The British Franchise Association (BFA) has announced a joint initiative with Lloyds Bank and developed a new training programme for prospective franchisees, the Prospect Franchisee Certificate (PFC).
The aim of this training course is to educate potential franchisees about franchising, from researching the opportunities, selecting the right franchise, the legal and financial aspects, as well as the candidates suitability to franchising.
The PFC is a series of 13 online, video-based tutorials, which can be taken in a day or one step at a time, to suit the individual. An assessment at the end of each module will show the candidates understanding of the subject and on completion of the course the candidate obtains the Prospect Franchisee Certificate.
Pip Wilkins, the BFA chief executive, said: “This is that rarity in life: information and education at no cost, without the hard sell, gimmicks or hidden agendas.
“The BFA is a not-for-profit organisation that is responsible for setting and maintaining standards in franchising, part of which means providing impartial advice to people that are considering investing in a franchise. We will not recommend one brand over another, and there is no advertising or email marketing involved.
“The Prospect Franchisee Certificate is a complete roadmap of the franchise model: the what, how and why of everything, from identifying the right franchisor, to the legal agreement and the fundamentals of running a business confidently and competently.”
Richard Holden, head of franchising at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “It is essential that any prospective franchisee, prior to making a commitment to the franchise brand, has a good idea about what they are getting into. Well-researched and informed prospective franchisees will make the franchisor’s task of selecting quality individuals into their brand less of a challenge.
“Recruiting high quality investors is a top priority for franchisors looking to expand their networks. Referring prospects to undertake this programme at an early stage of the recruitment process, will help franchisors reduce time-wasters and ensure that prospects have realistic expectations of what they need.
“You would not consider letting a new franchisee loose on clients until they have undertaken your training programme and fully understand your operating model and business philosophy, so why would you consider any investor until you are sure that they have a good understanding of the franchise market and what it takes to operate a business successfully?
“It would be beneficial for any franchisor to add a step in their current recruitment process, to refer their prospects to the Prospect Franchisee Certificate early in the process and to add a link to their franchise website, making prospects aware that this valuable insight is available to them free of charge.”
Wilkins adds: “Whether you are taking your first steps into self-employment or a seasoned business leader, investing in a franchise is a big decision.
“Any franchise brand worth joining is extremely selective about who they bring in to their network, so for prospects to hit the ground running and perform at the top of their capabilities, then an in-depth understanding of the model is essential.”