In last week’s article, you saw that all businesses go through three phases: infancy, adolescence, and maturity. And you also saw that to be successful you need to be capable of acting as an executor, as an entrepreneur, and as a manager.
How can you manage all these roles without splitting yourself into three? The solution lies in thinking about your business as a franchise, in creating a ‘turnkey’ business. It’s like when you go to the car dealer to look for a new set of wheels.
What do cars have to do with running your own company? Perhaps nothing, or perhaps everything. The truth is that understanding this point could revolutionize your business activity.
FRANCHISING: THE ‘TURNKEY’ BUSINESS
What does this mean? What does setting up a franchise, or a ‘turnkey’ business, involve?
Take the car example. The ‘turnkey’ solution avoids a lot of headaches and time-consuming red tape. The car comes with everything you need, ready to drive – no additional expenses or procedures required.
The same applies to business. This means setting up a business in such a way that you can simply hand over the keys to anyone. And in such a way that this anyone would be able to keep your business going without any problems.
So, you need to create a model that by its own nature functions perfectly and almost automatically, without the need for your presence. This is a franchise. As Michael Gerber explains in The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It , although 80% of businesses fail within the first five years, on the other hand, 75% of franchised businesses succeed! Don’t you think that’s quite astonishing?
The reason they succeed is simple: people are interested in becoming franchisees. Think about it – this makes perfect sense. If your business is already structured to work optimally, (almost) anyone can manage it with the minimum amount of effort and be sure of succeeding. That’s why franchises are so attractive.
So, specifically, what Gerber calls the ‘turnkey revolution’ is the following:
You have to create a business with the idea in mind that one day you can sell it. And when this happens, you won’t be selling only the products or services you offer, but the entire system and all the processes contained within your business.
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, knows this very well. Whichever branch of his fast food restaurant chain you go into, you always find the same hamburgers, made in exactly the same way, accompanied by the same sauces, served with the same sides, as part of the same meals.
Ray set up processes that anyone can follow to get the same kind of hamburger every time. In any McDonald’s in the world.
START SMALL, THINK BIG
Don’t worry, I’m not saying you should set up a big franchise business like McDonald’s. In fact, you don’t have to set up a franchise business at all. I’m just trying to convince you of the importance of having a system.
As I explained a few weeks ago, creating a system helps you organise your business activities in a structured way and ensures that your business doesn’t tire you out. But there’s more to it than this!
Having a system will mean that the business can keep going even if you’re not there. If you still haven’t grasped the importance of this point, I’ll tell you about something that happened with my previous business.
I co-founded the business in 2011 along with an associate. Within a short space of time, we had begun to offer a number of courses in the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland and we were satisfied with the results we were achieving.
At a certain point, thanks to a series of fortuitous circumstances, we received an acquisition proposal from another training company. We were over the moon!
Once our initial enthusiasm had subsided, we very soon became aware of a far-from-trivial issue: in our company, my business partner and I were the owners. We were the staff. We were the managers. And the PR representatives too. In other words, the two of us did everything.
So you can see the problem: what would sell the business mean? Would we become employees of the company that was buying us out? What would be our roles? How would our business activities be absorbed into the acquiring company?
The answers were unclear, precisely because our roles and our business were, in practice, the same thing. If we were no longer there, our business, too, would no longer exist.
Don’t make the same mistake. By creating a system, a business independent of your presence, you can make sure that your business keeps going over time.
Not because you’ll have to sell it one day, but because if you adopt this perspective right away you’ll create a solid basis for its future growth.
ESTABLISH PROCESSES AND CREATE AN ORG CHART
You need to think of your business in terms of it being able to function independently of the person who is performing the processes. This means creating a system that is both simple and functional, to the point where it no longer needs to be implemented by a specialist.
For example, if you produce pastries, you’d need to think about how to create an operations manual that details the exact procedure for making the pastries. This is the only way you can teach other people, and other people after them, how it’s done. And this way you’ll ensure that the same standards of quality are consistently achieved.
I know very well that this is easier said than done, particularly when you’re just starting out. However, if you want to avoid working twenty hours a day, seven days a week, you need to think about all these things right now.
As Gerber suggests, one thing you can do right from the outset is to map out an organisational chart for your business. Yes, exactly, an org chart. A chart that shows the roles within the business.
It’s not as difficult as it may seem. Take a sheet of paper and start to write down the various tasks you perform. Write down absolutely all of them and try to go into a lot of detail.
Write down even the ones that might seem the most trivial (for example, replying to emails, sharing your articles on social media, creating cover graphics and so on).
After this, group the various activities into categories. For example, group together all the tasks related to client management, marketing management, updating the website, and so forth.
Gradually you’ll see figures or roles, start to take shape: customer services manager, marketing manager, web designer, and so on. Of course, at the beginning, you’ll be the one covering all these roles.
However, as soon as the business starts to grow, you’ll quickly be able to identify which of the roles you might need help with, as well as the specific tasks your new colleagues will need to perform.
And you yourself will be able to keep focusing on the important aspects of the business.
Can you see how it’s possible to develop the business and continue to create value without the whole thing becoming unmanageable? J
OVER TO YOU
Now the ball is in your court. Choose a specific category of business activity and start outlining all the necessary steps for it to be done well. Don’t skimp on the specifics – try to go into as much detail as possible.
Of course, it’s a bit of a drag doing this for every single process. You don’t have to do the whole thing immediately. Start with one and then, little by little, do the same thing for all of them.
For example, I described all the steps needed to publish an article on this blog. Between coming up with a topic, drafting the text, inserting the images, hitting on a title, and so on, in total I came out with over 30 steps!
It took a long time to list them all, but now that the steps are clearly written down I could entrust anyone with the task of managing my articles.
Once you’ve outlined all your processes, you’ll have a business made up of such clear and structured systems that you’ll easily be able to delegate when the need arises.
Keep up the good work,