Evan Hackel

By Evan Hackel

Pre-Onboarding Wisdom for Franchises

Pre-Onboarding Wisdom for Franchises 1024 576 Evan Hackel

There is such a thing as pre-onboarding. Let me make this statement about it . . .

If you want your entire franchise to achieve high levels of success from top to bottom, pre-onboarding is something you absolutely have to do.

So, what is this activity that I am recommending so strongly, pre-onboarding? It is a process in which you enroll serious potential buyers in a program that teaches them everything about your franchise that you possibly can. You give them a complete onboarding experience, omitting only the signing of final agreements and legal papers.

Why Is Pre-Onboarding Essential Today?

In the old days, individual owners often had an imperfect idea about what they were getting themselves into when they bought franchises. They went ahead and bought anyway. Many had high expectations, became disillusioned, and got out fast.

In today’s more competitive climate, franchises realize that allowing that to happen can cause irreparable damage to the entire franchise at every level, because . . .

  • It becomes dramatically more difficult to sell franchises, because potential buyers won’t consider buying one where there is a known chance of failure. And if individual franchises are failing, make no mistake about it, potential new owners will find out.
  • Customers stay away if they see one location close, and stop shopping at franchisees that are not well run. The strength of the entire franchise brand erodes.
  • The owners of failing franchisees sell their locations at low prices, or at the bottom of the scale, their franchise agreement requires. That devalues the entire franchise, with crippling results.
  • Unskilled, ineffective franchise owners become the norm in a franchise. Again, the results of that are crippling. Poor sale revenues, low customer loyalty, high employee turnover, and other problems become the norm.
  • Communications between the franchise company and individual owners are weak because they were not established early on. In your franchise, you want to make sure that your relationship with every franchisees is strong, positive, and ultra-effective. That can’t be an afterthought. It is something you need to establish and cultivate with your owners through pre-onboarding, even before they become owners.

Some Keys to Effective Pre-Onboarding

Have your strongest potential buyers . . .

  • Visit and spend a few days working in successful franchise locations, so they see first-hand how your franchise works, what makes it successful, and more. 
  • Enroll in the same training programs that you offer do your franchise owners. 
  • Attend your annual franchise convention, where they can take part in seminars, hear talks from successful franchisees, and get an informed inside perspective on what their experiences as owners will be like. 
  • Get to know with your current owners, become part of their community, and share information and insights. This helps assure that new owners come on board with realistic expectations, and helps build a community in which all your franchisees are part of something that they see are critically important to their success and to their lives.
  • Sit down with members of your franchise’s leaders, with successful franchisees, with members of your sales team, and other important people in your enterprise.

Does offering a great pre-onboarding program take time? Yes, but in the end, it saves time because your franchise owners are more knowledgeable, more enthusiastic, more skilled, and much more likely to succeed. Plus, a great pre-onboarding program makes each of your franchise locations more profitable.

So as I close this article, let me offer one final word of advice about pre-onboarding. If you do it, and do it well, it will completely transform your franchise.

About Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel is a 35-year franchising veteran as both a franchisor and franchisee. He is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company, and principal of Ingage Consulting. He is a speaker, hosts “Training Unleashed,” a podcast covering training for business, and author of Ingaging Leadership. To hire Evan as a speaker, visit evanspeaksfranchising.com. Follow @ehackel or call 781-820-7609. Why not have Evan Hackel address your group about franchising success?