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What Are Key Processes and How Do They Relate to a Franchise Business?

When you franchise your business, the power comes in the creation of repeatable processes that are replicated in the same manner across the franchise system.  When we speak of Key Processes we refer to a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that have a significant impact on the overall success of your business.  The father of Total Quality Management, Dr. Joseph M. Juran, defines a process as, “a systematic series of actions directed at the achievement of a goal.”

Key Processes can cover a wide array of activities and all Key Processes are inextricably tied to the delivery of your company’s end product or service. Key Processes are vitally important to the success of a business; they reflect those business practices that ensure an organization retains its competitive edge. When you franchise your business, the Key Processes become the backbone by which the franchise system training program is developed.

There is almost an infinite number of processes in the business world today.  Each business has established a set of practices that they use to ‘manage the business’ and achieve a positive and hopefully repeatable outcome.  The nature of your key processes will naturally depend on the type of business you operate and the systems you have developed to manage daily operations. 

Key Processes for Franchise Systems

For a more simplistic approach to building Key Processes for franchise systems, we use these following categories:

  • Universal Processes - These processes cut across all hierarchies within an organization and must be adhered to achieve a consistent output or outcome.  An example of a Universal Process is customer service.
  • Management Processes - These are business-wide processes that are fundamental to how an organization is managed.  For example, purchasing, inventory management, managing the books, etc.
  • Operational Processes - These are processes that represent the day to day activities that your organization performs to accomplish your goals and mission.  Customer intake process, opening & closing procedures, the front of house and back of house procedures for restaurants are good examples of Operational Processes.

Most organizations that we work with have a good understanding of their Key Processes and how their processes impact their business.  In many cases, the processes are ingrained within the institutional memory of the organization and the steps of these processes are taught through a combination of informal instruction and hands-on involvement.  However, in very few cases are these processes actually written down and if so, they are often nothing more than a pile of notes, instruction sheets and articles pertaining to the topics at hand.

While this approach may work well for the individual business, it frankly is not good enough for a franchise system.  When franchising your business, you need to put yourself in the shoes of a franchisee.  A franchisee expects more from a franchisor, after all, they will have paid a significant sum to learn your ‘secrets’; a franchise owner expects to see a formal curriculum that is backed by knowledgeable people.

In an effective franchise system, the training on processes is codified and includes formal instructions and curriculum.  Best in class franchise systems will also provide structured On-the-Job Training curriculum with an evaluation of comprehensive and competence.  

We refer to the difference between how an organization codifies their processes currently versus what will be expected by a franchisee as the Process Gap.  This is the Gap we fill; it is the problem we are uniquely geared to solve for our clients who are looking to build a responsible and comprehensive franchise.

We tackle the hard job of making the small, new franchise entrant appear as they have been in business for decades.  We help level the playing field by identifying, developing, and documenting an organization's’ key processes so that franchisees can be effectively trained in the company’s approach and methods.  This is the essence of what we do and it makes a difference for the emerging franchise system and their franchisees.

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