Maintaining a ‘Day 1’ mentality through franchising

In his 2016 'Letter to Shareholders', Amazon founder Jeff Bezos explained the philosophy he calls Day 1.

Maintaining a ‘Day 1’ mentality through franchising

This emphasises the importance of treating every day as if it was the first day that the business started; Day 1. Of maintaining a long-term focus, obsessing over customers and their needs, and boldly innovating to meet those needs. Bezos credits this ethos with the success of Amazon. His has even named his head office building in Seattle ‘Day 1’ and he continually strives to reinforce this message to his managers and 1.6m employees. Attitude is everything. It is worth noting that when done well, franchising exactly fits this template.

The franchisor’s natural role is to provide the innovation and maintain the focus. The franchisees have no difficulty demonstrating the attitude shown by the owner of a new business on the first day that trading commences. The excitement and determination to succeed, the desire to delight the first customers. Their complementary roles exactly fit the ‘Day 1’ format.

The positive effect that franchising can bring to a business that is planning to grow a network is immense. It not only leverages the power of a ‘Day 1’ attitude, but it also overcomes the apathy that can all too easily engulf and stifle big corporate organisations, but which Amazon appears to have avoided. Enabling a local business owner to represent a national brand is always effective.

Franchising can also greatly increase the effectiveness of an existing business, as exemplified by the local convenience store operator, Budgens. The business is owned by Booker Group which is part of Tesco. Its brand identity is based on linking the power of the Budgens brand with that of a locally recognised business name, often an existing local business. This emphasises the individuality of each branch and reminds customers who the owner is; thus, retaining the feel of a local grocery shop where the owner is solely focussed on satisfying the needs of the customers.

Franchising will keep a day one attitude alive indefinitely because it empowers independent business owners to provide the all-important customer interface. When the local representative of a brand has skin in the game, she or he will answer the phone more quickly and with added enthusiasm. Going the extra mile will be the norm, rather than the exception. Customer service levels will increase. Staff, who in a small business are treated as colleagues, will be happier and want to keep their jobs, minimising staff shortages.

From a franchisees’ point of view the ability to confidently start a new business in uncertain economic conditions, as exist at the moment, is very valuable. This is obviously why recruitment levels in the best franchises remain high. When a new business owner has the confidence of working within a provenly successful format they can concentrate on retaining a day one attitude.

There is little doubt that the UK is currently facing economic uncertainty. This will inevitably bring about the demise of weak and badly managed businesses, but it will also present great opportunities for those that will replace them. These will be able to provide innovative ways of satisfying the changing needs of consumers and deliver outstanding customer service. Franchising can thrive in these conditions. It provides the long-term focus, strength, and guidance of the franchisor, partnered with the local presence and enthusiasm of the franchisee business owner who is free to concentrate on satisfying the needs of the customers. In fact, exactly what Jeff Bezos strives daily to achieve.

Tony Bowman
Tony Bowman