The Homogenous State

It struck me yesterday whilst I was sat sitting in Luton Airport that we must be approaching the golden age of franchising.  Just look about you: wherever there’s a group of people they’re all exactly the same.

It was a Friday night so there were various groups of people heading off to different locations.  A group of young men, I guess on their way to a stag weekend… some young ladies, I guess on their way to a hen weekend (both these groups ended up on the same flight as me going to Edinburgh) and other groups going away to sunnier climes… all interspersed with the occasional saddo business traveller like me.

The thing I noticed was that each member of these groups looked exactly the same as the other members.  They were wearing a sort of uniform.  But they didn’t all get dressed in the same place, they instinctively knew what the others would be wearing and therefore they wanted to be the same.

Perfect franchisees.  I almost went over to them to ask if they’d like to buy into a franchise network.

You see, even though franchisees run their own businesses, as a franchisor you don’t want entrepreneurs.  You are the entrepreneur; you had the original idea and do all the entrepreneurial stuff.

In Michael Gerber (The E-Myth) terms you are looking for managers and technicians – those people who will go forth into the world of business and propagate… no, not propagate… I meant go forth and follow your systems and processes without questioning them (too much).  The reason is that if they follow the processes as long as they are good processes, they will achieve what you said they would achieve when they first joined your network.

If they spend lots of time questioning your systems and processes, designing their own because they think they know better, in other words they are entrepreneurial, they won’t spend any time actually doing what they should.

For example, I trained a franchisee how to sell using the franchisor’s sales process.  A couple of months later the guy called me to say he wasn’t signing up many clients.

‘Are you following the process?’  I asked.

‘No,’ said he.  ‘I didn’t like it, so I designed my own and it’s so much more comfortable for me.’

‘Ah.’  I replied.  ‘Just out of interest, when you used the correct process what percentage did you sign up?’

‘About 65%.’

‘And the percentage using your process?’

‘Only about 25%.  There just isn’t the business out there.’

See what I mean?

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