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How to Onboard New Franchisees

 How to Onboard New Franchisees

So you have awarded a franchise to a new franchisee, awesome! Now what? Getting that franchisee successfully onboarded is a very important part of building your franchisee’s success, says Cordell Riley

Onboarding actually begins during the sales process when you are presenting potential franchisees with the opportunity to buy. Right from the start, you need to convey your culture and your unique value. When you are putting together your sales materials, include links to videos that tell your story. They can be an effective way to convey your brand promise and unique value.

Onboarding franchise owners is critically important

Let start here. Do you have a defined onboarding process for your new franchise owners? If you do, what does it cover and who is responsible for it? Major topic areas of many franchise onboarding processes include site selection, facility selection, equipment ordering, and financing. While you discussed many of those issues before the franchisee was awarded a franchise, it is now time for real action. It is a process that can be best managed if you break it down into separate steps.

First, your home team helps the franchisee plan and tackle some big issues. This is the time to offer the focused advice and assistance that will help ensure your new franchisee makes the best decisions and succeeds. Be sure to assist in areas that include:

* Site selection

* Facility build out/lease

* Equipment

* Financing

* Scheduling training

Second, you provide a great training program to your new owner.Try not to overload your franchisee by trying to teach them everything during initial training, it is not effective. Here are some topics to consider as part of your initial onboarding training:

Pre-training. Have your franchisee go online and take prescribed online training prior to arrival. This helps to cover some of the fundamental items of your system, so that when your franchisee arrives, you can spend time with more of the items that require instructor-led time.

Some competitor visits and shopping prior to arrival
. What do you offer that your competitors don’t? How can your new owner create uniquely valuable experiences for your customers? One of the best ways to introduce this topic is to have your new franchisees visit competitors to see first-hand what they are doing. Once they know, they can discover ways to do better and be more successful.

Your culture and brand. This could be the most important information of all to communicate. What is your history? What are your values, and what do you stand for? What products and services are most successful and best known? What position do you occupy in the marketplace, and how will your new owner benefit from your brand and reputation?

Your business system, requirements and tools. Onboarding is the best opportunity to spell out the importance of doing business according to your business system and procedures. How do they work? Why are they unique and effective?
Your marketing systems. What marketing programs do you have in place to support your franchisees, and how are they used? What signs and signage and displays do you provide, for example, and what do they do?

Your accounting procedures. How will you expect your owner to keep books and financial records? What systems and support will you provide?

Third, you prepare for the grand opening. Your onboarding team should cover these topics with your owner:

A plan for the opening. Be sure to put the details in a comprehensive opening plan. Will your franchise partner provide special signage, advertise the opening in local media, provide special additional staffing? What’s the plan?

Assistance. Will you be sending extra staff or members of your support team to make sure everything goes well during the first few days the franchise is open for business?

Fourth, you explain follow-up and provide ongoing support.Explain the field support your company provides.

What will your field support team do to help franchisees before, during and after the franchise begins operations? Who should your franchisees contact if they have problems or questions? If you provide the right information during onboarding, you will prevent frustrations later on.

Lay plans for the future. Remember that follow-up is key after the grand opening. Stay close to the new franchise. Are they meeting the goals they set in training and in their pre-opening plan? (They did do a pre-opening plan, right?) And are they following the business system?

To summarize

Onboarding is the time to lay the foundation for success. Onboarding affords you the opportunity to provide information that helps your franchise owners get started with the knowledge, resources, attitude and confidence they need to begin building their success from day one with your organization. When they succeed, they succeed – as you well know.


Cordell Riley is Partner and President of Tortal Training, a leading training development company in Charlotte, North Carolina. After his time in college and the military, Cordell launched his career at Driven Brands, the owner of Meineke and Maaco. During his 20 years there, he rose through the ranks with increasing levels of responsibility for Operations and Training. He then founded Tortal Training, in 2000. A recognized training expert with extensive experience in the franchising sectors, Cordell has spent more than 20 years helping thousands of companies achieve outstanding success through training. He is a sought-after keynote speaker who addresses conferences and company seminars nationwide. Follow @TortalTraining.

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