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Operations Manual tips

Posted by Carolyn Dufton on 15 March 2010
Operations Manual tips

Franchisors must remember that the franchise operations manual forms part of the franchise agreement.

The operations manual is therefore a vital business document that needs to be accurate and consistently updated.

The Operations Manual should be a Franchisor's best friend.

A breach of the operations manual constitutes a breach of the franchise agreement.

Tips for a great Operations manual

  • It is usual for operations manuals to separate Franchisee versions and staff versions. Franchisee versions include the specific details regarding their franchise arrangement and procedures.
  • Staff versions are generally operational only.
  • Write the manual for the intended reader. If you have unskilled labour or labour with limited language capabilities, ensure that your manual has plenty of diagrams and use very simple language.
  • Bullet points make for easy reading.
  • Include measurable KPI's (Key performance indicators) for the crucial aspects of your business.
  • Be cautious about including financial KPI's in the manual. This could be very onerous for a Franchisor.
  • Develop a clear procedure for advising franchisees of changes to the operations manual being sure that all Franchisees are made aware of the changes.
  • Allow franchisees the opportunity to discuss the changes thoroughly with the Franchisor/team.
  • Ensure your operations manual is transparent. Don't "sneak" changes to the operations manual because you fear the changes may be unpopular.
  • Use the operations manual as a starting point for discussion in franchisee meetings. Doing this will enforce the importance and the relevance of the manual in the business and will encourage franchisees to refer to it more often.
  • Ask an outsider to review your operations manual to assess whether they can understand the content. It is often hard for a Franchisor who understands the business inside out to explain processes clearly for the first time reader.
  • Ensure that the manuals are clear and unambiguous.
  • Assess if any procedure in an operations manual was challenged in a legal dispute, would it be a "black and white" matter, or "grey". Eliminate any grey areas from your manual.
  • Do you have a section in your operations manual specifying franchisee social media guidelines and restrictions? If not you need to develop one now before you have to go into damage control.
  • Do you need a written and online operations manual? Which is your preferred method of delivery? Or do you need both?

A well written, professionally presented Operations Manual reflects well on The Franchisor and the brand. It sets the standard of Franchisor professionalism. It demonstrates the level of detail expected by The Franchisor.

The Operations Manual is the first document a new Franchisee will receive after starting the business. Ensure that this first impression is impressive.

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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, electronic, photocopying or otherwise without prior permission of the author as permitted under the copyright act.

Carolyn DuftonAuthor: Carolyn Dufton
About: Carolyn Dufton Dip. Bus (Franchising) heads the team as the owner and manager of franchisingplus. Carolyn has a wealth of small business experience, and many years of hands on franchising experience.
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Tags: Franchisee Franchisor Franchising

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