If you haven't read The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber,
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"It takes relaxation--and focus--to create and understand the balance in our lives."
-- Karl W. Palachuk
Why does McDonald's restaurant succeed? When one-of-a-kind restaurants come and go all the time, why does a chain like Red Robin or Chevy's or IHOP survive? Because they have consistency and reproducibility. You need this too.
My wife enjoys Starbuck's coffee shops and was very taken by their ability to produce a consistent experience time after time. One day, while waiting for her "tall non-fat decaf latte" she was looking through a book about the founding and principles of Starbuck's. As she relayed this to me, it sounded like the beginning chapters of Michael Gerber's E-Myth Revisited.*
Franchises (and company-owned chain stores) succeed because they have a "formula" that works. When you enter the store it looks familiar (even if every outlet is different, as with Hard Rock Cafés). The look, the feel, sometimes even the smell is familiar. The music, the merchandise, the layout, the greeting are all familiar.
Having spent many years and many dollars developing a recipe for success, these companies can now reproduce a consistent experience time after time.
That's what you need to do to guarantee your personal and professional success: provide a consistent and reproducible experience to your "customers." Your customers might be the public, or it might be your boss or the sales department. You really have to think about who your customers are.
The customer is not always the end-user that buys products or services from your company. That's somebody's customer, but not necessarily your customer. When I worked as one of the directors of a corporation, my "customer" was the owner. The people who worked for me had two customers--I was one and corporate clientele was the other.
Who is Your Customer?
For some time, Pacific Bell (SBC) support lines have been answered with the greeting "Thank you for calling Pacific Bell. This is (name). How may I provide you with excellent service today?" Wow! Talk about setting expectations. This greeting makes clear who the customer is.
Now think about your job. To whom should you promise "excellent service today?" Most employees are right to say "my supervisor." But most stop there and don't think about who else they should see as customers. The public, corporate clientele, and other employees may all be your customers.
Having identified your customers, consider yourself as a potential franchise. Let's say some day you want to franchise out the reception area or the marketing department, or information technology services. What image do you want to portray when people come into your "shop?" How will you greet them? How will you process their requests and provide them with services (here's the important part, get your highlighter) so that in the future they will choose to use your services because the experience is positive, familiar, and of consistent quality?
We've all been to record stores and book stores where it seems that there must be a requirement that employees have multiple piercings and tattoos. Then we wander down the street to a café where people of the exact same age group are clean-cut, free of piercings and tattoos. Is this by accident? Of course not. People are screened and hired based in part on the image that the shop wants to portray. There really is a such a thing as corporate culture. Whether it's free and easy or very professional, it should be intentional.
Your work space and work habits should also be considered and intentional, not haphazard and unintended. This doesn't mean you have to be uncomfortably familiar ("My name's Kimmie-Sue and I'll be your server this evening."). But again, how would you franchise your job so that it is successfully consistent and reproducible?
There are many things to consider:
|The level of professionalism (extreme highs are not always appropriate)|
|How people are greeted|
|How requests are handled|
|How you keep track of work|
Consider every aspect of your job. Be aware of the experience of others. Do people say "I wish we had a dozen more people like that around here"? Or do they say "If I could get rid of just one employee, that's the one"?
Begin Today. You don't need a program to begin your franchise process. You don't need your boss's permission. You shouldn't need an incentive program.
Remember, you can begin every day the process of becoming the "new you." What part of you do you want more of? And what part of you would you like to get rid of? Start today: Begin fine-tuning your franchise.
* A great book every small business owner needs to read.