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Jun, 10 2011

A CRITICAL OPERATING TOOL

ONE of the main reasons why people acquire a franchise is to leverage on the capabilities of an already proven system. Franchise Operations Manual is a critical operating tool needed to ensure operational uniformity of a franchise network during the devel

ONE of the main reasons why people acquire a franchise is to leverage on the capabilities of an already proven system. Franchise Operations Manual is a critical operating tool needed to ensure operational uniformity of a franchise network during the developmental and expansion stage. A Franchise Operations Manual has important information for the franchisee such as business formation, standard operating protocols, franchisee and franchisor obligations, administration, marketing, technology, business and financial planning, customer relationship management, training, business forms and checklists, etc.

There are many advantages of having a comprehensive, detailed and well-written set of operating procedures for your franchise business. Some are listed below:

= The manual is an extension of a franchise agreement, providing detailed policies and standard operating procedures, which can be modified anytime, as needed, without tweaking the agreement.

= It works as a shield, requiring all franchisees to conform to the operating protocols.

= It is a testimony for all the potential franchisees, laying down the tools available to them and the formats in which a franchisee can use them.

= It works as an effective training tool that encourages uniformity and quality throughout the franchise network.

= It helps in saving both the franchisor and franchisee's valuable time and money.

= It can help improving a company's system by forcing the franchisor to scrutinise and modify the way it currently operates.

Neglecting the Franchise Operations Manual can cause huge loss to the franchise business. In most cases, franchisees get the Operations Manual and they keep it aside without reading and putting it into practice. It is the franchisor's responsibility to ensure that the franchisee reads and implements it. Franchisee pre-opening training sessions should cover proper execution of operating procedures', as mentioned in the Franchise Operations Manual. It will make it easy for the franchisee to refer to the manual when he has a question in mind, before calling the franchisor.

The franchisor should always encourage franchisees to refer to the operations manual by ensuring that the franchise support team members refer them back. The franchisee support team members should call back to the franchisee to ensure that the manual answered the question. Eventually, franchisee will get into the habit of checking the manual before he/she calls for assistance.

Franchisors need to construct and present quality standard operating procedures and franchisee training material. The Franchise Operations Manual and franchise training programmes should focus on the most important and critical components of franchise operating procedures.

Ecosystem of franchise operations manual

Writing a good Franchise Operations Manual can be a challenging task. The franchisor may be the only one who truly understands his/her business but it does not necessary follow that he/she would be the best manual writer also. To build detailed operating guidelines, it is always recommended to recruit a franchise consulting company or a franchise consultant. The franchisor can pass on his/her practical knowledge through questionnaires, existing documents and demonstrations to the franchise consultant, who would then merge the same with his profound understanding of franchising and develop an interactive and detailed operations manual.

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