Sometimes working with smaller businesses, especially in franchising, can be… different to working in corporate.
On occasion it can be slightly less politically correct than perhaps it should be.
Like the time I was delivering some training to a group of franchisees some years ago. It was a car valeting franchise and the franchisor, fairly typically, had started by valeting cars himself but had successfully managed to franchise his business.
Friday afternoon was always photo time so franchisees could get their mugs on their own pages of the website. The franchisor was taking the pictures with his digital camera when he turned to our new trainer who had come from a very proper corporate organisation and said:
‘Right, pop your clothes on the chair love and let’s get a photo.’
Hmmm… strong words were spoken.
However, the other side of the coin to this political incorrectness is, generally speaking, a real and genuine caring attitude not only towards their franchisees but even to people like me.
After all, I’m only a contractor and I will turn up next month because I have a contract that I must. That’s why I’m always really grateful to clients who show that caring attitude… it means a lot to be invited to the Christmas party and to be given the same vouchers as a thank you that the staff received.
It really struck home to me the other day, though.
I was leaving for a trip first thing in the morning. In fact, I was leaving so early, it was the previous night! At 3.00am there’s not much else about apart from the occasional fox.
So, I left and my wife called me as I was leaving, I thought to tell me she loved me. Actually she was calling to request an alarm call at 7.30!
The next day she received several calls from a mutual client of ours. He left several messages asking if she was okay and did she need any help?
A bit mystified she called him when she finally got free of meetings.
Apparently she’d called him at 3.05am, hadn’t left a message and just hung up. She’d simply pressed the number for the last call she’d made from the office thinking it was me!
The thing that touched me, though, was how a client was so concerned that he made several calls the next day to check that everything was okay. To me that’s the difference between Enterprise Britain and the rest of the world.