Nobody’s reading paper books any more. Bookshops and libraries are closing down. Everybody’s into ebooks, video and interactive digital technology. So why are franchisors still relying on franchise manuals, either paper-based or, nearly as bad, loads of documents plonked into an intranet? Especially when we all know that “success lies in following the system”?
Now there’s a better – and surprisingly cost-effective – way to create or transform your operations manual that will help you to bring your franchisees up to speed faster, engage them more effectively, supercharge their performance and avoid costly mistakes – oh, and save you time, money and effort.
Here are 7 tips for creating a better franchise manual.
1. Put your “manual” online, not in a book.
This way, your franchisees can access the information anywhere (on site, in vehicle or at home as well as in the office) and quickly find the information they need using the search function (see Tip 2). The advantages of a franchise intranet for you is that you can use multimedia to dramatically improve your franchisee training and compliance, and update or add to the “manual” any time so everybody’s on the same “page”.
2. Have a search box.
Once you’ve digitised your “manual”, the next step is to add search functionality so your franchisees can find the information they need quickly and accurately rather than .
3. Use multimedia, not monomedia.
Research shows that videos, graphics, slides, animation and interactive digital are far more effective than loads and loads of text for getting critical knowledge, guidelines and instructions across to franchisees. What’s more, an interactive learning environment is more fun and therefore more likely to be referred to and used.
4. Include everything that is critical, and nothing that isn’t. In our experience, too
many franchise manuals contain too much information that just isn’t relevant. Cut to the quick, present your content in an interesting, engaging way, and your franchisees will thank you for it.
5. Explain why.
Franchisees are not robots. Like all of us, they respond more positively to instructions and guidelines when they can see a reason and understand the need for them. Your manual should help them see the big picture, and in particular how their actions could affect their business and those of the other franchisees.
6. Use examples.
We all relate to real-life situations, especially when they show problems, not just solutions. Examples help us see that others have the same problems we do.
7. Write for your audience.
Chances are that you haven’t selected your franchisees on the basis of their ability to understand complicated terms or digest masses of complex text. So understand what your audience is looking for and keep it simple – but never, ever talk down to franchisees.
We provide a full range of franchise documentation services including writing and upgrading franchise manuals, more effectively systemising your business processes so they can be replicated effectively every time, developing franchise intranets, and recommending better ways to educate, train and develop your franchisees.
Contact us for a free initial consultation and assessment of your needs and potential.
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