:04:30
Get to know Rob Bilotti
Segment 2 00:18:55
Topic Segment – Franchisee Onboarding and Training
Segment 3 01:14:03
Quickdraw Questions

Topics discussed in this episode:

The difference between a franchise system and a collection of mom and pops is “Training”

What is the difference between onboarding and training?

When do I need to hire a full-time trainer?

What to train versus how to train

Can a start-up franchisor use the operations manual as the training program at first?

Your first franchisees will be some of the most important validators of the concept, and if you skimp on training up front, it will come back to bite you.

Your most important franchisee is the first one after the former employee, friends, and family franchisees. That is the one that will really be the proof of concept. Be sure that you have a solid training program BEFORE that franchisee starts.

Invest in a learning management system (LMS) early

What is an LMS?

How does training change when you are in growth mode?

How to select an LMS right for your system

Moodle is a free, open source LMS

Look for a user-friendly system (from the administrative perspective) and a nimble system. Learn this by doing lots of demos and talking to other companies that use an LMS. Google is a great resource.

LMS support is probably one of the most important features. Usually, the more you pay, the more support you get.

What are the different modes of training (modality)?

  • In person Instructor Led
  • Virtual Instructor Led
  • Virtual Learning
  • Videos
  • Print
  • Audio
  • Knowledge Sharing (wiki learning)

If you set up a mentoring program to help train new franchisees, be sure to invest in a training program for the mentors so they can be trained in how to train.

There is a difference between lecturing and facilitation when it comes to training.

There is not one modality that is best for everybody. There is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to training.

Survey your franchisees, and do it often, how you are doing with training. Don’t just capture “smile sheets”, rather actionable information. This should happen every 3 to 6 months.

You CAN measure return on investment in training, especially in a franchise system.

Use gust satisfaction surveys to draw training topics.

What are the steps that a start-up franchisor needs to follow to develop a training program?

Step1:

Document – document – document. What makes your business a success.

Step 2:

What can you expand on from that? Create actionable content from that documentation? This is the “what”.

Step 3:

Determine how you will take that information and disseminate it to the people who need it? This would be the franchisee and their employees. This is the “how”.

Step 4:

Determine how you will support your franchisees in their training efforts to their employees.

Step 5:

Establish a mechanism for measuring the results of the training.

Allow plenty of time to develop your training program. If you start developing your training program after you have signed your first franchisee then you have waited far too long.

Rob Bilotti
www.novitatraining.com
info@novitatraining.com

Kit Vinson
FranMan Inc.
www.franman.net
kit.vinson@franman.net
214-736-3939 x1

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16 10, 2018

The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #20 – Working with Franchise Broker Consultants

By |October 16th, 2018|Podcast, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #20 – Working with Franchise Broker Consultants

My Podner in this episode is Ms. Lori Kiser and she’s going to talk to us about how to best utilize a franchise broker consultant company. Everybody wants to know how to find the path to granting more franchises, and in this episode we definitely talk a lot about that. We will discuss what is a franchise broker consultant, how to make your business ready to utilize their services, and how to effectively work with them once you have hired them.

Time Stamps

Lori Kiser Intro 00:00:40
Segment 1 00:04:30
Get to know Lori Kiser
Segment 2 00:24:19
Topic Segment – How to work with Franchise Broker Consultants
Segment 3 00:57:15
Quickdraw Questions plus the first time ever Lyrics Quiz

Topics discussed in this episode:

Franchise Broker Consultants are not business consultants in the traditional sense of the word. They specialize in producing qualified, vetted leads for franchisors.

A franchise broker consultant is not part of the sales team of the franchisor. They will not take the prospect through the franchisor’s sales process, though they will stay involved as the candidate passes through the process.

In order to be successful with a franchise broker consultant, a franchisor must have the following already in place and running within their concept:

  • An in-house franchise development staff (sales team)
  • A well-defined sales process
  • The ability to go beyond the generic 6-step sales process, and know how to learn and understand the prospects dreams, desires, and business goals
  • Unit economics that are positive and consistent
  • A leadership team with a solid understanding of franchising

A typical start-up franchisor is usually not a good candidate for a franchise broker consultant group because the broker consultant is paid based on successfully bringing a prospect that eventually signs a contract with the franchisor. Because start-up franchisors typically don’t have the infrastructure in place to handle the lead volume, broker consultant groups are less likely to accept them as a client.

How to take your startup system and get it ready to be accepted by a broker consultant group:

  1. Create a specific landing site for franchisees. This will demonstrate to the broker consultant group that you are knowledgeable and organized, and that you have a place to start a new prospect so that they don’t fall between the cracks once the prospect is delivered to the franchisor.
  2. Create a sales process that works for your team and track the performance of the sales process and the development team. If you can’t prove that you can successfully close a prospective franchisee then a broker consultant group is not very likely to burn good qualified and vetted leads with your system.
  3. Be able to show GREAT unit economics – meaning, be able to show that the franchisees are making money.
  4. Demonstrate that all of the existing franchisees will validate well. Know that all of the franchisees are happy and that they will sell that happy story to a prospect who makes the validation calls.
  5. Demonstrate that the franchise system has all (most) of the amateur mistakes out of the way so that the franchise broker group’s brand won’t be tarnished by referring leads to the franchisor client.
  6. Have an FDD that is registered in al of the required states so that the franchise broker consultant will not be limited by geography. Similarly, be ready to offer and close franchise deals nationwide, including developing a nationwide support group to service the new franchisees.
  7. Demonstrate that your system can handle the stresses of sales volume, such as being able to build out a location for multiple new franchisees while simultaneously walking a second set of prospective franchisees through the sales process, AND manage all existing franchisees at the same time. This requires a team that is in place and seasoned.

A typical franchisor broker consultant will sift through over 100 candidates before they find one that is worthy of passing on to the franchisor clients.

The Franchise Rule does apply to a franchise broker consultant, although the broker consultant shouldn’t be doing any selling of the specific system.

Once a franchisor is able to join forces with a franchise broker consultant group, what is the best way to manage that relationship?

  • Think of the broker consultant as a talent scout, scouting players for your team
  • The franchise broker consultant will act more like a brand ambassador to the candidate.
  • Since the franchise broker consultant already an established relationship with the candidate, the franchisor should trust and utilize the candidate’s information from the broker consultant when the franchisor is brought into the relationship.
  • Be open to adapting to the processes, nomenclature, personality, and style of the franchise broker consultant group, as well as to the type of candidate that they typically generate
  • There are different types of consultant groups as well as different types of consultants within each of the groups. You will likely only work with a handful of consultants within a consultant group. That is normal.
  • The best franchise broker consultants are not as enticed by your commission dollars as they are developing their referral network. These consultants rely heavily on referrals from happy candidates who eventually convert to franchisees. While it is important to pay consultants a fee that is competitive, understand that they need to like you and believe that your system is successful before they burn good leads on your system.

Lori Kiser
www.lorikiser.com
lori@lorikiser.com

Kit Vinson
FranMan Inc.
www.franman.net
kit.vinson@franman.net
214-736-3939 x1

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12 09, 2018

The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #19 – Managing Your Franchise Agreements with the End in Mind

By |September 12th, 2018|Podcast, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #19 – Managing Your Franchise Agreements with the End in Mind

 My Podner on this episode is Tom Spadea. Tom and I will discuss the benefits of properly managing the FDD and the Franchise Agreement, from the beginning, making sure to keep the end in mind. The “end” he speaks of is a possible acquisition by an investment company. What will they expect to see when they look at your franchisees contracts in your files?

Time Stamp
Tom Spadea Intro                      00:00:40
Segment 1                                00:03:22
Get to know Tom Spadea
Segment 2                                00:24:40
Topic Segment – Managing Your Franchise Agreements with the End in Mind
Bonus Segment                       00:57:15
Managing Franchisee Growth
Segment 3                               01:02:50
Quickdraw Questions

Topics discussed in this episode:
Where do most franchisors get it wrong? Many franchisors and franchise attorneys focus mostly on the substantive issues of the and forget about procedural issues related to the process – managing latent defects

  • Item 23 receipt page not being properly executed and filed
  • Guarantees not properly executed
  • Individual versus LLC signing FA/lease

You can have the best FDD and franchise agreement in the world, but if you don’t manage the process properly, it can cost you a lot of money in the short term with an unenforceable contract, and in the long run, upon exit.
It’s important to understand who the real audience of the Franchise Agreement is. It is the franchisee, but it is also a prospective private equity investment firm who may want to purchase your system in the future.

What is the process?
Step 1: Make sure that the franchise agreement is up-to-date
Step 2: Geographical Analysis – Ensure that the franchisor is registered in every registration state where the concept will be offered. That includes where the prospect is currently located as well as where they want to open a location. Both states must be registered if required by that state. Deliver the correct FDD for the state.
Step 3: Ensure that 14 days pass between delivery and signing of the Franchise Agreement, not including delivery day and signing day
Step 4: Spend the time to ensure that names are all spelled correctly, along with middle intials. Check the address, LLC name etc
Step 5: Prepare a custom franchise agreement based on the specific agreements made between franchisor and franchisee – do not use the sample franchise agreement that is included in the FDD. Deliver the document to all required recipients and ensure proper signatures
Step 6: Ensure that the lease includes all of the required language as per the franchise agreement

There are many different software packages that can help you with each aspect of the transaction, but Spadea Law has the platform that hits every element. Compliance Map helps franchisors ensure that they are only offering the franchise in the proper states. The link to the Compliance Map software demonstration is below:

https://vimeo.com/260105446

If you haven’t managed the steps of the process well, then it is not too late. Review your documents and get the documents in line now, before you are approached by an investor.

Books:

Exponential Organizations
By by Salim Ismail and Michael S. Malone

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
By Stephen Covey

The E-Myth
By Michael Gerber

Khan
Conn Iggulden

Podcasts:
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Tom Spadea
www.spadealaw.com
610-662-0192 (cell)

Kit Vinson
FranMan Inc.
www.franman.net
214-736-3939 x1

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22 08, 2018

The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #18 – Franchise Development 101 (Sales)

By |August 22nd, 2018|Podcast, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Franchise Manual Podcast – Episode #18 – Franchise Development 101 (Sales)

My Podner in this episode is Mike Pollock and he’s going to give us tips on how to build a franchise development system for your franchise. But it was more than just that because we also talked about how to take a warm lead through the process to close the deal.

Time Stamp
Mike Pollock Intro                              00:00:40

Segment 1                                          00:03:15
Get to know Get to know Mike

Segment 2                                          00:22:10
Topic Segment – Franchise Development 101 (Sales)

Segment 3                                          01:18:40
Quickdraw Questions

Topics discussed in this episode:

How to set up an efficient process for franchise development

  • Brand Overview Presentation (45 minutes to 1 hour long)
  • Develop a solid franchise prospect application that focuses on:
    • Background
    • Financial situation
  • Have the Unit Economics Call
    • FDD introduction call (15 minutes)
    • Unit Economics (45 minutes)
    • Receive signed Item 23 (Proof of receipt of FDD)
    • Password
    • Validation instructions
  •  Validation Debriefing Call
  • Discovery Day
    • Brand Overview Review
    • Meet the Team
    • Lunch and dinner are the best opportunity to visit with prospects
    • Field Visits
  • Voting Process

It is best to have multiple prospects attend a discovery day (between 4 and 5)

If you are going to hire a company such as FranLift to manage the franchise development process, then it is best to get them involved earlier rather than later.

Have a marketing budget set aside in advance. It typically costs between 8K and 15K to bring 1 franchisee in the door.

Mike Pollock
FranLift Franchise Experts
mikep@franlift.com
214-551-0261

Kit Vinson
FranMan Inc. (Franchise Manuals)
Kit.vinson@franman.net
214-736-3939 x1

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7 10, 2015

Unusual Manual Topics

By |October 7th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Unusual Manual Topics

I started to attempt to create some “click bait” and call this, “Top Ten Crazy Things We’ve Seen in Manuals and You Won’t Believe Number Ten”, but I want to temper that a bit and talk about some of the more unusual topics we’ve had to address and the reasoning behind them.

If you’ve read any FDDs or looked at the sample manual outline of our site, you’re familiar with the generic topics that most manuals contain.  Since we custom build each manual, we tend to stray from the standard topics and over the past ten years have covered some very unusual subjects.

  • The first category that tends to come up, are topics dealing with the unpredictability of customers. I’ve written sections covering dealing with drunk customers in the drive-through, angry customers wanting a manager, lost children and ruined clothing from an employee accident.  How your franchisees handle these situations says a lot about your business and brand.
  • Second is the unpredictability of franchisees. There are many franchisees looking for a way to express their individuality and we have covered some wild ones. I’ve seen everything from selling totally unrelated products, creating the rogue Twitter account, sponsoring the local topless girl of the year pageant, to giving away a free shotgun with a purchase. It’s important to set limits and create guideline for what you allow and don’t allow.  What seems like common sense to you might not be for everyone.
  • Finally, is the unpredictability of employees. Your brand is one of your most valuable assets, both to you and your franchisees.  When one of you franchisees’ employees shows up at your yogurt store with the full face tattoo and a “screw the government” t-shirt, unless your franchisee knows how to handle it, you’ve got problems.

I could swap war stories all day long and will be happy to in the comments, but the main point I want to stress is that while you can take a generic outline or template and create a franchise operations manual, I encourage you to set down with a manual writer and really think about where you might have inadequate document structure, inadequate instructions, or outright omissions. Then,  create a manual that is unique to your company and your company’s System Standards.  It is too easy to rush out a manual and then find you have “no teeth” when a franchisee starts doing something damaging to your brand.

29 07, 2015

Creating a Corporate Style Guide

By |July 29th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Creating a Corporate Style Guide

When we delve into the marketing section of a manual, something that often seems to have received little attention prior to our visit is the corporate style guide.  A style guide is a document that we often include in the operations manual, but that may also be a separate document, that outlines the do’s and don’ts of any marketing material or document that is created for outside consumption.

A few things to consider include:

  • Logo and colors. What are the PMS colors?  Is there a certain amount of space I need to leave around the logo?  What do I use for black and white printing?  Can I edit the logo or remove elements to make it fit better?  Can I squeeze it when I need it to fit tighter spaces?
  • Logo placement. Where does the logo go on letterhead, business cards and vehicles?  Can I make pens or stickers and is there a placement or format promotional materials?
  • Trademark names. What trademark names can I use and how do I identify that they are trademarks? Can I put these on my business card, card or bumper sticker?  Where can I use the trademarked phrases?
  • Font sizes, colors and types. What is the official font, size and color? What do we use for headings? Is there a specific footer or header format?

Many companies may provide franchisees pre-approved business card templates and vehicle wrap templates.  In some cases, we see companies that provide all marketing collateral to franchisees so they don’t have to consider a corporate style.  But even if you provide all marketing and PR material for your franchisees, it’s important to have a style guide for your corporate office and marketing department.  I always tell clients that if you removed the logo from your marketing piece, it should still look like it came from your company.  Standardizing the look and various elements will go a long way of achieving that goal and make sure that all of your customer communications remain consistent.

If you have questions or need help developing a corporate style guide, give us a call.

 

30 06, 2015

The Functions of a Franchise Operations Manual

By |June 30th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Functions of a Franchise Operations Manual

Before we begin working with a new client at FranMan, I think it’s a great exercise to review the functions of a Franchise Operations Manual with everybody at the table. In this document I’ll review the main functions of a Franchise Operations Manual because it is important that everybody who contributes to a manual project be singing from the same sheet of music. Many end users believe that the Franchise Operating Manual is a waste of effort because they are only looking at it from their perspective.  A Franchise Operating Manual serves four main purposes.

First, the Franchise Operations Manual is the authority document of the franchise System Standards. The System Standards are the standard procedures that a franchisor requires of all franchisees in order to duplicate the customer experience in every location. The customer experience is the driving force behind profitability. If you can duplicate a favorable customer experience, then you may have a business that you can franchise. If you have a well prepared Franchise Agreement, it should refer to the Franchise Operations Manual as the System Standard. This way, as your system grows and your System Standards change, you only have to update the manual instead of updating the Franchise Agreement.

Second, the Franchise Operations Manual is the most effective tool for protecting your Brand. A company’s Brand is one of its most valuable assets. The Brand is also the asset that is at most risk when a company decides to franchise. When you franchise a concept, you are putting your Brand in the hands of other people, all of whom likely have different ideas about the best direction for the company. A properly prepared Franchise Operations Manual, with well-defined and organized System Standards, will be the only tool you have to manage the Brand and control the franchisees when they try to act on their vision for what is best for your Brand.

Third, the Franchise Operations Manual will likely be the principal tool for training new franchisees. It is the “Your Company for Dummies” book. You have to assume that most of your franchisees will not have experience in your industry. They may not have any business experience at all. It is very common for a retired schoolteacher or a retired military person to invest in a franchise. This is not to suggest that school teachers or military personnel don’t have any business savvy, it is only to say that they were not formally trained in business and have not practiced it during their career. Your manual needs to be a document that not only trains them on your system of providing a favorable customer experience, but also one that brings them up to speed on how to manage a business.

Fourth, a well prepared documentation of the procedures that has helped make your company a success will help you sell your concept to potential franchisees. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential franchisee. If you received a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) that showed you that the company had a 50 page document describing all of its operating procedures, you might be a little concerned that this company doesn’t have the support structure in place to help you achieve success. You will also take your Franchise Operations Manual with you when you meet with potential franchisees for the first time. In that meeting, you will attempt to sell the concept to the prospect. Like all good sales people, you will likely have a few sales tools to assist you. You will probably present a PowerPoint presentation of the concept, you will review the company’s performance in the FDD, and you will present the Franchise Operations Manual as your proof that you have a well documents system for success.

When everybody can synchronize their thinking related to the Franchise Operations Manual, then the end result will be a more thorough, relevant document for all.