InXpress: why bootcamp is just the beginning
Initial training is crucial for every franchisee and for this business-to-business freight and logistics service there is a focus on instilling business confidence early on.
Business confidence is particularly important to business service franchisees, who have no tangible products or assets to attract customers.
That’s why in a two-week bootcamp that marks the start of InXpress training for newbie franchisees, a full five days is devoted to the topic of business confidence. But the lessons learned are equally applicable to any franchise operation.
Setting clear expectations
The first five days of the fortnight are about learning systems and technical aspects of the business. InXpress brings in a mix of trainers to coach, including partner carriers to educate franchisees about products and services.
The second five days, devoted to mindset sales, are managed by the internal training team of David Wilkinson, business performance manager Alan Brackenbury, and Bobby-Jo Monro, operations and training manager.
Apart from the passion for personal development through training, the success of the learning process comes from setting really clear expectations, says Wilkinson. He often cites a Mike Tyson quote, “Everybody has a plan until you get hit in the mouth”.
Says Wilkinson, “In a business based around cold calling, you’re going to have to deal with lots of rejection from day one. It’s what you have to deal with on a daily basis. We teach franchisees how to keep their mindset in the right space.”
How InXpress trains franchisees
Wilkinson points out that openness and transparency about what to expect before franchisees sign up is a crucial step in their training in success.
“We bring franchisees in throughout the process to share their experiences. It’s really beneficial to hear from the mouths of franchisees, that’s a little bit of confidence. The other thing we do in 52 weeks of onboarding is constant contact. We’re talking three points of contact every week, and then a group call with the onboarding team.
“One thing I think we do really well is harbour communities of franchisees in different steps of the journey.”
The seven new franchisees who participate in any onboarding bootcamp will be forever linked as a class and put into a WhatsApp group so they can share their failures and successes. The peer-to-peer learning is a significant element of continual learning for the franchise network, says Wilkinson.
InXpress mixes up the novices group with an experienced franchisee able to add some balance to the conversation.
There are three distinct franchise groups in the logistics network.
First up is onboarding, which is expected to be a 12-month process although some people do graduate early based on great results.
Heart of the network caters for the middle 60 per cent of franchisees who require less intensive support and don’t need three calls a week. They might be employing a staff member or looking to sign up offshore support.
“We’re looking for and starting to build different skill sets,” says Wilkinson.
The high performing 20 per cent of the network sits in a Top Gun group. “They are growing exponentially and their skill set is very different. They might need help with self-management, scaling the business differently, or boosting automation so they can step out of the business.”
In addition to any phone call mentoring sessions, franchisees learn about business through the business and quarterly reviews, which are all numbers driven. There is financial and business planning early on.
Forget about the CEO role
Wilkinson talks of “firing the CEO” in a franchise in the first 12 months and building margin or revenue from the start.
“I think it’s quite relieving for new franchisees to know that you don’t have to wear the CEO hat for the first year. What franchisees have to do is produce income, ask great questions, and consult with clients.”