The Signarama LEARN to EARN philosophy was one of the topics addressed at the free seminars held at FASA’s recent Franchise Expo by franchisor Kurt Tyack. Since the establishment of the Signarama brand in Southern Africa in 2000, 95% of the people who have purchased Signarama franchises had no experience in the signage industry prior to becoming franchisees . This might seem strange in a relatively technical industry, but it speaks volumes for the training Signarama franchisees receive initially and as they grow their businesses going forward.
According to Signarama franchisor, Kurt Tyack, the approach they take is that ‘to EARN you have to LEARN’. This mantra means that it is necessary to be a lifelong learner in order to grow a successful business and earn a good living. According to Tyack, “We ensure that each new franchisee receives the same initial training in order to ensure high standards are maintained across our network. In addition, our focus is to ensure that the franchisee receives additional training in any areas of the business where we believe they need it”. For example, if a new franchisee comes from a strong sales and marketing background, in addition to the training provided as part of the franchise purchase, Signarama focus on additional training on the technical aspects of the business as the new franchisee typically would not have had much exposure to this in their previous business/employment.
Signarama franchisees receive 5 weeks of initial training as part of their purchase of a franchise. As such, no prior experience in the industry is required to become a franchisee. The first 2 weeks of the training take place at the Signarama franchise office in Johannesburg. The training schedule there covers all aspects of the business, namely finance, operations, sales and marketing, human resources and legal, technical training, as well as the principles of small business ownership/management. This is then followed by 1 week of training at an existing franchise location, and more training with the Signarama preferred suppliers. This gives the new franchisees the ability to see all of their recently-gained knowledge in action in an established franchise. The final 2 weeks of training take place as on-the-job or in-store training. During this phase, Signarama send out their marketing and technical teams to focus on training staff and to ensure the business is running as it should on a day-to-day basis.
This is not the end of the training. Signarama actively involve their suppliers to provide training and refresher courses for existing franchisees. These often incorporate the latest innovations in the industry and put Signarama at the cutting edge of new technologies.
“We also place a big emphasis on peer to peer or mentor learning. Who better to learn from than a franchisee who has been there, done it, got the T-shirt?”, explains Tyack. Each Signarama franchisee is appointed a mentor franchisee who plays an active role in the training of new franchisees. This pay-it-forward approach is the envy of several other franchise networks. “Sometimes hearing from another franchisee is better than hearing it from the franchise office”, acknowledges Tyack.
Another great tool for training is the ‘round table’ discussions which the franchise office hosts on a regular basis. “These meetings have a set topic for discussion, which generally require the franchisees to do some preparation for the meeting. Topics cover all aspects of the business, and usually result in a franchisee leaving the meeting equipped to make one or two important changes to their business”, says Tyack.
Signarama franchisees also receive regular valuable visits from trained Signarama field representatives. “We have no doubt our franchisees all work hard in their businesses, but we want to ensure that they are working hard on the right things”, explains Darren Le Roux, the Business Development Manager for Signarama in Southern Africa. Regular visits can often identify areas in need of improvement or change before they manifest as larger problems.
This focus on a strong foundation of training, and the ongoing training provided allows Signarama franchisees and staff to be the experts in the signage and branding industry. If you require a consultation from an expert Signarama representative please visit www.signarama.co.za . To find out more about owning a Signarama franchise and the support and training they offer, please visit www.signfranchise.co.za .