By Steven Wolfson
Whether you are a franchisee, franchisor, retailer or owner of your own chain of stores, comparing the stability of your business to the way a table is constructed is a great way to explain the 5 elements necessary for any business to succeed. The 5 elements include the table top and the 4 legs on which the table top rests. Any aspect of any business can be placed under one of these 5 elements regardless of the business.
The table top represents the platform on which the business concept and customer experience takes place. The four legs represent the 4 structures on which the concept and customer experience needs to be supported. These 4 legs are:
2. Branding, marketing and advertising.
3. Human recourses.
4. Business analysis and control.
The Table Top:
Our customers, who in this day and age are free to choose where they want to shop, when they want to shop and what they intend to spend, are the most important and influential partners to our business. Therefore, our business concept and customer experience must usually offer something unique and different to our competitors. Regardless of the platform on which your business is presented (retail stores, services or internet concepts).
the differences in the various customer experiences will be found in many forms – from the surrounding décor and color schemes, background music, advertising campaigns, style and dress code of employees, etc.
These differences are often the very things which influence our customers to enter our businesses, stay in them and eventually make a purchase. Every time they step onto our business floor, they are in effect accepting our invitation to dance on our table rather than on one of our competitors. The culture and customer experience created on our business floor, therefore , needs to remain consistent and maintained at all times.
In order to support this continued commitment to our clientele, we need to insure that our table remains stable with the various elements required to insure its well-being as a successful and profitable business.
The four legs:
Naturally, every business relies on its product without which our customers have no reason to enter our business. Regardless of what our business is and what we offer, insuring that our product range is always relevant to our customers needs, always in supply, correctly priced, and with standards which constantly meet our customers approval, are the elements which comprise the first leg of the table.
2. Branding, Marketing and Advertising:
Now that we have our product, correctly displayed and presented on our business floor, we need to attract enough customers to justify the existence of our business. In the old days, we might have found ourselves marketing our business by walking the streets of our neighborhoods and shouting out our services. For many of us, going to the local market and hearing the fruit and vegetable sales people shouting out their special offers is always a fun experience.
Whichever marketing and advertising methods we choose to use today, the need to continually advertise is usually a prerequisite to survive in business today. Regardless of how successful and powerful your business or brand happened to be, advertising never stops. This is the second leg of the table.
3. Human Resources:
Behind every business, exists the team of human beings which drive it. Imagine if our customers, after all the time and effort invested in creating a great product and business concept, were not met and greeted by professionally trained employees? The subject of managing a successful team of employees who see themselves as an integral part of the success of the very business which employs them, is an extremely serious part of running our businesses.
Regardless of how fantastic our product and marketing may be, in order to insure that our customer experience is complete, the subject and science of human resources needs to be an integral element of our business. This is the third leg of the table.
4. Business analysis and Control:
The forth leg which completes our table is everything required to run our business which insures that all the elements mentioned above results in the business profiting. By insuring that we are at all times, completely on top of the financial results of our business, steering it away from road bumps, anticipating slow seasons and gearing up for the busy periods, keeping a close eye on expenses we can control (such as labor and product costs), is a part of the business we need to learn to enjoy. Part of this leg is to also continually insure ongoing consistency in so far as what your customers expect, insuring that their customer experience is always as it should be, especially if your business develops into a chain of many branches. This is often a part of the business we tend to rely on our accountants and prefer to neglect.
In many businesses, especially in food, we would need to make 5 dollars for every one dollar we lose. This means that for every one month of loss, rather than profit, it can often take us 3 to 5 months to get back on track. If you do not run a profit for 3 consecutive months, you may very well lose your business and everything you have invested in it.
All 4 of the above mentioned legs of the table are equally important to insure the stability of your business. Once the table top is accepted by your customers and visited on a regular basis, it is crucial that it is constantly and consistently strengthened by all the 4 legs mentioned above. There is no point having a great product if you don’t advertise it correctly, and there is no point in having a million dollar looking business if your staff are not trained to look after your customers correctly.
Regardless of what kind of entrepreneur you may be, franchisee or franchisor, any element of your business you may think of will belong to one of the 5 mentioned elements above. To insure that your business is healthy, and that all the crucial elements required to keep it healthy has been taken care of, use the table as a guideline and continually ask “How stable is my Table”.
In articles to follow, I will focus on each leg separately in more detail and also write about how this table theory is used in franchising.