Being a franchiser can be a really smart and progressive way to ensure the growth and future survival of your company. It requires surprisingly little work with the delegation element leaving much of the day to day business to the franchisee, who are likely to be extremely excited at the opportunity to lead the company through the trials of daily existence, themselves thankful at having been spared the treacherous process of navigating the start up phase of the company. The most vital tool when it comes to managing the franchiser-franchisee relationship is the ‘Franchise Manual’. A franchise manual is the franchisee’s ‘bible’ as they pick up the reigns of the business. It’s a complete and thorough document with explanations and instructions regarding all aspects to the franchise, and what makes the brand a success. These documents are often so valuable that there is a huge amount invested into non-disclosure agreements to ensure no operations are listed. So, let’s get into the business of how to write one.
- Write It Well
This slightly obtuse piece of advice isn’t a joke. I’m not referring to the actual details of the content within the manual, I’m referring to the use of language in the document. Written communication of this sort, when there is so much at stake and clarity is absolutely key, can be extremely difficult. Any mistakes in grammar, spelling or syntax can throw the whole thing off the rails. This delicate area will be helped by a few of these sites:
- Understanding Purpose
You have to head into the process of producing your franchise manual with a real sense of justified purpose. You want to know what you are trying to get across to your franchisee ahead of time, since the document will be complex by nature.
- Technical Communication
A franchise manual is a completely unique piece of communication. Normally when people at companies communicate with one another there is always a subtle sense in which they are trying to ingratiate themselves or persuade other parties of something. This is a technical, instructional document that needs to be devoid of anything like this. It’s disciplined and clear.
- The Legal Balance
Franchise manual creation necessarily involves a legal aspect. You have to make sure that each of the chapters of your manual has been combed through by a professional. The flip side of this is that you ought to try and avoid outsourcing the manual creation entirely to some legal company. Partly it will be expensive but mostly it needs to be you, the people with the most thorough understanding of the company, the franchise and the parties involved, who is formulating it, at least initially.
- Involving The Franchisee
It’s a delicate balance but you can show some of the manual to the future franchisee ahead of time, to inform their purchase. “Providing presumptive franchisees with a copy is fine, as long as a non-disclosure agreement has been signed in advance”, explains Paul Howard, business writer at EliteAssignmentHelp and StateOfWriting.
- Developing Content
A franchise manual is the meat of a franchise agreement. The bulk of the responsibility that the manual holds is to be the document that explains guides a franchisee through all of the elements agreed on in the franchise agreement they will sign. So if they agree to do something, the manual shows them how and why.
- Three Stage System
The structuring of a franchise manual will vary depending on the nature of the company. However, a good general approach is three tiered. First tier is the franchise-wide standards of quality. Second tier is the responsibilities that fall on the franchisee and how they can meet them. Final tier is what your franchisor responsibilities are relating to the franchisee.
- Procedural Details
Because the nature of a franchisee is someone who takes on the day to day part of a franchise, it’s important that the manual reflects this. Procedural elements like hiring, training, safety, equipment instructions and more are vital.
- If In Doubt Include It
No franchisee is going to have a problem with too much help. If you’re not sure if it’s necessarily worth including something, just put it in for safety.
A franchise manual is key in the transitional stage of a franchising opportunity. The franchisee, at the very least in the early days, will rely a great deal on the manual for guidance in a host of areas. Don’t skimp on this whole process, or it will bite you later.
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