Operating Your Franchise

Your Operation Manual
Most successful franchisors would already have developed a good and extensive “Operations Manual”. This manual would provide a comprehensive guide that shows the franchisee how to run the business successfully. A good manual would also decrease the franchisees reliance on the franchisor – especially after the training has been completed. It should be well written, properly indexed and continually kept up to date.

Guidelines for Developing the Manual

  • It should be written in plain, easy to read English.
  • It should be broken up into shorter sentences so the content is easy to understand.
  • If it is large, it should have a full table of contents and an index.
  • It should be fully printed and set in an easy to read font.
  • It should be in a loose leaf format so the manual can be updated on a regular basis.
  • When it is being developed it should be written, edited, field tested and then re-written until the final copy is agreed to.
  • If appropriate, samples of forms to be used in the franchise should be included.

The operation manual is basically an extra explanation of all the material that has already been set out in the franchise agreement. They are a valuable asset to the franchise business because they provide a full explanation of the business concept as well as the way things have to be done. If these things are covered adequately then potential arguments and legal actions can be avoided later on.

Matters to Clarify Before Starting up
There is no point in starting your business unless you are clear that every area of the business has been explained to you and you are confident of being able to run things well. If you don’t want to lose your investment then you owe it to yourself to familiarise yourself with every part of the franchise before opening the doors and starting.

Some of the questions that have to be clear include the following:

  • What would I be doing on a daily basis?
  • What would be the opening hours of my business?
  • Is my business seasonal?
  • What are the best times to trade?
  • What are the important keys to success in my business?
  • What are the things that I have to watch out for as far as errors and pitfalls are concerned?
  • How many hours would I need to devote to the business?
  • Do I need to employ staff or can I do it all myself?
  • If I need staff, what type of people do I need?
  • Would the business provide sufficient cash for me to support myself and my family within a short period or do I need my spouse or partner to work outside of the business and produce supplementary income?
  • How much time am I able to spend with the existing franchisee to see if I like the business and also later on to learn the finer points of the business?
  • Am I clear on what I can sell and what I can’t?
  • Do I have operational manuals and other instructions available to me?
  • Who would do my marketing and if it is in conjunction with my franchisor, what would be the costs?
  • How would I do my own bookkeeping and look after the legal requirements of my business?
  • Do I receive help in administration and bookkeeping from the franchisor?
  • How would I be able to adopt the computerised accounting packages to meet my obligations as a franchisee?