Aesop’s Lessons in Franchising
Revised and retold by Rebecca Monet
The Donkey and the Grasshoppers
A Donkey having heard some Grasshoppers chirping and singing was highly enchanted. Desiring to possess the same charms of melody, he asked, “Grasshoppers what is it that makes you sing so beautifully? Is there a special food that you eat?” “Yes,” replied the Grasshoppers, “we will tell you a secret. We drink only the dew found on flowers and leaves.” The Donkey was so eager to have a beautiful voice that he ate and drank only dew, and in a short time died of hunger.
Lesson #1: Where one may prosper, another may starve
It’s natural to envy another’s success or talent. In fact, envy has played an important role in human’s quest for resources and survival for centuries. Envy motivates us to strive to take what another person possess, achieve it for ourselves, or better it.
So envy is a good thing, right?
Yes and no. If envy has you strive to be the best version of yourself yes. If envy, like that experienced by Donkey has you attempt to be someone else you just might starve. Envy is a real problem. With today’s active use of social media the “why not me” set of thoughts and emotions has become rampant; even crippling. Scientific American reported that extensive use of Facebook fosters depression the impetus behind which is largely motivated by envy. Additionally, we always compare the worst of what we know about ourselves to the best assumptions we make of others.
The franchising business model provides many a way to freedom and wealth. But it’s not for everyone. Furthermore, the business itself needs to be a good fit for you. I was recently speaking with a franchisor that had a prime location in a market that should have produced great profitability. Yet, two franchisees had failed miserably. The third was wildly successful; ranking as #1 performer after only 4 years. What was the difference? The third franchisee took an assessment which compared him to the top performers within the franchise system. Bottom line he was a fit and it showed in his bottom line.
Lesson #2: Don’t imitate others if you don’t have the talent
It’s human nature to imitate. In fact, imitation is critically important behavior for both a social means and a learning tool; it’s biologically rooted. Moreover, imitation hands down knowledge from one generation to another.
Imitation plays a big role in franchising. Franchisors create replicable and scalable systems so you might achieve similar success as earlier franchisees. Your job is to embrace and emulate the strategies learned by earlier generations. Doing so allows you to encounter few challenges and ramp-up more quickly. For this and many other reasons a franchisor will expect and encourage compliance.
So imitation is good thing, right?
Yes and no. Imitation is only good when you possess similar talent as those whom you wish to imitate. If you are not good at sales and marketing for example, don’t buy a business which would require you to door knock, cold call or come up with clever marketing and sales channel planning strategies. Know your talents and play to your strengths. There is no need to reinvent the wheel or yourself.
Lesson #3: Don’t ignore your own needs
In the 1960’s Walter Mischel a Stanford University professor conducting a series of psychological studies. During his experiments, Mischel and his team tested hundreds of children — most of them around the ages of 4 and 5 years old — and revealed what is now believed to be one of the most important characteristic for success in health, work, and life. Over the next 40+ years the Marshmallow Experiment demonstrated that the children who showed early signs of self-control were healthier, wealthier and wiser than their more impulsive peers.
So delaying gratification is a good thing, right?
Yes and no. Self-control is good when what we are delaying leads us to a desired outcome and does not have us starve in the meantime. Donkey showed great self-control ignoring his need for donkey food and sucking up dew instead. However, his big bodacious dreams trumped his talents and needs.
What’s the moral of the story? Don’t be a donkey. Franchising is an excellent way to build a business. But don’t let your entrepreneurial dreams cloud your judgment. Your health, finances and family are dependent on you. Cover your ass(ets). Take a personal inventory. Take stock of your talents and needs. Take the Zoracle Business Builder Profile.
I’m sure the Donkey and Grasshoppers fable has a dozen more lessons. Which ones did I miss?
Rebecca Monet is chief scientist and president of Zoracle Profiles. Zoracle is a franchise specific solutions provider offering a suite of customizable psychometric assessments. Zoracle’s SpotOn! meta-analysis provides insight no singular profile, survey, algorithm or assessment can. Our SpotOn! science determines franchisee-franchisor compatibility and predicts performance. Zoracle reduces recruitment and support costs while increasing franchisee validation and performance.