Tag Archives: inspiration

Being a Franchise Consultant – A True Story

While pondering and flicking through my gazillion blog and newsfeeds to find something to ‘refresh’ you with, I came to a realisation: I am brain boggled. What does this mean? Well, I am quite literally overwhelmed with information, emails, proposals, call-backs, chase-ups, reminders, social media, ….you name it…I’ve got it on my desk, laptop, Blackberry…and even printed on my forehead.

The life of a franchise consultant is one that requires a certain amount of patience, flexibility, diplomacy, balance, compassion, understanding and a whole lot of caffeine, chocolate, cheese and potatoes (my comfort food). So my post for you today is a small window in to a Day in the Life of Me.

My (work) day always starts at 8am (my actual day starts at 5am with small child en tow) and I start with my ever present four quadrant to-do list. What does four quadrant mean – well the great Stephen Covey would tell you that it is in fact being able to distinguish the priorities of bits on your to-do list as:

  • Q1 = Urgent, Important
  • Q2= Not Urgent, Important
  • Q3= Not Imporant, Urgent
  • Q4= Not urgent, Not Important

But what my actual page looks like is this:

  • Business 1 – what needs doing now (includes mainly client to-do’s and work)
  • Business 2 – what needs doing now (includes mainly client to-do’s and work)
  • Technical issues – adminstrative bits and pieces re my own busiensses that need chasing up on or doing
  • Home – anything that needs doing to maintain the four walls that house my family

With my Franchise clients, there is a certain amount of mothering that I have to do, in order to make sure that I am keeping on top of the things that they need to be doing and putting in place. I am very conscious that everything that I help them with today not only gets them closer to their business dreams, but also helps secure those dreams for the future. Franchising is (should be) quite due diligence based – do your homework thoroughly and get your ducks in a row before you start to bring franchisees on board who will immediately start ‘wanting’ things from you (and quite rightly so). (Here add items to to-do list related to these things!)

So, my next morning step is to double check all of my expertise  feeds. By this I mean, any new blog posts or emails subscriptions that might bear some nugget of information that may be important to me, my followers (social media), my businesses and/or my clients’ businesses. I also check my communities on my social media accounts and post any of these nuggets, or answer any comments that my followers may have posted over night. That should all take about an hour or so….then I move to the kettle and make a BIG cup of COFFEE to actually start my day.

With Franchising, there are so many elements to guiding your clients around the model and its intracacies that my day can literally turn up side down when a client refuses to take the path I’ve advised them and totally side step all the advice he’s received. This makes any consultant’s life a living nightmare, because you know the consequences of going down the ‘easy’ path and not the one that has been advised by you (for good reason.)

Unfortunately I have the added complication of franchising not being regulated in the UK and therefore any advice and guidance that I am giving my clients is really based on generally accepted best practice, bits of competition law and not a lot else. (Best practice of successful and ethically run franchise operations and the franchise professionals who helped them get there I might add)! So, I have to (diplomatically) drive my clients through self-made minefields when they have chosen the more exciting FAST route. Now, I might also add that minefields are not my favourite thing…especially for a suspected control freak who likes to be prepared every step of the way (er, like me). So, my other great skill is in foreseeing where I think my clients are likely to go and stop them in their tracks before they jump into that 4×4 to head into the minefield. This can take me up to lunchtime!

In between the minefield avoidance, I will of course have new prospective client meetings to organise or attend; put together new proposals; answer calls from random individuals who have no idea why they are calling me other than because they were ‘referred’ (that’s always a fun conversation) or even better… have decided that I should definitely, definitely meet up with them so that they can ‘pick my brain’. Super. Look forward to that taking me up to the end of my day…when I get to pick up my bouncy little girl who has had a fantasic day organising the play things in the kindergarten room she is in and playing in paint.

Where did it all go wrong? I loved kindergarten…why did I have to grow up, go to University and earn my drivers license for a 4 x 4 to drive through Minefields? Who knows….but guess what? Tomorrow is another day!

PS – Phew…overwhelm has subsided and I actually feel productive now! What bugs you about your day and pushes your buttons?

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Plan for Sabbaticals

A BreakWhile 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 🙂

Entrepreneur Junkie

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.

Click on this -> Ken Blanchard Vid for that kick up the butt you ordered 🙂