TANNERISM #11—If it were easy, everyone would do it.
I don’t have sympathy for people who get into franchising and fail because they think someone else is going to do the work for them. You’ll be given training, systems, support and much else, but you’ll have to stoke the fire and drive the train. There’s no other way to say it: Owning your own business is hard work. It’s not for everybody. And, that’s OK. But, it’s better to know it before you invest your life savings. I recently ran across a note of advice that a seasoned franchisee shared with new owners of a leading home-services franchise. I’ve removed the brand name because the words of wisdom work across any franchise business. Take the advice to heart. It will save your life:
A few folks have asked whether we have any advice on how to grow this business, so I thought I’d share some thoughts (disclaimer – these are my own ideas and have not been endorsed by anyone else):
1) Owning this business is hard work and will no doubt take over your life. Whether you’ve owned a business in the past or this is your first rodeo (like me) it takes a lot of time and energy to build something from scratch. Unlike a job, you’re always trying to think of ways to improve your company.
2) Enjoy the journey. This can be an emotional roller coaster, and if you don’t step back, take a deep breath, and enjoy it you can burn out very easily. Celebrate those small successes.
3) There is no magic bullet or secret “answer” to this business – you have to wear many hats and do the little things that may seem tedious but will pay dividends. I don’t think I’m particularly gifted when it comes to a lot of these things (including sales) nor did I have experience in this industry. I’ve made a lot of mistakes (read experiences) along the way.
4) You won’t be good at everything. Figure out your strengths, but more importantly figure out your weaknesses and then look at developing a team to build on those strengths and augment the weaknesses.
5) Hire people who are as passionate about this business as you are. You can teach someone about the nuts and bolts of the business, but you can’t teach someone how to be passionate about helping to grow the business.
6) We’re not really in the business we say we’re in. I know this may seem odd, but we’re in the business of providing excellent service and hospitality, which is cloaked in the product we sell. If you focus on delivering exceptional service you’ll be able to charge a premium and differentiate in the market.
7) Identify where your customers are looking for you and then market, market, market in those areas. For our business, Yelp has been a tremendous source of leads. It may be the same in your market but it may not. The sooner you can hone in on where customers are finding you the quicker your marketing dollars will pay back (and the less money you’ll spend).
8) One of the great things about a franchise system is the network of folks around the country. Take advantage of this and talk to other owners about their business. Talk to folks who have been in business longer than you, but also reach out to folks who are new. To a large extent the continued strength and growth of our system falls on our shoulders.
9) If you can, find a mentor who has grown a business in your market. If that business is complementary to yours then great. But if not that’s OK too. Ask lots of questions.
10) Be persistent – in everything you do. In the words of Jimmy V, ‘Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.’
That is a powerful message. Read it again…and again…and again. And, never give up. The rewards are too great.