A client, whom I shall call “Emma” here called round this morning and returned a copy of Paul Gorman’s book “How to out-sell, out market, out promote, out advertise everyone else you compete against before they even know what hit them” that I lent to her some months ago.
“I don’t see how most of the stuff in this book is relevant to my business” she told me as she handed over the book. Emma owns a franchise locally providing pre-school activities for young children. The franchise dictates that only official marketing materials and flyers can be used, although Emma can personalize these a little with her own details and strap lines.
“I can’t come up with any unique head/strap lines for these flyers” she told me. “I don’t have the brain for it although I can see they may help if could thing of any”. “I don’t see how the letters would work though, with all the bold bits and the PS’ at the bottom – I ignore these when I receive them – doesn’t everyone else?”
The discussion wasn’t really about Paul’s book. It was about a decision that Emma knows she is facing but is trying to avoid. Every single marketing tactic can be applied to any business at all. The slant may be different, the target audience will certainly be different, but essentially, the same things work whether you are selling 1p paperclips or £10 million aircraft.
I could see I was in for a difficult time to persuade Emma of the importance of promoting her business in all manner of ways, yes, including letters. The thing is, she totally loves the work she does with the children and will enthuse about the benefits of what she offers all day long, but she doesn’t want the bother of the office work. She just wants to be with the kids, doing what she loves.
This doesn’t sound like a problem to most people but to me it shows the turmoil that goes on inside lot’s of people that find themselves running businesses. Emma got into this franchise because she loves children and believes that the franchise model and facilities are of immense benefit to the development of small children. However, the only way to do the work she loves was to buy the franchise for her local area. I don’t believe she actually wanted to run a business, she just wanted to to run the classes.
The problem is the franchise model is working against her. If she wants to make money from her business, she has to step out of what she loves to do and become a business woman that she doesn’t want to be. Just running her own classes though doesn’t give her enough turnover to live on.
Emma’s comments about Paul Gorman’s brilliant book are coming from the position that she knows she has to grow the business to improve her income, but she simply doesn’t want to because of all the marketing, admin, bookkeeping, payroll, finding venues, organizing classes and 101 other things that go into running a larger business.
I do see quite a few people with Emma’s predicament. The simple truth is they have to make a choice. They can go one of two ways. Firstly, they can choose just to do as much as they can themselves and earn a small income which barely justifies the cost and ongoing commitment to the franchiser; Secondly, they can expand the business dramatically within their geographic area, take on people to run the classes, become a manager instead of a worker and direct operations from above without much day to day involvement with the children.
A business person in Emma’s shoes that settles for option 1 has to accept that they “own” their job. But that’s basically all it is. The franchiser still gets their cut from Emma so they are happy, but Emma, apart from job satisfaction, will never make a decent living.
If however, Emma embraces the idea that she can run her business as a manager, starts taking Paul Gorman’s advice about marketing tactics to grow her business; takes massive action to generate more classes; finds suitable people to run those classes along the lines Emma dictates; she will start to make some serious money from her franchise. There is nothing written that says Emma is prohibited from running any classes ever again. She can fill in, or set up a couple of special classes just for her to run. But her success will be guaranteed.
She just needs to decide which way she wants to jump.
Emma knows I will help her to the best of my ability, but the main decision, whatever it is, is hers and hers alone. Job or business Emma – it’s up to you!