Buy A Franchise – Basic Business Concepts Part 3

September 27th, 2010

(Buy A Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)


Any desired commodity, currency in the case of this discussion, increases in value as it increases in scarcity. Although we were all hoodwinked into believing that the computer revolution of the 1980′s was going to make us so efficient that we would have gobs of time on our hands, I don’t think there are too many converts to that ascribed belief any longer.

When we discuss our clients’ need for more time in their respective businesses, during our training class for all new Schooley Mitchell Franchisees, I always relate the following story.

The scene was at a National Franchise Convention waiting for the kick-off speaker to begin the proceedings. There were several hundred Franchisors sitting in the convention hall, when from the back of the room this guy entered, flipping a head of lettuce up and down. He walked right up the middle aisle continually flipping the leafy orb. There were a few snickers because it was apparent to some that an inmate had gone over the wall at the local asylum.

With a determined look, and a single purpose in mind, this guy trotted right up to the front of the room, climbed onto the stage, and leapt behind the podium. With a greatly threatening look, he bellowed, “Somebody in this room tell me why this head of lettuce represents the most important concept that you must understand for your business to survive in the next decade!” He was completely fired up, spittle was flying, and he was turning red. At this point half the room was convinced of the asylum scenario, while the other half realized that this was actually the guest speaker.

Gliding down a bit from his commando high, he said, “O.K., I want to ask you a couple of questions.” He went on to say, “I want you to think back ten years, picture in your mind your local grocery store, and tell me how many square feet were dedicated to heads of lettuce at 79 cents each.” After a bit of a pregnant pause, someone in the audience yelled out, “30 square feet.”

Our now calm and seemingly rational speaker now asked, “O.K we can accept that answer, so now flash forward ten years to today and somebody tell me how many square feet are dedicated to heads of lettuce in today’s grocery store at 89 cents.” The answer came back as ten square feet.

The next question was, “Now somebody tell me how many square feet are dedicated to prepared salads at $4.95 each.” The revelation was clear. Yes, that’s where the other 20 square feet went – in fact, the current stores may even use more than 20 feet! The crowd was elated that they had solved the riddle.

Then in a very quiet, almost ominous tone he asked, “So what is that about and why does it matter so much to your business?”

His message was of course that it was about time. We are willing to pay good money, already conceded to be a valuable currency, to save ourselves time. We will pay a premium to avoid cutting carrots and cucumbers, and in my mind I plead guilty to the act.

In fact, he said, “Time is the currency of today’s economy, and you need to figure out how you are delivering time to your customers, or you will not thrive.”

The story hit hard, made a strong and valid point, and I have been thoroughly convinced of the importance of time as a currency of trade ever since. The challenge of course is to figure out how to deliver time to our customers. Before we can do that we have to figure out how we can make it clear to our customers that we will, in fact, help them to gain time through our wares.

Money and time are certainly the most recognizable and widely accepted of the currencies of trade. However, it is my belief that we also trade in Security, Knowledge and Prestige. These currencies will be reviewed in more detail in a subsequent release, but for now, suffice it to say that we need to feel secure, not only physically, but also that we have made the right decisions. We also crave knowledge. In fact, we live in a knowledge-based society now. The vast majority of people trade for prestige as well. Otherwise, why would we wear what we wear, drive what we drive, live where we live?

Money, time, security, knowledge and prestige make up the suite of Currencies of Trade. So the challenge is how to deliver these items, and how to make our customers aware of how we deliver them.

(Buy A Franchise, Seattle Franchise, Bellevue Franchise)

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