[Opinion piece] Working on and in your business – a must in franchising
In the business world, owners are often told that the key to steering their company to success comes down to how well they can delegate to others to complete the front-of-store activities, allowing them to do the more ‘strategic’ work. This, with the idea that they will then have the opportunity to focus on the brand, with the bigger picture in mind. While it is never a bad idea to work smartly in business, this way of running things will not be effective in all instances. The franchising concept, for instance, does call for a franchisee to be as involved as they possibly can in building the store or brand – from the inside and out. National Operations Manager of The Fish & Chip Co, Werner Hedder, shares more insight on this topic below.
The definition of owner management basically goes that working in your store means physically performing the core functions that the business is built upon. From taking orders to training and paying staff, this way of working calls for the owner to be hands-on in all aspects of its internal workings. Working on the business comes down to ensuring the right systems and strategies are in place, and the right people are employed to complete the needed tasks to ensure success.
The best option? A balance of both.
Why you should work IN your business:
Within the franchising model it has been evident in the past that franchise stores operate better when the franchisee is directly involved and hands-on in the business. Hands-on management loosely refers to an owner who offers a pro-active presence in the store, and continually encourages and motivates their team members to promote problem-free, productive operations.
Unfortunately, many business owners – especially those in franchising – have been blinded by the misconception that they can simply hand over the reins of a store to a manager to oversee and run. The fact of the matter is that even if an owner has the best managerial team, their business will never achieve optimal success if they are not playing an active role. In franchising it is imperative to keep a close eye on the pulse of progress so that all is kept on the right track, and issues are identified and addressed sooner rather than later. Any deviations, whether it be poor stock management or improper staff training can have a devastating effect on the bottom line.
When faced with this misconception, it is important for the owner to remember that no other staff member will ever really be as committed to and passionate about the business as they are. No one will grasp the weight of the investment made better than they will or be as concerned over turnover.
Why you should work ON your business:
Aside from taking an active stance on business, other key owner tasks need to be implemented. These include planning with the team, reviewing progress and taking the needed corrective steps to restore any imbalances.
At the end of the day, active management is nothing when the owner is not focusing on the future by working on their store. Franchisees, even though they are in the safe confines of a structured franchise, still need to develop a vision for the company, have key values that determine how the business is run and have the proper ‘course correcting’ tools in place. If an owner is too focused on being active in the business, the chances of them losing sight of what lies outside of it, which can only really be identified when working on the business, is a great possibility that could lead to their own demise.
The secret therefore doesn’t lie in how active or reactive you are in your company, but in how you strike a balance between these to the benefit of your business at present and in the future.