The dilemma of growth

It’s a funny old game being in business; just as you’re thinking one thing, the opposite happens and you have to change your mindset PDQ.

I’m in Dublin right now delivering out Business Acceleration Programme to five new franchisees.

I know what you’re thinking… five days in Dublin must be pretty tough. And you’d be right.

Business in Ireland has been difficult for the last couple of years. In fact, I would say that it’s been harder than in the UK; the crash has been bigger, deeper and affected more people.

As a result I’d already had a conversation with the franchisor and was fully expecting the number of courses we deliver next year to reduce to two from the three we do now, with the resultant drop in our income.

So, it was with some trepidation that I arrived for a briefing on Monday morning, fully armed with my new, lower figures.

And what does the franchisor say?

‘Richard, we’ve got a fair wind behind us and I want to capture that momentum and I want to run five courses next year instead of two. What do you think?’

At first the Euro symbols rang around my eyes. How wonderful! I expected to leave with less money, but was actually going to leave with more!

But then my better judgement (and conscience, if I’m honest) came on line. To go from an expected two courses to five is just too much of a leap. It might well be that they can recruit the expected numbers, after all there are always winners and losers in a recession, but there are other considerations.

Like building the support function so it can cope, dealing with the logistics of such an influx of franchisees, credit control and so on.

I found myself in the unusual position of arguing for less business rather than more.

Our agreement, then, reflects the ‘desire’ to grow quicker and the reality of franchise recruitment.

It’s exactly the same as it was last year.

Except with the proviso that we’ll review half way through and add courses if needed.

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