These are the tried-and-tested techniques to help you do more in less time
Starting and managing a franchise takes a lot of effort and time. Many people move from employment to becoming a franchisee thinking that it will be a slightly easier route to autonomy than operating an independent start-up. This is not the case.
Even if your franchise’s parent business has been around a while, you are still starting a new operation, in a different area, with unique customers and cultures.
You may have a ready made heritage, a supportive franchisor and a set of brand guidelines to help you on your way, but you will still be pulled in many different directions on your path to success.
At times it may feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, but there are a number of things that you can do to help yourself save time as you look to build your business.
1. Take a walk on the pitch before you play
If you’ve come from being employed to starting up and running your own business, speak to people who have already done this.
It doesn’t matter if it’s not the same industry as yours, as their experience and advice on challenges they faced and coping mechanisms they developed may well stand you in good stead further down the line.
There will be tough times and steep learning curves that you will need energy to cope with, so learn from those before you.
2. Get the family onside
Agree the commitment level you are about to give to your business with your family/partners/ friends from the outset.
There is a chance you may be a bit more absent than before and it’s important to get their emotional support and know that you can focus on the task in hand. The rewards will hopefully be worth it in the long term.
3. Careful team selection
Be very choosy when building the team to run your business with you. Carefully consider the profile of the type of person required to fill each role. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses as a business owner and hire people to fill the gaps - don’t try and be all things to all people.
Never hire because a person was the best of a poor set of applicants, as you are better off with no employee in the short term than one who is doing the wrong job or has a poor work ethic. You will only end up consuming time having to put things right and getting frustrated.
4. Plan your attack
Ensure you are clear in your objectives and the tactics and techniques needed to achieve those goals.
A concise business strategy and mission statement can help your team to focus on their task, while regular update meetings - although they may feel time consuming - are essential to ensure everybody remains on the same page.
5. Bring in the subs
A good franchisor should provide all the support you require and have experience of what works and what doesn’t. Do your due diligence with them beforehand to ascertain the successes and pitfalls - and make sure you let them help.
Franchise or self-start business, it’s best not to try and play all the roles. Get help with accountancy, law, marketing, etc. It will cost more in the beginning, but save a great deal of time - and money - in the long run.
6. Be a good coach
Become good at coaching people to take on responsibility and be able to operate different aspects of your business.
Reward, recognise and make sure your employees feel they want to go the extra mile. A salary alone will not motivate people, that is down to the working environment you create.
7. Give yourself extra time
Set yourself deadlines and split your work into manageable chunks.
Writing to do lists is great, but don’t think everything has to go on one urgent list - if a to do list looks too daunting, it can be overwhelming and self defeating.
Try separating the lists into different days according to the different deadlines - see it as a weekly, not daily list. Focus on the things that will deliver quick results and concentrate on one thing at a time. Multitasking does not equate to efficiency.
8. Take yourself off
Take time, chill and look after yourself. Business is about continuous problem solving and decision making. If you are tired, have a poor diet and no reflective time, you will make poorer quality decisions.
Thinking that you can work long days every day and rely on less sleep will catch up with you. It will ultimately damage you, your family and your business.
Make sure you keep up your interests outside of the business, as this will help to maintain your energy levels for making it a success.
9. Be realistic
Thorough research, planning and preparation should mean you have a clear idea of where your business is headed and when it will reach certain milestones.
You may well exceed those expectations, but it’s important not to get carried away and grow too fast. Keep your eye on strategic growth, brand development and team loyalty.
Starting a business is a big deal. Take time, make time and enjoy your time as much as possible.
Colin Dulson is managing director of Berrison, a leadership development and coaching consultancy.