You are about to enter my favorite year as a business owner, somewhat like an eclipse they only come along about twice a decade. I make huge strides forward in presidential election years as folks are spending big chunks of formerly productive time on watching politicians ramble on. I call these years “Golden Years”.
Over the coming months we will be treated to speeches and debate grandstands by candidates across the political spectrum running for various offices. The theme will be consistent, common and across party lines. We will be told over and over again how everything around us is dysfunctional and how they will be fixing it.
Have you noticed how politicians are like the evening news, just the bad sounding stuff and delivered with as much drama as they can. It is how television stations sell advertising and it is how politicians get financial contributions and votes. They scare you into needing them.
The benefit in not being so young any more is that I can tell you that the sky hasn’t fallen yet and is not likely to fall here in the coming months.
Do we have issues to address in all parts of our economy and society? Yes. But the interesting part is that we always have. We live in an ongoing group project. As most of us go through our daily lives we can only hope that those we elect go on to do what we elected them to do.
In the meantime, how does all of this impact the business world and, on the subject I spend a lot of time with, how does it impact the world of franchising?
We historically see some interesting trends:
- In a Presidential election year franchise candidates sometimes slow their process as they are listening to the politicians argue back and forth and waiting to see how it will all work out.
- Nearly all franchise owner’s lives go on like any other year.
- For franchise owners that go into a state of worry during an election year the answer many find is to tune out the politicians and focus on their customers.
What this means to anyone looking at franchises right now and for the coming year is that you may have a little less competition for territory. You may have a little easier time getting into a Discovery Day. But there is no suggestion that putting off building towards your dreams will result in a better outcome. It will just be lost time.
Franchise companies will still be growing, adding franchisees and taking care of customers. They are geared up with training and support programs ready to take anyone to market at any time. We have not spoken to a single franchise company that expects the opening process of their franchisees to be altered in any way due to the election season.
So, what should your election season game plan be?
- Focusing on your own dreams and greater goals will have a far bigger impact on your future than will watching soundbites from politicians, their surrogates or the talking heads on TV.
- Map out your goals, determine what you need to accomplish them, assemble those skills or relationships then GO!
- I humbly suggest limiting the minutes of your life sacrificed to election news to 20-30 days before your primary (if you plan to vote in it) and 20-30 days before the election. We live in a high tech society, anything they say now will still be on Youtube or news sites a year from now, it is not going away even if every politician wishes they could take some of what they said back. You can do your homework after they have put their ideas out and said what they have to say.
I promise, you will still be able to pick your favorite politician and vote. Really, it will be fine.
So, why do I call it “The Golden Year”?
The year that some people put off pursuing their dreams is HUGE in terms of long term benefit. Think of it this way, if we look at a 65 year old person and calculate the number of Golden Years they failed to take big steps forward during their working years the total number of lost years is 11. That is 11 years of lost dream pursuit because of an election process!
We could further dive into that opportunity cost by compounding the benefit established in those early years. Actually, don’t do that. It might scare you unless you have found election years to be great personal growth years for you too.
So if we just take the 11 years with no compounding and assume that if you matched what would normally be a good year of growth towards your goals, where would you be today? Now, what if you looked at those years as times of massive change where you took advantage of the public’s distraction and took big leaps forward towards your goals. Where might that maybe get you?
For anyone looking at a franchise, this next year is one of those 11 years where you could make the personal choice to pursue massive change and go after your greater goals. You still have more of those 11 years yet to go so let’s build a foundation and compound benefits created in the Golden years until you retire.
Keep in mind that as a franchise owner you own the benefit that you build and you can sell it down the road, so hitting big goals can really pay off.
In the coming months you will have two opportunities the first is to sit in front of the TV or computer screen watching the politicians sort out who will be elected. The second is to push that distraction aside and focus on you, your goals and your family’s future. What will your story be?
George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both startup and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution.
Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980