Drafting a franchise operations manual is not rocket science. Doing it in-house also ensures the most efficient use of resources and talent, and eliminates having to pay a franchise consultant $20,000 or more for this relatively simple, but important task. The drafting process begins with planning and developing the Table of Contents for the franchise operations manual. This includes making sure all appropriate chapters and topics are included, and the inappropriate ones are not. Knowledge of both franchise management best practices and franchise operations manual legal pitfalls is essential here. Certain chapters used in a company-owned operation are inappropriate and create liability risk if used in a franchise environment.
The second step is giving the person(s) within your company who have drafting responsibility samples of franchise operations manual writing styles, guidelines, order of topics and instructions. With these how to write a franchise operations manual instructions, they can begin drafting each chapter of the manual using their extensive operational knowledge of the day-to-day, week-to-week, etc. aspects of your business. This in-house approach is common sense - letting the true expert in your business write the manual. Typically that person is the founder of the business, or a small team of management personnel who know business operations inside and out. While a franchise expert's involvement in the process is important, the expert's role should be carefully limited to a planning and editing capacity.
Franchise Operations Manual Editing
The third and final step is having the franchise expert review each chapter as it is drafted and comment on the professionalism and sufficiency of the chapters from a franchise industry best practices - franchise operator perspective. Whether or not a company ultimately franchises, the process of planning, documenting and implementing standardized operating procedures and systems via operations manuals, like blue chip franchise and non-franchised companies do, makes any firm operate more efficiently and competitively. Finally, it's important to realize the process of writing a franchise operations manual never stops. As the business model evolves in response to opportunities and threats, so must the operations manual - the ultimate reason why writing the manual yourself to begin with makes imminent common sense. As one franchise company's chief executive and founder observed "I found that not only was writing my own operations manual a cost savings; it was imperative."
Additional resources provided by the author
For the complete article, click on the Drafting a Franchise Operations Manual link below. Copyright 2008-2009, Kevin B. Murphy, B.S., M.B.A., J.D.
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