The dream of launching your own business is so potent that it’s hard for many entrepreneurs to look far beyond that golden moment. Sure, you’ve got a business plan and are ready to take the rough with the smooth. But how much insight do you really have into what that will mean in practice?
Beyond the challenges of getting your product established and your business operating smoothly, you’ll also find that you’re facing an emotional journey in motivating yourself to keep going – plus motivating any investors to keep walking the road with you.
I can best demonstrate this through a business lifecycle that I’m very familiar with personally and professionally – franchising.
I often refer to the six key stages outlined by Greg Nathan in his book, The Franchise E-Factor, when I’m presenting training workshops to our Cash Converters’ franchisees.
1Feel the glee
Nathan calls the first stage “Glee”, recognising that thrill of getting the go-ahead from your bank, investor or franchisor to embark on this exciting and somewhat daunting journey.
The advantage for franchisees is that the franchisor teaches them the “recipe” of the business.
They soon realise, though, that like any other startup, it’s up to them to “bake the cake” – to make the business happen and grow by engaging with it, following the agreed business model and setting up effective operational controls.
2Know the fee
When things go well, franchisees’ confidence grows. They can even begin focusing on the energy and inspiration they’ve put into growing their franchise and reach a stage of questioning what they’re getting for their franchise fee.
“Why am I paying royalties, when I do all the work?” some of them wonder.
3“What about me?”
A few move on to thinking, “Maybe I could get the bigger slice of the pie that I believe I deserve if I cut out the franchisor or my investors?” This can be prompted by business conditions, such as sales figures flatlining or, worse still, cashflow not covering key overheads such as taxes and other regulatory requirements.
4“Time to break free?”
The next stage is critical in ensuring the business relationship is or becomes truly reciprocal.
I believe this is when a franchisor or investor needs to show leadership by convincing the franchisee or entrepreneur of the synergy in their relationship and the mutual benefits that it has brought and will bring.
5Watch and see
When that works, the road should get smoother and the business should blossom. Or you might spot the franchisee acting out his or her success for all the world to see. Maybe this is with flashy cars and other accessories of a bling lifestyle.
It could be partying around town, even substance abuse, gambling or having affairs. Again this needs a franchisor or investor to step in like a lifestyle coach, underline how unsustainable such behaviour is and refocus the franchisee on the business.
6The triumph of “we”
We know and appreciate that Cash Converters franchisees represent the brand at the coal face. If they need any assistance, whether business or personal, it’s in our mutual interest to open the doors and help that happen as between two mature adults.
Starting your own business is a big step for anyone. Recognising and succeeding in keeping your franchising or investment team onside as the business develops is a vital survival challenge.
When you achieve this, you will be able to look round proudly and say, “See what we built together.”