This lesson is part of our free Franchise 101 course.
To run a successful franchise takes continuous improvement. It’s not enough just to set things up well at the start. You have to keep looking for chances to improve for as long as you’re in business. If you don’t, then you won’t be in business for long.
Why Continuous Improvement?
The world is moving faster than ever before. Your customers’ tastes will keep changing, as will the offerings of competitors. This means that you have to keep changing to meet rising standards.
But continuous improvement isn’t just about fighting to keep up. By looking for ways to improve your business, you give yourself the chance to be the best. You avoid slipping into complacency and easy habits, and instead make something remarkable.
That’s why you need to develop a mindset of continuously improving your franchise business. But how do you do it?
Every time you look at how you’re working, ask why you do it that way. Once you’ve got an answer, ask why about that as well. Keep asking why over and over until you find the root cause of what you’re doing, whether it’s an outside restriction, a decision you made in the past, or something else.
Then look at that answer and consider whether you could do things better. Is the decision you made still the best one? Are you limited to the suppliers you had before? If you stick with current ways of working, make sure that it’s because they’re the best, not because you’ve always worked that way.
Focus on Customers
When you’re setting up products and processes, always keep the customer in mind. How will this make their experience better? Are you designing your business to delight customers, or just to make things easier for you?
There’s nothing wrong with making things easier, if it lets you save effort to improve the customer experience. But that experience is what will keep people coming to you, and so make your business a success. You need to put it at the center of your improvement agenda.
Making the Work Flow
Customer experience is shaped by what goes on behind the scenes, so pay attention to that. Get rid of unnecessary clutter. Set up your working spaces, processes, and schedules to make it easy for people to do their jobs, and to hand off their part of the work to the next person in the team. Store materials, tools, and ingredients so that they’re easily accessible from the places where they’re needed.
And remember to reexamine that flow, like you reexamine any part of your business. Continuous improvement means never sitting back and being satisfied that your work is “good enough”. If you want to succeed in running a franchise, then you have to stay ahead of the competition and consumer tastes. You have to have a mindset that urges you to constantly do better.