As business owners, your number one responsibility is to make decisions and lead the team. That said, in all my years as a business advisor, it is surprising that the one area that I see many business owners struggle with is decision-making.
3 Steps To Making Better Decisions
As the leader of a company, people are relying on you to make prompt, clear-cut decisions – whether you delay or run away from the decision-making all together will directly impact the success of your business and team. Having a good process in place for making decisions is the best way to ensure you are making the right decision, and keeping all matters consistent.
I’ve outlined below a simple three-step process that will help you make better decisions
Step 1: Clearly Identify the Issue
The first step in solving any problem for good is making sure that you’re addressing the cause, and not the symptom. Too often I see business owners or leaders get stuck looking at the symptoms and mulling them over and over, yet never addressing the root cause of the issue that needs to be addressed. When you identify the issue, it sets the groundwork for making a decision.
Step 2: Solicit Input
Depending on what the issue is, invite staff or senior management to share their input and partake in a group discussion with you. Hold a meeting in which you clearly state that you value their opinions and want to have a frank and honest discussion. Listen to their opinions. This should be a one-time meeting on the topic and once you have heard from all the parties, you can tell them when you’ll be making a final decision on this issue and thank them for their participation. The point of the meeting is NOT to have the team make a decision for you, but rather to weigh in on the topic so you can make a more educated decision.
Step 3: Make a Decision
The final step in the process is the most basic, but sometimes the hardest. Make a decision and move on. You are the boss and making decisions is your top job responsibility. So after you’ve heard from your key people, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do, assign responsibilities for getting it done, and move on. Remember there is no perfect decision!
A successful company needs a leader with clarity; one who can make decisions and communicate the rationale behind them. Wouldn’t you want to follow a good leader?
Do you find it hard to make decisions? How has good or bad decision-making affected your business? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
I have focused the last several blogs on providing some insightful tips to help individuals on their journey when deciding to own a business, whether that be starting your own business, buying an existing business or buying a franchise.
There has been a lot of planning and research done to get you to the point where you make a decision, and launch your business. It is one of the most fulfilling things you may ever experience when you get the key to your new office, hire your staff, and get your office set up. The first couple of months in a new business is very busy, and can leave you on a bit of a high, but by month three or four when you start receiving bills and revenues are less than you forecasted, it can be very discouraging.
With over 40 years of business experience, and specifically the last 10 as a franchise owner, I can tell you that all businesses experience difficult times. For some it’s hard to find prospects while for others it’s hard to close deals, but no matter how difficult it seems at the time, stick to your plan and processes and you will get through it.
As entrepreneurs we will get stuck from time to time, and it is important to see that as an opportunity to think outside the box, challenge our comfort zones and get on with making our dreams a reality.
How About You?
If you are running your own business, what types of exercises do you do when you’re stuck? I look forward to hearing your stories in the comments below.
Are you ready to dive into the world of franchise ownership, but aren’t sure exactly where to start? You aren’t alone! The franchise industry is large, and one can easily get lost if they are not sure what they’re looking for. Using my experience from my own TAB franchise ownership, this week I would like to share with you the steps involved in finding the right franchise business for you.
- Decide on what industry you’re interested in. I mentioned in my blog last week that there is so much more to the franchise industry than fast food restaurants. Do not limit yourself to looking in just one area. Explore all the industries, from food and retail, to finance and professional services. Do not be afraid of the unknown – look at all options as opportunities to learn something new. Most importantly, determine what you’re passionate about to guide your search.
- Select at least three franchises in your industry of choice. Being able to compare the franchises will prove extremely helpful when deciding which is the best fit for you.
- Contact each franchisor and discover who they really are. Inquire about the process involved in purchasing a franchise. Every good franchisor will have a clearly outlined process. Having this conversation with the franchisor is crucial before continuing to narrow down your search.
Note: Be wary of franchisors that look for money upfront or require you to sign any commitment at this stage. These are red flags that should bring their credibility into question. Their process should allow you to determine how fast or slow you want to proceed.
- Review the franchise disclosure document. It should provide a complete picture of the franchisor from legal structure to financials as well as detail franchisee commitments and franchisor responsibilities. You may want to have an experienced franchise lawyer review this with you.
- The fun begins when you are ready to visit head office and meet the people you’ll be working with. You should meet all the key individuals you will be working with and learn about their training program, marketing resources and other support systems they have in place.
- Before making your final decision, you should have access to all existing and past franchisees so you can ask them about their experiences with their franchise and their relationship with the franchisor. Make sure you have all the answers you need before signing any agreements with, or paying any money to the franchisor.
- Once you’ve made your decision to move forward with purchasing the franchise, communicate your interest to the franchisor and ask for the franchise contract. Be sure to have the contract reviewed by your lawyer.
- Your initial payment usually includes the licensing fee, marketing support, and training. These three components are necessary for the success of your franchise.
Keep in mind that processes for small and large franchises may differ. Size changes a number of variables, so keep that in mind when comparing franchisors.
I always enjoy hearing from you. Please share your franchise questions or stories in the comments below.
If you’re thinking of purchasing a franchise, your process is going to differ greatly from those thinking of starting a business or purchasing an existing one. Franchise ownership brings with it a unique set of challenges, risks, and benefits that some do not completely grasp.
The first and most important question I ask anyone investing in a franchise is “have you done your homework?” The number of franchises available is endless, and what most don’t realize is a franchise is more than just your typical fast food restaurant or retail store. It is important to move past the bricks and mortar concept of a franchise and see the franchise world in its entirety. For example the professional services franchises industry, which handles white-collar jobs, like career coaching and banking services, is surging ahead of the typical retail franchises. Spurred by middle-management and upper-management individuals with expertise in a field, they are looking for some type of business opportunity and this type of franchise is an opportunity for individual professionals to be part of a larger brandwith access to many resources.
Choose your industry and do your research! As I said last week, knowledge is power. Every franchisor has different regulations and policies and as such, they cannot all be treated the same. You must dive into the nitty gritty details of each franchisor and decide which businesses truly meet your criteria. Make sure that your goals and values align with those of your franchisor.
Once you have narrowed down your options, determine if they are financially feasible. Franchises require an up front investment, so it is imperative, as is with any business, to ensure you have the capital necessary from the beginning. On the plus side, franchises are a known, fixed investment unlike start-ups or existing businesses where there can be daunting hidden costs.
Once you have purchased a franchise, enjoy the benefits! If you partnered with the right franchisor, you will receive ongoing support from the franchisor in terms of training, resources, marketing, and much more! With an established brand, your selling power is increased, your ramp up period is shorter, and your likelihood of success is greater.
Ultimately, you must find the franchisor that best suits your needs and ensure that your short and long term goals are consistent. If you can find your match, a franchise partnership may be right for you!
Becoming an owner by purchasing an existing business is very different than starting your own company, which I discussed in last week’s blog post. There are a few important misconceptions that people have when it comes to buying a business, including the idea that purchasing an already successful company means continued success with a new owner.
Buying an existing business does not mean you avoid the risk that comes with starting your own, but instead that the risk just presents itself in a different form.
The following 4 steps are what I believe to be the most important in the process of purchasing a business.
1. Decide Exactly What You Want
It is important that you understand exactly what you’re looking for in a business before you even begin searching. A clear set of requirements and characteristics must be set right from the beginning.
2. Gather Options and Screen Them
As the saying goes, do not put all of your eggs into one basket. Take your time and find more than one candidate that meets your requirements. Having a pool of candidates that all meet your requirements allows you to compare options and gain a well-rounded perspective.
Be sure to collect as much accurate information about your potential suitors as possible. The more accurate information you obtain, the more you can reduce your risk. Knowledge is power! Do your research, verify your sources, and validate your findings!
3. Think Critically
Once you have gathered all the information necessary on each candidate, you must critically consider each of them and best determine what effects a change of ownership will have. As a potential new owner, it is your responsibility to consider how a transfer of ownership will affect the brand, reputation, and success of the business. Is the success of the business due in part to its ownership? Will the employees stay? Will clients continue to work with the business? Do not leave these questions unanswered!
4. Determine Value and Make Your Offer!
It is time to start thinking numbers after narrowing down your search. What are you willing to spend for a business? Does this align with your potential candidates? The sellers may not be on the same page with you when it comes to business value, so be prepared to field those discussions. Once you have determined the appropriate value, make your offer and move forward!
Are you embarking on the process of purchasing an existing business? Have you considered the real risk and how to counter it? Let me know what you think in the comments!