There are countless things you can do to make your business successful, and even more to ensure its failure. There are plenty of lessons independent business people can learn from franchises to help them stay successful, after all, there’s a reason franchises have a much higher long term success rate over independents. Here are two key ideas to help ensure your business lasts for the long haul.
1. Quality – Can you deliver your product or service well? Figure out a way to produce and sell your product, or deliver your service in a way that meets the expectations of you and your customer. Do they know what it should be? Identify its qualities, attributes and specifications. Be clear about what they are, don’t leave any part of the decision up until the moment it happens. Quality can be done at a low cost, it doesn’t have to imply expensive. There’s an intrinsic value to doing it accurately and the way you want it done. Whether it’s a service or a product, the true meaning of quality is whether you are doing it to the specifications you desire – high or low cost, it doesn’t matter. The classic example is McDonald’s Big Mac. Whether you love it or not, you know exactly what it is. McDonald’s has created it to an exacting specification, not to the whim of the cook actually making it when its ordered.
2. Repeat-ability – Can you deliver your product or service well EVERY TIME? Do you have the systems in place to make sure you are executing the production of your product or service every time? Some people get bored with checklists or find them too regimented. Have you ever been on a plane? Every pilot goes through an extensive checklist before every flight. It doesn’t matter if it’s their first flight or if they’ve flown a thousand times. You complete the checklist to make sure every step in your process is completed the way it was designed, each and every time, without exception. It ensures quality control and helps deliver what your customer wants: the same reliable, consistent service whenever they purchase from you. You should build a process around the design of your product to make sure you can accommodate its creation and delivery the same way every time. Make a systematized machine out of the process. To use the McDonald’s example again – once the Big Mac was designed, they created a system in the restaurant that would allow any one of their employees (once trained) to create a Big Mac the same each order. The ingredients are the same and in the same place, the equipment is in the right place and set to the right temperature and the packaging is the right size and in the right spot – EVERY SINGLE TIME. No exceptions. It takes the variability of being ‘people dependent’ out of the equation and makes it ‘systems dependent’ – a much better way to ensure longevity. Customers come to know and expect what the product will be – and that is a powerful way to ensure your customers needs are met consistently and ensures they will keep coming back for more.
Unless you are buying “surprises”, most people want to know what they are getting when they pay for something. Ensuring your product or service is made to a certain specification and that that specification can be repeated over and over is a sure way to help keep your growing business on the path to continued success. Remember: create the model to the quality you want and then be able to repeat it over and over. Make your business a machine that churns out success.
I always welcome your comments, please feel free to share your thoughts.