One of the very first questions I ask my prospective franchisor clients is ‘What is Your Winning Formula?’….and generally I get a blank look in return! That’s ok though, because that is a normal response.
How many of us business owners ever stop to work out what is working in what we are doing every day and what isn’t? The answer: few….but more than you would think. In franchising this is a crucial thinking step that needs to be taken before you can even consider growing using the franchise model. I’d like to give you some help though – its pretty difficult trying to step outside of yourself and work out what your formula is.
TIP 1: Listen to What Your Customers Say
When you get feedback from your customers on you; your customer service; or your product/service what do they actually say? I mean – look at things like:
- The service you gave when they approached you
- The service level by which you managed them through from “order” to delivery of the service or product
- The way in which (system or process) they were looked after (and communicated with)
- The actual service or product delivered
- Follow-up contact
TIP 2: Study What Comes Absolutely Natural to You
This is the hard one, because most people look too hard and can’t actually identify what that looks like. The best thing to do here is to engage your business circle of friends, contacts, staff and possibly even some trusted clients and ask them this question: What Would You Say is My Natural and Unique Ability?
I did this exercise a good few years ago – via email, so that I could record all of the responses – it was fab! Mainly because my circle very nicely highlighted what they perceived to be my strengths as a consultant – which helped me to be better placed to ‘market’ myself.
Purpose of this TIP is to really get to the crux of what makes your business stand out from the competition because of what YOU actually add to the mix.
TIP 3: Describe the ‘System’ By Which You Work
Everyone has a process cycle they have created in their business – what does yours look like? So, from the point of starting to market your product/service to the end result of having sold something to a client and having successfully completed the cycle….jot this down…step-by-step. (And if you have a good client follow-up or retention scheme…then of course add this in.)
TIP 4: Map It Out
Take your observations and notes from TIP 3…and map it out on a big A1 size flipchart. Then, in different colours, take the feedback and notes you have made from TIP 1 and TIP 2…and bulk up the detail around the flow diagram you have drawn of your process.
TIP 5: Stand Back and Observe
Now, after having completed the TIPS and exercise described above…stand back from the flowchart and have a good look at what you see.
- What stands out clearly for you (as a Unique Selling Point) of your process
- Are there any bits that could be taken out (in order to streamline the process and create a tighter model)
- What is missing (if anything)..and if you just added that one thing it would really make the whole model
By steadily working through those tips – you should get a pretty good idea of what your winning formula is. It will become clearer to you perhaps even a few weeks after you have done the exercise – because other seeds start to drop in your mind and you go “Ah, hey…that’s another thing that makes my process (formula) work smoother and convert custsomers faster. Let me jot that down…”
This is an exercise that can go on for weeks….so don’t try and do it overnight and set yourself up for disappointment when it doesn’t all become very clear instantly. You will get there – I promise. And when you do – and you have “bottled” that formula…you will be ready to replicate it!
Let me know how you get on…by commenting on this post (ask me questions too if you need to!) and/or going to my Facebook Page which you can find by clicking here.