How to Compile a Franchise Manual
When you grant a franchise the franchisee is buying into the know how, capabilities and methodology of your business. In turn, from your prospective as franchisor, the manual brings consistency to the franchise network by protecting your successful business formula through standardisation.
Compilation of the manual as both operational guide and well written systemisation of the business is not a simple task. You need to devote considerable time to ensure you have a fully comprehensive manual setting out administrative details, your business processes, how the business should be presented, how the product or service is sold, how the business is fronted, reporting procedures from franchisee to franchisor, franchise support from franchisor to franchisee.
Here are some examples of the content of an operations manual:
- order process including standard order documentation
- operation of machinery/equipment
- staff training
- financial records
- payment: credit/debit card policy etc
- pricing policy
- logo use/details
- maintenance and appearance of vehicles
- advertising and PR
- marketing fund information (see Step 4 of this franchising guide)
- layout of premises/shop: appearance, creating the right ambiance
- staff selection
- staff training
- dealing with complaints
- detail of the structure of your business in particular, head office contact information and process for dealing with franchisee enquiries
- opening hours
- details of suppliers
- audit process (checks carried out by you from time to time to ensure a franchisee is operating the franchise correctly).
It will be your judgement as to how to compile the manual and how long it should be but make sure it is easy to read, that cross references work, that it is indexed (and/or has a detailed list of contents) and is easy to update. Bring in the ethos of your business: the exciting or different or professional part that makes it tick. Copyright and date each page: by dating you help to protect copyright and keep track of revisions which you can check are up to date when the franchisee business is audited.
It is vital that the contents of the manual are kept strictly confidential between you and a franchisee and not disclosed to any prospective franchisee until appropriate legal documentation is in place.
A successful, happy franchisee aided by a continually updated informative operations manual will be more likely to recommend the franchise to new prospective franchisees. It is also your reference point when franchisees are unsuccessful because they are not following the procedures tried and tested by you and painstakingly set in detail by you: it is the book, the word, the bible and to succeed the franchisee must at the very least read the book, follow the word and study the bible.
If you would like to receive advice on any of the topics set out in the 10 Steps if Thinking of Franchising Your Business Guide, or any other aspect of franchising, then please do call to speak to a franchise solicitor: we are happy to give initial advice without charge or obligation.