Every business should have an operations manual. But, it’s fair to say that unless it’s a franchised business very few SME’s have one or even understand the need for one.
So, what is an operations manual, and why do we need one?
Most of us have had training where you sit next to Nelly, and she will show you how it’s done. Then a few days later you sit with Joe, and he shows you how it’s done. The problem is Joe and Nelly, both show you how they do it. Whilst they both aim to get similar results their processes may vary. So, who’s doing it the right way, Joe, or Nelly? How good will you be? Well that depend on how good Joe and Nelly are.
Imagine a world where everyone is trained in the same way, where the advice you get from the people training you is the same. And, not only that, but it’s also written down for you. So, you get to know the right way to do everything, right from the start. And you have a reference point to go back to when you need to be reminded. How good would that be?!!
In franchising this is the way. A Franchisor is responsible for creating a business model that is capable of being easily replicated, easy to teach, and can be supported by a fully documented processes. This process is taught in a structured way to ensure that everyone understands how things should be done. The processes are updated, when necessary, documented, and training implemented to ensure that the work force understands what’s changed and why.
Guess what it’s called? -yeess The Operations Manual. (lovingly referred to as the opps manual) Now you can imagine that it’s a special document and that if anyone not involved in the Franchise Network got their hands on it, that would not be good. However, the reality is that even if they did, they wouldn’t use it. They would easily fall back into their old ways often because it’s easier to do what you’ve always done, and because no one is enforcing it, no one is updating it So, Nelly and Joe will continue training the newbies in the same way they always have.
Is there any wonder that 60% of people who go into business on their own (without joining a franchise network) will fail within the first 3 years of being in business. - It’s tough out there on your own - Whilst 93% of franchised units that have been running for five years or more are either quite or highly profitable. 60% of franchised units turn over in excess of £250,000 pa. Failure rates for franchises remain very low with fewer than 1% pa closing due to commercial failure*
Now I’m not saying that the only reason that franchises survive is due to the Operations Manual, but combine that with great franchisee support and consistency in delivering the product or service across the network all makes for an opportunity to ensure that the net work develops and new franchisees bring new blood/ skills into the group that can be shared and replicated.
Has your business got an opps manual…
*source bfa Natwest 2018 franchise landscape study