I have found myself carefully cherry picking my way through my professional contact list and really being honest with myself in asking these three questions:
– Is this someone I will know in 10 years time?
– Is this a person who will push me by inspiration and challenge to be where I want to be?
– Can this person add the kind of value I need to get to where I want to be?
Now, instantly you may look at those questions and think – wow, thats cold. But hang on a bit…hear me out. How many times do we read professional business books that keep telling us to value our time more, and quite clearly say in order to progress…you need to think progressively and consistently challenge your comfort zones? I constantly receive great feedback from people about how I add value to them and open their eyes to a view that they hadn’t considered. Thats super for them – because they have identified that they would like me in their Business Lifeboat. That doesn’t automatically mean they will be in mine though – unless of course they have the knowledge and skills in areas that I don’t have and their business persona intrigues me. There’s nothing wrong with that – its just making sure you remember where you are in the order of things.
Many a small business owner makes the mistake of spraying a whole lot of time at everyone and everything that they come into contact – hoping for something to stick. That works for about 5 minutes and you are exhausted and without any recognisable return.
My message is be “brutally” professional – annihilate the time wasters and hangers-on and carefuly cultivate the real professional relationships and contacts that you know will support you and to whom you can also offer value to in return.
With franchisor clients I really bring this home to them in that they have a fantastic vantage point to be looking out for the future of their network of franchisees. They are in a position to recognise valuable branding joint initiatives and professional alliances that the franchisee wouldn’t have dreamed possible as a stand alone Joe Soap. Zone in on this power of professional alliance and heighten your franchise offering overtime – by doing this you not only create emotional loyalty from your franchsiees – but, hell, you are also creating a fantastic case for economic loyalty too.
Follow me on Twitter if you want to see who is in my Business Lifeboat, or find me on Linkedin.
I am awfully happy to report that there are some more positive stories coming out now – although I have to find them in round about ways. It seems that some people are really being creative about how they get through this period, and are looking at how they do business, as well as how they spend their money. Of course there are the few key drivers that will move the more entrepreneurial minded people towards franchising, and those are:
– not wanting to return to corporate employment (the view of ‘job security’ as changed)
– create something for themselves, with the umbrella of support that franchising provides
– having received the redundancy pay-outs,, this helps them to invest in the right franchise opportunity
Banks in the UK still not actively supporting business (especially small business)… in lending responsibly to those that have viable business plans and have shown steady and unwaivering growth over the last couple of years. My message on that score is – ‘Banks…you best be careful’. When the tide turns and business owners can afford to choose…they will choose those banks or personal bankers who listened, supported and guided as much as they could. They won’t choose those that handed them a multi-page loan application form with hoops and boxes to leap and tick just to get the £15000 they needed to keep their business going and growing.
Its scary how the economy is grinding to a halt – but I have every faith that with the combined entrepreneurial conscienciousness out there – the kickstart is coming soon!
Click here for a story of someone in the US who used his redundancy payout to get into business for himself with the Mr Handyman franchise.
Do note that getting into business for yourself is not the easy route – its even harder than you think it is, but there are payoffs in the longrun.
While driving my car through some pretty yuck roads near home today (note to self: I need to ask my local council where exactly the road spend is going to…my wheel alignment is getting worse by the day!)..I had a thought. Rare, I know, but all the same….
Wouldn’t it be really genius of an insightful franchisor to build in a proper exit and relief strategy into the franchise offering. What on earth do I mean, you ask?
Well, I have a super business contact in London who I love to have coffees with and just pick his brain. He is really passionate about small business owners having a proper exit plan that they can live with. He has seen time and again how really successful small business owners get to retirement age and fall foul of retirement pressure and end up losing out on the value of their life’s work.
So, my thought was around a franchisor actually building in a plan that will help the franchisee revisit his/her exit at whatever point is comfortable for them – with a set structure in place to give them value for their investment of time and money in the business. But, over and above that, it may well be a plan to fit in sabbatical periods for the franchisee. We all know that we work damn hard to get our businesses on the go and could all do with some time out to remind ourselves of where we are going, whether we are enjoying the journey and re-energise ourselves for the years ahead.
Emotional loyalty is pretty key for a franchisor who wants to retain franchisees – same rule applies as for all other businesses: it costs more to get in new franchisees than it does to retain existing ones. To keep franchisees engaged – my advice is to always look at how to enhance the model and add value over time. Sabbaticals may well be one more thing that is worth looking at.
I am not saying SPEND more, I’m saying be creative and offer the opportunity of relief and support during that time. I know that I could have done with being offered that at my five year anniversary of being with a company in my last employed role. Who knows I may well have remained with the company for longer!
But then my inner entrepreneur junkie would not have stayed quiet for much longer 🙂
Wow – I am just brilling with it all today. I listened to a couple of tele-classes this week to really get my business juices following and I tell you I am ready to take on the world in March.
Do you make sure that you are flying with Eagles, or do you find that you are pecking on the ground with the turkeys! I made a significant choice this last week to stop wasting my time with the turkeys and value my time more as a business person and as an entrepreneur. I am in search of more ‘Trains’ I can hop on to – i.e. more people that will push me and motivate me into the sphere I aspire to be in. Time is of the essence and only you can make the choice not to spend it on dribbling outside the fishbowl….I want to swim with the sharks! Do you know of someone I should be following? Tweet me and tell me.
So, I thought I would post a clip that you may find useful to maybe give you a kick up the bottom today! Ken Blanchard is another of my Eagle Guru’s. Check it out and let me know what you think – if you want! Don’t forget I am on Twitter too and my favourites who I follow at the moment are: @guykawasaki; @davos; @yaniksilver; @jennyflintoft; @bernadettedoyle and @barefoot_exec.