Running a successful franchise organization is primarily about the consistent and high-quality execution of a business model across all franchise units. This is why a system of operation that has been proven and well documented can be the most valuable asset a Franchisor can provide to a Franchisee. And the most effective way to transfer that asset is via a professionally written Operations Manual.
A franchise Operations Manual should include everything a Franchisee needs to know in order to successfully operate their business. Put simply, it is a collection of information and guidance on procedures, systems and checklists that clearly spell out how to run the business according to the operational and brand guidelines of the Franchisor.
A comprehensive Operations Manual that is organized and user-friendly can also be a strong selling point for prospective Franchisees. Imagine a prospect considering two different franchise opportunities: One offers an extensive Operations Manual that details every last aspect of how to select, hire and train the right team members, how to execute marketing, how to close sales, how to order supplies, and much more. The other offers no manual, and relies solely on the on-site training they provide to the Franchisee. Which is more attractive to the prospect?
Equal in importance to creating an excellent Operations Manual is enforcing its use among Franchisees. It’s very easy for a busy Franchisee to ignore the manual when a question or issue arises, and call the corporate office instead. From the start, Franchisors must drum into the heads of their Franchisees that the Ops Manual is their go-to resource for answers. If a Franchisee calls with a question, the corporate staff should direct that person back to the manual first, eventually forming a positive habit that will greatly reduce the number of calls received.
In summary, a well-executed Operations Manual will form the backbone of a franchise system, and can go a long way to ensuring its success. The investment will almost always provide an excellent return through improved Franchisee performance and a more aligned overall business.