In my different roles as a franchise manager, franchisor and franchise consultant, I’ve seen a few disclosure documents. And most, I have to say, aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

The situation is just as bad overseas. The worst DD I’ve ever seen, from a well-known international franchise system, contained text that was all capitalised, for God’s sake! HOW EASY IS THAT TO READ?

But isn’t a DD simply a compliance document designed to satisfy franchise legislation or, in unregulated countries, franchise association codes of practice?

Well, yes it is, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dreary and all but unreadable. The best you can say about 95% of DDs is that they’re a surefire cure for insomnia.

The franchisors who produce these DDs seem to believe that by the time prospective franchisees get to see the DD, they’re basically sold. Sighting the DD and franchise agreement is a mere formality. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true, and not just in cases when the DD reveals that the franchise’s performance doesn’t meet prospects’ expectations.

What these franchisors don’t seem to realise is that even though some of the content is mandatory, the whole DD doesn’t have to be that way. The smartest franchisors I’ve worked with have realised that the DD is another opportunity to reinforce their franchises’ brand and sales message. At the same time, they’ve been smart enough to know that you need to be open and transparent with prospects right through the recruitment sales process, not just when it comes to mandatory disclosure. The DD should contain no surprises.

Is your DD heavy going, a yawn-fest, and the last thing a prospective franchisee needs at around the same time as being confronted by your (necessarily pretty dull) franchise agreement?    

Talk to me about changing all that and increasing your franchisee prospect sign-up rate.

Article by Robin La Pere, No Ordinary Business and Franchise Consultants

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Robin La Pere of No Ordinary Consultants has been working in franchising for more than 20 years. As a franchise consultant, he helps clients to improve the presentation, quality and effectiveness of franchise documents, including franchise agreements, disclosure documents, franchise manuals, recruitment sales brochures and information packs. He has a 100% success rate in preparing business plans for funding, investment, immigration and award applications.





"Robin had a significant and positive
impact ... on Signature Homes as a whole, as evidenced by the fact that our business became one of the fastest growing businesses in New Zealand, winning a Deloittes Fast 50 Business Award in 2003, seeing total sales soar by more than 500%."


          Gavin Hunt, Signature Homes