|ERA's Academy Manager Dan Ireland|
|ERA Franchise Partner Lorraine Gannon|
It begins with a five-week induction programme, designed to provide franchise partners with the skills needed to successfully launch their business, at which point Academy Manager, Dan Ireland, takes over to ensure theory is put into practice.
“Week six of Academy Training is when it becomes real,” says Dan. “It's the time to start generating some appointments. And if there's one area in which new franchise partners need my help the most, it's in operational marketing. By that I mean picking up the phone, or getting out there and speaking to people.”
Once those appointments have been made, Dan then attends the first few client-facing meetings with franchise partners. And it's that sales support, he says, more than anything else that has had a positive impact on their cash flow. “We now have new starters who, within their first six weeks, already have two clients on board. Some are generating three times the average income in year one, and we have franchise partners going into year two forecasting 200% of target.
“Of course, we realise there will always be high achievers and that not everyone will see such immediate returns,” he adds. “But if you look at Academy averages taken over the last year, more people are getting more business, and more people are earning more.”
Lorraine Gannon joined ERA two years ago and was one of the first franchise partners to benefit from the Academy programme. Signing a client immediately after induction training gave her business an early boost, and Lorraine is quick to praise Dan for his help. “The training sets you up with the confidence and skills to go out there and do it, and then you perfect your craft,” she says. “There's plenty of support to help you. The post-training guidance from the Academy Manager and the rest of the Support Hub was great; the guys were always on hand to offer advice and even accompany me to meetings.”
ERA's Academy Training is built on best practice. Observing the network's top franchise partners – looking at what they do and how they do it – means Academy trainers can encourage new partners to adopt the same habits. Those 'best performers' are also drafted in to help their newly-established peers, something that Jonathan Jackson appreciated when he joined last year. “I really valued the fact that experienced consultants take the time to support new franchise partners within the five-week induction programme,” he says. “We get to learn from their past experiences and understand why we do things in a certain way. Plus, I now know that if I have any questions or need some advice, I can just pick up the phone and speak to someone.”
Franchise partners join ERA from a variety of backgrounds, and that means the training has to be tailored to individual needs. For ex-Squadron Leader, Simon Webb, the support he received swiftly turned his military experience into commercial expertise. “Not only did the training programme and Academy support put me at ease, but it became clear very quickly that the skills I gained from the RAF – the team work, the communication skills and the professionalism – were not only relevant but stood me in very good stead indeed,” Simon says. “ERA offers a great training programme to consolidate and build on whatever experience you already have. I particularly liked the fact that once the initial 5 week foundation training course is completed, you have the continuing support of the ERA Academy and Academy Manager.”
The Academy Manager's support is provided free of charge to all franchise partners. ERA also offers free monthly Discovery Days to parties interested in joining its network of franchise consultants who, it says, statistically earn more than any other cost-reduction franchise in the UK and Ireland.