Franchisor FAQs

If you have a question about your Operations Manual, please contact Penny Hopkinson on +44 (0)1926 641 402 or send an email to us at ManualW@aol.com. We will aim to answer your questions within 24 hours.

Why do I need an Operations Manual?

You need an Operations Manual to:

  • Copyright your ideas, know-how and trade secrets – ie. by documenting your business system you can protect your Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Fulfil your contractual obligations – i.e. it is an obligation under the Franchise Agreement to provide a copy of the manual, on loan, for the duration of the contract
  • Re-inforce the terms of the Agreement
  • Set – and enable you to maintain – quality standards
  • Impose conformity across the developing Network
  • Impose uniformity across the developing Network
  • Provide a means for monitoring and control
  • Set benchmarks for continuous improvement
  • Provide the vehicle for updating and introducing new systems

How will an Operations Manual benefit my Franchise?

A well-documented Operations Manual will help you to achieve:

  • Greater efficiency
  • New levels of customer satisfaction
  • Greater customer loyalty
  • Stronger links between you, your franchisees and your customers
  • Improved understanding of the partnership and franchising
  • Well targeted help and advice from your Franchise Support Office
  • A reduction in the number of unnecessary enquiries

How should I structure the Operations Manual?

For a comprehensive Operations Manual, you should consider developing your manual to cover:

  • New Business Set Up & Support
  • Day to Day Operating & Managing Requirements
  • Business Development

How can I maximise the value of the Operations Manual?

The Operations Manual should be developed to fulfil four main functions – i.e:

  • As a comprehensive reference resource
  • As a training tool:

– For the Franchisor at Induction Training; or

– When operating at arm’s length

– For the Franchisee when training staff

  • As a marketing tool.
  • As a Business Development tool

It should:

  • Underpin the Franchise Agreement
  • Define your core values
  • Describe, precisely, your definition of ‘quality’
  • Identify the franchisee’s responsibilities
  • Ensure franchisees and staff understand their role in attaining quality
  • Set new standards in customer service
  • Set benchmarks for improvement
  • Document the main operating requirements
  • Document the main management requirements
  • Dovetail with existing documentation – e.g. via cross-references
  • Provide accurate Franchise Support Office reference points for help and advice

What title should I give the Operational Manual?

The definition Franchise Manual is a generic term used to encompass all the written information that will be used to set-up, operate and develop a franchise – including third party user manuals.

However, the title you use should mirror that used in your Franchise Agreement – usually Operations Manual, Operating Manual, Operational Manual – or, simply, The Manual.

How can I make the Operations Manual user-friendly?

Important features to consider include:

  • Using an appropriate publishing method for the type of user – i.e. hard copy or electronic format
  • Setting a common style to run parallel with the corporate image and applying it throughout
  • Developing an easy to follow, logical structure
  • Applying a good and consistent method of indexation
  • Compiling a comprehensive Table of Contents
  • Providing a good system of consecutive cross-referencing
  • An appropriate viewpoint for communicating procedures and an unambiguous way in which you must reinforce the terms of the Franchise Agreement
  • Creating a simple, easy to read visual presentation for the pages, which makes use of graphic white space, with a plain, sans serif typeface
  • Adopting an easy-to-update format

Why should I consider using an external resource such as Manual Writers International?

Many of our clients – large, medium and small, new and established – have attempted to write their Operations Manual in house. They either used us as an external resource because they needed professional guidance and/or authoring, editing and publishing skills; or they attended one of our Workshops.

  • Some found it impossible to fit writing the manual into their busy schedule
  • Other priorities were always more pressing – or preferable
  • Information provided by colleagues often turned out to be operating not operational – i.e. they listed the tasks to be undertaken but failed to describe how these tasks must be carried out
  • The in-house writer failed to approach the subject objectively and, because of familiarity, could not describe the procedures precisely. To prove a point, how many of us complain about manufacturers’ instructions for home use !
  • Their manual was drafted in a number of different styles and from different viewpoints, which would have made it difficult for their franchisees to follow
  • They did not know how to underpin the terms and conditions of the Franchise Agreement
  • They kept rewriting, but never finished, the draft because their Business System was continuously evolving and improving during the first year of Pilot operation
  • They could not move on from a list of headings – or from a blank piece of paper