Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur’

How Does Your Business Acumen Score?

I came across this at the back end of last year and thought I’d share it with you. I was making notes while listening to this presentation so it’s not word-for-word transcript but the gist and meaning is accurate.

Score yourself whichever number most closely describes your situation then we’ll look a little more closely at this exercise 😉

  1. You’ve studied a lot, done nothing and made no money
  2. You’ve studied a lot, done a few things and made less than you’ve spent
  3. You’ve studied a lot, tried several approaches, made some progress but no real money
  4. Some things are working, you’re making some money but doing everything yourself
  5. Some things are working, you’re making decent money, you’re gathering momentum but you’re flying solo
  6. You have a business that’s not growing enough; you’re making decent money but working too hard
  7. You’re working 80 hour weeks and growing a good business but you have no life
  8. You’re growing the business; it’s a full time job with weekends off
  9. The business is growing; it needs little attention, you’re making great money and you have a good life
  10. The business is growing without you; you have more money than you can spend and you’re loving life

What do you notice?

It’s very hard hitting and very obvious: Not much in the way of subtlety here! Unless you score yourself a 9 or 10, or possibly an 8, this little beauty is designed to make you feel uncomfortable and thoroughly dissatisfied with your lot.

But, and for me it’s a big but, it’s a very masculine approach. As an aside yet following the same thought, I don’t know if any of you have been following the Dan Kennedy Renegade Marketing video series recently? If you have it probably hasn’t escaped your notice that each of the people giving testimony to his brilliance is a bloke – there’s not one female entrepreneur in the line up! I wonder if that’s a comment on the number of successful male entrepreneurs versus female or the number of male clients he has versus female? I’m not questioning DK’s ability to help his clients make money but he certainly comes from an era when major buying decisions were made by men. Heavens – many women didn’t even have a bank account! :-(

All change!

I’ve heard data that cites up to 80% of buying decisions are now made by women. So, even if you think your target audience is male – you’d do well to address the feminine ‘hot buttons’, too. That includes your approach.

With regard to the questionnaire, I’ve been on this particular guy’s mailing list for a few years and there’s no doubt he’s made a name for himself as a successful entrepreneur who’s made the majority of his money selling programmes to help other entrepreneurs become successful. Yet over the last few months his communications come across as one who’s trying too hard: not far from coming right out with it that: if your business isn’t precisely where you want it to be, you’re an idiot if you don’t take him up on his offer – and pretty quickly, too as there are only so many places… yes, that old chestnut is still being trotted out! 😉

To be fair, the newer ‘kids on the block’ – blokes and, increasingly women – are taking a softer line. Their approach is more: “If this resonates with you and feels a good fit, let’s explore working together!”

I guess that’s a lesson for us all and it’s one I may explore some more in future posts because it’s not as straightforward as it may seem. For example, does it mean the questionnaire I’ve shown here should no longer be used?

What do you think? Leave your comment and share your view with us!


Franchisee: For Better, For Worse

For richer, for poorer

The idea of a franchise, to my mind, is to ‘plug the gaps’ for those who have maybe been employees and want or need or have no choice but to get out of employment by one person or company but don’t have rounded enough business skills to make a go of it on their own.

Okay, that’s a very broad generalisation but it fits an awful lot of people and circumstances: Ideally a good franchise should resemble a painting-by-numbers business option:

  • Manual
  • Systems support
  • Marketing support
  • Supplies support
  • Tool kit
  • and so on…

…to make a specific type of business an almost foregone success.

In fact I’d go as far as to say that a good, successful franchisor would definitely not want franchisees to be entrepreneurs – entrepreneurs are way too unpredictable and they’d be like herding cats for the franchisor: No. Nightmare in the making :-(

The franchising model works best as a symbiotic affair where franchisee and franchisor each know, understand and live up to what is expected of them. While they each do that to the very best of their ability it can be a marriage made in heaven… when the rules or the behaviour changes it’s likely to be the beginning of a rocky ride than can end in the ‘divorce’ courts…

Take a potential scenario

Specsavers started up in Guernsey in 1984. The timing was great:

  • Mary and Doug Perkins had sold their first Bristol venture of a group of 23 opticians for £2million in 1980 before ‘retiring’ to guernsey to be near Mary’s parents
  • Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of marketing and promotional activities for various of the professions, including opticians, in 1984 must have seemed like an omen to the Perkins
  • They started small, outlet by outlet
  • The Specsavers group has a fifty percent stake in each of the outlets, with the local opticians owning the other half – The Perkins describe the arrangement as a joint venture rather than a franchise (I’m not clear on the difference, but there you go
  • 😉 )

Consolidation or continued growth?

To all intents and purposes, Specsavers were doing and have done well by their franchisees or JVs:

In fact, come 2006 they spent £27 million on advertising. Specsavers long-running and successful advertising campaign is famously based on the catch-phrase ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ which appears on the company’s TV advertising.

But maybe there was a more sinister side to this seeming bid for not just UK but possibly world domination? Specsavers certainly, along with the other High Street players, had a go at closing down competition in the form of Glasses Direct which was selling direct on the Internet and undercutting them.

By all accounts that I’ve tracked down online it got very aggressive between the Glasses Direct MD and the Specsavers Chairman yet ended up as something of a Mexican stand off (for now, anyway 😉 …)

And that, as the saying goes, would have been that from the point of view of our little tale, except for the sting in the tail… (sorry: I just couldn’t resist…)

Franchisees’ worry about Specsavers’ next offensive

Purely as an observer of information that can readily be found online, this is where Specsavers HQ strategy seems to leave the rails.

It’ll help to bear the following in mind to grasp just why the franchisees were so up in arms:

  • The business had been built on fifty-fifty partnership (franchise) basis, with store owners concentrating on customer services, while benefiting from Specsavers’ marketing expertise and international supply chain.
  • In return for a substantial payment to Specsavers, franchisees are promised that Specsavers will not open another store nearby.
  • Specsavers, in order to beat Glasses Direct at its own game (?) now aimed to offer prescription spectacles for sale online from a starting price of £29.99, a fraction of the hundreds of pounds that Specsavers’ customers can expect

The upshot?

I don’t know but I’m sure you could easily find out if you’re interested… 😉

My point here is purely to suggest that, if you’re thinking of going the franchisee route, I suggest you make sure that you have the option to alter your terms and conditions pursuant to any changes made by the franchisor in the future :-)

Linda Mattacks - Small Business Training

Share your comments, thoughts and experiences..


Before you start your own business

Are you REALLY an Entrepreneur or more an Intrapreneur or Employee?

In the first decade of the 21st century change is all around us. Should you wait for it to catch up with you or instigate it yourself?

Are you seriously thinking of setting up in business for yourself? If so, are you likely to soar or fall flat on your face?

Should you maybe do your best to secure your current job instead or go all out for a better one?

Is there some kind of middle ground, like being a franchisee or rep/ agent?

What do you need to think about/ research/ investigate? What are your skills, assets and passions – yes, go on, go for it, passions best aligned to?

If you’re thinking of BIG changes, make sure your decisions are based on emotions and data.

PS: If having people around you is a big part of your working day, it’s worthwhile thinking seriously about how you’re going to replace that social interaction before setting up on your own.


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