entrepreneur

3 Reasons Why Operations Manuals Are Not Just For Franchises

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Lately I've met with a number of clients who have toyed with the idea of turning their business into a franchise. Some are exploring franchising due to customers as well as potential investors asking if they have ever considered franchising. Others have an internal desire to see their brand duplicated in various locations. The ins-and-outs of franchising is a foreign concept to those owners who were prodded by outside influencers. They typically are in the dark about what the process entails or even where to start. Conversely, those owners who are internally driving themselves to consider franchising at least have an idea of what is involved in becoming a Franchisor. But no matter where the idea originated from, these business owners share two things: 1) they don't have an Operations Manual in place and, 2) they know that they need one!

By merely doing Google searches for these clients, it became evident to me very quickly that every resource on franchising required the Franchisor to have a very detailed Operations Manual in place. (I have also seen Operations Manuals referred to as Process Manuals or Business Systems.) The term itself is nowhere near as important as having the manual in the first place. Think about if you were going to purchase a Chick-Fil-A for instance. The Operations Manual would be a vital part of your success because it will tell you EVERYTHING from exactly how long to cook the sandwiches to what the layout of the store looks like. After outlining my findings to each of these prospective Franchisors, they each agreed how important it was to the Franchise model.

So why hadn't any of them - especially those actively pursuing franchising - created an Operations Manual? 

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You guessed it...TIME! 

An Operations Manual takes a lot of time to create and it also takes time away from focusing on revenue producing activities. And none of these business owners could afford to allocate the time necessary to put all their processes on paper. But there were three (3) reasons that these entrepreneurs gave for needing an Operations Manual for their respective company:

1) An Operations Manual will help them run their business.

First and foremost the Operations Manual will provide a detailed record of how the business works. This makes it easier for everyone - from the Founder to the newest team member - to be on the same page. Most people who start a business end up running it on auto-pilot. And what I mean by that is they have become so good at what they do that they no longer have to think about it. Everything has become instinctual to them which can create a challenge when trying to relay what's in their heads to an inexperienced employee. 

2) An Operations Manual will ease the pain of hiring and training.

This is one of the most important reasons to have an Operations Manual. By knowing what is involved with the specific aspects of running the company, the recruiting and hiring efforts become strategic. If you know exactly what the potential new team member will be doing in your company, you can look for specific traits and characteristics during the recruiting and interviewing process. You also have a framework for training that new employee once they have made it through your documented hiring process. (I recommend that every Operations Manual have a Training component to it.) Included in the Operations Manual should also be Job Descriptions that will include the pay structure of each position.

3) An Operations Manual will set the groundwork for a succession strategy.

No matter whether you are building your company in hopes of creating a family legacy or plan to sell it in the future, an Operations Manual is a vital part of any succession strategy. Even though your plans may include passing the business to your children and grand-children, God-forbid that something happens to you resulting in your family inheriting the business with no formal training. With the Operations Manual, they will know exactly what to do and will at least have a fighting chance to succeed.

If your plans are to sell equity stakes in your company or to sell it 100%, then an Operations Manual will help to increase the value. Detailed "How-To's" are like gold during the valuation process. And of course the higher your company's value, the more money it could fetch from investors.

If you are thinking about starting a business, make sure to allocate time and resources to setting up an Operations Manual from the beginning. It's a lot easier to do it up front. For those who are already succeeding as business owners, don't wait another day before getting started on your company's Operations Manual.

I am available to discuss your specific needs for an Operations Manual. Simply leave a comment or contact me privately using the form below.

4 Tips For Naming Your Company

One of the first steps you need to take after deciding what business you want to be in is to choose the right name. In this video I give you 4 simple tips to naming your business.

Tip #1 - Be Original
Tip #2 - What is Your Company About
Tip #3 - Don't Limit Your Growth
Tip #4 - Add a Slogan

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A Great "How-To": Are You Ready For The Yes?

This is the first book I have read in a long time where I actually studied as if I was preparing for a college exam! Usually I'll read through a book and highlight some key points to refer back to later for myself and/or for my clients. Are You Ready For The Yes? was totally different. It started with me reading 1/2 the book during a recent flight and realizing that I was highlighting entire pages at a time instead of my usual line or two here and there. I couldn't wait to get home and tackle a few more chapters that night. That is until I realized while unpacking that I had left the book in the airport! I immediately put in a lost-and-found claim and went right back to Amazon to order another copy just in case it was never found. The content was too good to "wait-and-see" if it would turn up at the airport. I finished the book in record time - for me - and then immediately proceeded to implement the strategies that are outlined by Audria Richmond.

Are You Ready For The Yes? shows you how to prep your personal brand for lucrative opportunities, as it says right on the cover. The step-by-step nature of her recommendations make it easy for anyone to start from scratch or take the next step in the quest for personal branding. It is obvious that Mrs. Richmond is speaking from experience and transfers that experience to the reader in a manner that makes her words create action. The steps that she outlines in the opening chapters of the book align with the steps I took to launch my personal brand. (Click here to check out my blog post "Tighten Up".) I'm looking forward to studying this book with the fever of a Doctoral candidate as I prepare to catapult my own personal brand to the next level! I highly recommend picking up your copy of this book by Audria Richmond today!

2 Simple Steps to Grow Your Business!

I want to share an experience I had yesterday with a dry cleaners. To set the stage, I was using this company exclusively for a few years while working at my previous employer but I hadn't been there for almost 3 years now. So I stop by yesterday morning because I needed some new shirts pressed and returned pretty quickly. As was customary, I pulled up to the drive-through and was promptly greeted by the proprietor. I handed him my shirts and he went to the computer to plug in my phone number. Once he did, there was a short pause of puzzlement followed by him asking me "From Infiniti?". I replied "Yes" and he asked "Do you still work there?". When I told him that I hadn't worked there in a couple of years, he replied "Ok" with a sigh of relief as he now seemed to accept why I hadn't been there in so long. He told me what the charge would be, confirmed a pick-up time that was convenient for me, handed my the receipt and then something totally unexpected happened: he attempted to upsell me! After concluding the transaction, he said "We have some new services that we now offer since the last time you were here" and he began pitching the 4-5 additional revenue streams that had been added. I smiled in acceptance of his sales pitch before heading on with my day.

My goal with sharing this interaction is that you will see the same two lessons from our encounter that I did:

  1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS. Even if you don't, or can't, take the time to personally get to know your clients, make the best use of your CRM tool. If you don't know what a CRM is, I would recommend starting there. I'm sure he didn't remember that I worked at Infiniti but at some point in the past that information was input into their CRM.
  2. PROVIDE YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH ADDITIONAL PRODUCTS/SERVICES. I was really surprised by the fact that he took the time to actually pitch me on his new services, with a brief example of how I might use each one. Be careful not to add additional products or services just for the sake of adding them. Make sure they are beneficial to your clients as well as compliment your existing business model. It is more profitable to have repeat and referral customers than it is to acquire new ones.

There are two key opportunities that were missed in this interaction as well:

  1. KEEP YOUR CRM UPDATED! Someone did a great job of inputting my employment information previously but he didn't ask me where I worked now so that he could update his records. He could've used that as an opportunity to find out which of his new services I would most likely use in the future.
  2. STAY IN CONTACT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS! If you recall from early on in the narrative, I hadn't been to his cleaners in a few years. The business made no attempt to find out why! No they didn't have my physical or email address but I still use the same telephone number that is in his CRM. Keep in mind that I was getting my clothes cleaned at least bi-monthly yet I never received a call when I stopped coming in. If nothing else, he could've used his new offerings as a reason to reach out and invite me back to his shop.

Take this opportUNITY to learn from what you've just read. If you implement these two simple steps while capitalizing on his two missed opportunities, your business will immediately experience substantial growth. Work smart and SELL, SELL, SELL!