The importance of walking the talk

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I am continually amazed at what appears to me to be a growing gap between what people say and what they actually do.

In the business world one would expect it to be relativity simple, be clear on what you are offering, and deliver on that. Walk the talk – or just do what you say you are going to do. In other words, deliver.

These gaping holes appear everywhere. From how long it takes to get a cup of coffee and the quality or lack of said coffee, through to having supposedly customer-centric large companies address customers’ issues.

What’s this got to do with franchising? I believe the franchise business model can address the delivery of walk the talk in a number of unique ways.

Franchise systems provide frameworks

Franchising involves the systemisation and documentation of a business process, service or product.

To be successful as a brand, a franchise system needs to be not only be good at, but able to reproduce the process, and train others to do it. Reproduce, refine, develop.

A franchise is also more likely to monitor feedback and use it as a proxy measure of customer delivery versus solely revenue. Whatever it is, chances are that it will evolve over time and benefit from group learnings.

The franchise mind set

As a business model, franchising is not for everyone, but a successful franchisee will be one that is able to follow a model or process.

This starts at the beginning when they apply for or examine a franchise business. The franchisor is able to see quickly whether or not the franchisee can follow an application process. If they can follow the systems here they are more likely to follow the systems that are designed to walk the talk in the business itself. The franchisee picks up the system, and one supports the other.

Human nature helps. As competitive individuals, franchisees often share and compare information on performance, which leads, no great surprise, to improved performance. Corporates may have similar benchmarking, but for franchisees it’s far more personal, which leads us to the last area where they have a great incentive to walk the talk.

Everyone has skin in the game

Here’s the big kicker and it’s a factor that is very difficult for a corporate model to emulate. A franchisee has a personal and vested interest to deliver.

Incentive programs, KPI’s and the like cannot reproduce for an employee what the personal skin in the game provides for a franchisee. It’s personal – their livelihoods depend on it. They are closer to the customer interaction and as such more motivated to walk the talk.

Add the next layer to this. A good franchisor will ensure that the franchisee is walking the talk. They will receive coaching, training and if ultimately, they are unable to walk the talk, the franchisor will assist them in walking along.

I am not saying that a franchise business is going to deliver the goods each and every time, because obviously there are multiple factors involved.

However, starting with a systemised approach for a business that has already proven that it works, delivered by an individual that has a personal interest in delivering well on the business offering, sounds promising to me.

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Nathan Bonney
Nathan Bonney
Director of Iridium Partners. He can be reached at nathan@iridium.net.nz or 0275-393-022

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