Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries setting

Often, the appeal of investing in a franchise comes from the opportunities to capitalise on a market within an industry that prospects don’t necessarily have experience in. Starting a business in this way doesn’t deny their chances of success, but they need to be proactive in what they do to ensure they are not only providing a quality service or product to their customers but, above all else, running a compliant and ethical business.

Knowing the rules and regulations associated within the field in which they operate is a given for a franchisor. Successful franchises do more than just keep up with industry trends; they anticipate them and position the franchise network to be at the forefront of innovation – perfecting their preparation to stay ahead of the curve. But what role do franchisees play in keeping their own franchise above board?

Here, Senior Early Years Quality Manager at Monkey Puzzle, Jess McCarthy, talks through the importance of franchisors knowing their sector guidelines, what franchisees should do to ensure they’re compliant within their own operations and what Monkey Puzzle does to help their franchisees run an ethical and safe business.

Why is it crucial that franchisors are in the know?

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For franchisors, staying abreast of industry guidelines is critical. Franchisees rely heavily on being well informed about rules and regulations they have to adhere to – providing information on this simply acts as a roadmap for franchisees so they can deliver a quality service. Not only this but navigating relevant requirements is essential for minimising the risk of legal consequences.

Industries are also subject to constant change and evolution. Franchisors need to be prepared to be ahead of the game to stay updated on these changes and be able to communicate them effectively to franchisees. This ensures that the network has the time to adapt their operations accordingly. By supplying the necessary industry guidelines, franchisors empower franchisees to thrive while maintaining brand consistency, compliance and relevance in ever-changing dynamic business landscapes, especially the sector in which we work at Monkey Puzzle – early years education.

In our industry, inspections from OFSTED are pivotal. They are the standard to which our settings are judged, so it is critical that franchisors like Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries are on top of providing comprehensive information to all their franchisees.

What to do as a franchisee to ensure you’re compliant

The good news here is that franchisees themselves shouldn’t be responsible for seeking information to ensure their businesses work within the guidelines – that is the job of the franchisor.

The whole appeal of investing in a franchise model, rather than going it alone, is that any quality franchisor will take the pressure off their franchisees by communicating all industry policies and legislation – hence the importance of the franchisors being in the know.

For our franchisees, operating businesses within the early years sector, this level of support is invaluable – the Department of Education sets out the standards that providers must meet to remain compliant. We know that these standards constantly evolve too, so rather than expecting our franchisees to manage this alone, we guide them through the process of an OFSTED inspection, being close at hand to ensure our franchisees know what it takes to be compliant.

So, what does Monkey Puzzle do to prepare for OFSTED?

Knowing when OFSTED inspections will occur is not an exact science, but you can have a good idea when a setting is due. We keep an up-to-date database where we predict which of our nurseries are more likely to be inspected and when.

After developing the general time frame, we can begin to supply the franchisee with the necessary information on how to prepare for their inspection. Preparation extends beyond the franchisees too – our practitioners often haven’t experienced an inspection, so information needs to filter down to allow them to feel confident and comfortable.

We have annual audits of our franchisees and their setting’s performance. In these meetings we forensically examine their whole framework and recommend areas for improvement from our findings.

To do this successfully, you need to establish good relationships with your franchisees. Showing face with monthly visits is a great way to keep that line of communication positive. When inspection time rolls around, we like to visit more frequently, perhaps every fortnight, so we know everyone is prepared to the nth degree.

We’re a firm believer that if you’re standing still, you’re going backwards. You need to keep that channel of communication open between franchisors and franchisees. Developing that culture is vital as you look to stay ahead of the curve of industry guidelines. Being compliant and ethical in your industry is much more than a target within your business plan – but a necessary component of long-term business success.

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