Surely you would have heard of or visited franchises like K-mart, Gloria Jeans, Target, Hard Rock Cafe or even Mc Donald’s. One of the things these have in common is that they are all big thriving companies, they have multiple locations and differ in size, but they all have this one thing in common: Culture.
Visually all these companies look the same, the workers might be different people, but from store to store, these all speak the same language, use the same system, sell the same products, and if you would like to resume it in a phrase, we could say that they all carry the same vision.
It would be easy to think that all these businesses do is copy and paste what once may have started as a small business, but have you ever thought what this might look like? First o all a business doesn’t grow and multiply over night, these all requires planning and a whole lot of market study, so lets have a look at what the commonly known as “Copy & paste” process of a franchise really involves.
Defining the non-negotiables
Once you take that step of expanding from a small business to a big franchise, it is time for you to notice and choose which are the things that make the business what it is, or characterise it. Note that going from a small to a big company is nothing but an expansion (Not a switch or change) of what you have, since the business continues to be the same only on a bigger scale, which entails obviously more details to take care of.
You might have realised that when it comes to looks, every chain store shares a certain style, design and common set up according to the venue they are located in. This is one of the obvious non-negotiable, but what else can you take into account?
Do people love your business because of the customer service? Is it the way you treat with them? Or is it the presentation and quality of your products? It is the range of low prices what characterises your business or is it its creativity?
Whichever of these you recognise as key to your business’ success is something that you would have to keep and take into account when it comes to adding rooms to your “Business house”. I guess you would want every person to have a great experience no matter which store they choose to visit.
Communicating the essence
Even though it is not a business, I got to see an example of what communicating the essence of an institution looks like when interning for a global church. This church has campuses all over South Africa and also around the world including North and South America, Europe and Africa.
During my holidays I had the opportunity to attend and help at the Buenos Aires Campus and I have to say I was surprised. Even though the location was thousands of miles away from the original campus, and even though the culture and language were completely different in the city, the church felt exactly the same as the church in Cape Town.
Training sessions and nights on which the heart and the essence of the church are communicated and explained in detail, contribute to a very effective way of making sure the essence of the institution is passed on, understood and carried by new people.
Learning to adapt
Even though the essence is something you do not want to change when it comes to expanding your business across the nation or globe, cultural differences are something you will definitely have to deal with and can make the most out of.
Never be intimidated by something that is different. The fact that you are thrown into a different environment and range of customers should encourage you to study and learn what you can do with it. Is there a different store layout you can do? Could you add or replace something in your advertisement that will make it more effective in this context? Is there any specific need this context has that you can meet?
The way you interact with each of the contexts your business expands to, will determine your success in it.
In conclusion, don’t be scared! Enjoy the journey of expanding and allow this to be an experience that will increase your capacity as a leader and creative thinker. After all, this opportunity of influencing more spheres than the usual neighbourhood you grew up in, definitely is something to be grateful for.
Tell us! What other things would you take in account when expanding your business? How can you make the costumer’s experience just as great in ever location?