Ahead of the curve 

Knowing the rules and regulations associated within the field in which they operate is a given for a franchisor

Monkey Puzzle 1

Flourishing franchises go beyond merely staying abreast of industry trends; they forecast them and position the franchise network to lead innovation – meticulously preparing to maintain a competitive edge. But what responsibility do franchisees have in upholding the integrity of their individual franchises?

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 imperative that franchisors are in the know?

It is crucial for franchisors to stay updated on industry guidelines. Franchisees heavily depend on being well-informed about the rules and regulations they must follow – providing this information serves as a roadmap for franchisees to 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 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 guarantees that the network has sufficient time to adjust their operations accordingly. By furnishing the requisite guidelines, franchisors enable franchisees to flourish while upholding 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, OFSTED inspections are pivotal. They serve as the benchmark against which our settings are evaluated, making it crucial for franchisors such as Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries to diligently provide comprehensive information to all their franchisees. Considering the limitations and restrictions set by OFSTED, it is safe to say that the appeal of our franchise model comes down to the hard work we put in as a brand to ensure our franchisees are, in fact, compliant but also the leading provider in their respective community. 

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 allure of investing in a franchise model, as opposed to venturing solo, lies in the fact that any reputable franchisor alleviates pressure from their franchisees by effectively communicating all industry policies and legislation. Hence, the significance of franchisors staying well-informed.

For our franchisees, operating a business 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 inspections?

Predicting the exact timing of OFSTED inspections is not an exact science, but we can generally anticipate when a setting is due. We maintain an up-to-date database where we forecast which of our nurseries are more likely to undergo inspection and when.

Once we establish the general time frame, we can start providing franchisees with the essential information on preparing for their inspection. Preparation isn’t solely for the franchisees, our practitioners often don’t have the inspection experience, so it’s crucial to disseminate information to ensure they feel confident and at ease.

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 achieve this effectively, building strong relationships with your franchisees is essential. Regular monthly visits are an excellent method for maintaining positive communication. As inspection time approaches, we increase our visits, 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 maintain an open channel of communication between franchisor and franchisee. Cultivating this culture becomes vital as you strive to stay ahead of evolving industry standards. Compliance and ethical practices aren’t just a target in your business plan – but an indispensable element of long-term business prosperity. 

The article comes courtesy of Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries, the undisputed market leader in the franchised nursery sector and one of the largest nursery groups in the U.K. Jess McCarthy is the senior early years quality manager at Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries. She works to ensure quality is maintained throughout all of Monkey Puzzle’s nursery settings. 

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