I recently read two articles that seem at odds with one another but in fact mirror my philosophy on life and business to a tee if read side by side. I recommend them both.
In the first one, which is about running, which should surprise no one that follows my blogs regularly, the thrust of the story is that those new, exploratory runs on new routes in new places always sound so awesome and fun and great. But, in reality, if you are into serious training, the change is disruptive. If you are in training for an event with specific goals, the best way to achieve those goals is to run the same set of courses over and over so you can dial in your performance and measure success and gauge progress toward your goal. I firmly believe this. In Charlotte, I had 3, 6, 8 and 10 mile running routes where I could look at my time at each mile marker and know exactly how I was doing and what I needed to work on. That was invaluable in terms of measuring progress toward a pace I needed to hit to achieve a goal in an event.
In the second one, we see a very good piece about the reality of franchising. It is not a particularly pretty picture (neither are most of my runs) but it is real. It points out a few things very few franchisors will highlight. People do question, “are franchises worth the cost?” That is reasonable. People do question whether a franchise increases your rate of success. I believe it does. People do wonder what they get for that cost. That is also reasonable. I would suggest the answer is exactly what you think: A proven model with a healthy support group. And, maybe most reasonably, the article points out that franchising is not a get rich quick business model. If you want to do that, then you really need to create a new product or industry instead of buying a system that emphasizes the strengths of a proven business model.
What franchising does exceptionally well, and this is pointed out in the article, is to provide one with a well reasoned and logical path to small business ownership. That is a fact and not a small thing. Or a bad one. It is great for people that want to be their own boss, control their own destiny and make a good, healthy, reasonable living.
But, there is a point late in the article where my friend Bob Purvin points out that success today does not guarantee success tomorrow. And, he draws a very true and telling conclusion. “Buying a company that holds back from change is not a path to success.” Truer words have never been spoken.
I started by saying these two articles are in conflict with one another and they are. One espouses repetition while the other almost demands change. Both focus on success but take different paths. Yet, I believe they mirror my philosophy on life and in business.
To me, the answer lies in a sentence in the middle of the running article. “The great musicians and the great athletes know what the runner knows: that talent is discovered and refined through the erosive force of habit.” Elsewhere the article talks about how returning to something familiar each day is in fact a form of freedom. How if we find the right paths, they deepen and grow each time we go back to them. It talks about how our lives grow almost imperceptibly through compulsion. How revisiting these familiar moments allows us to grow through achieving a depth of purpose not possible if we are always changing.
This is exactly how I believe life and business should be lived. Do something. Do it well. Do it again but better. Change it and do it even better again when you need to.
I am a total creature of habit but I firmly believe in growth and change (just this morning I shaved off the beard I have had for 10 years) as the only way to live life. That philosophy spills over to how we run Great Harvest. We absolutely believe in doing what we do well over and over again. But we also believe an essential element of success is change.
What changes do you believe in to keep life fresh and healthy?