The Franchise Prototype: Don’t Just Be Your Own Boss; Build Your Legacy

Sales leader

If you haven’t heard of the “Franchise Prototype” before, you need to know about it if you have dreams of running your own sales consulting business. Entrepreneurial guru Michael Gerber describes the philosophy in his E Myth series of books (yes, it’s a veritable book franchise), and here is the essence of Gerber’s Franchise Prototype: Don’t just start a business in order to have a job. Rather, build your business as if you intend to franchise it (even if you don’t). Thus, it’s more important to work ON your business than working IN your business. Such a system- and process-based approach empowers you to work smarter as you create a business legacy that can be sold when you want out.

Let’s take a closer look at how the Franchise Prototype can make it possible to succeed as an independent sales leadership consultant:

When is a Franchise Not a Franchise?

Let me be clear from the outset: The Franchise Prototype is not necessarily about creating an actual franchise in the strictly legal sense of the term. Your sales leadership consulting business is not going to become the next McDonald’s or Great Clips or Anytime Fitness and spawn hundreds or thousands of franchise locations. What’s more, creating a legal franchise is complicated and costly, and a consulting business based largely (at least in the beginning) on your expertise and experience, is tough to scale.

But the Franchise Prototype is more about being strategic and defining processes so you can be more efficient. It is more about taking the big-picture long view than getting mired in day-to-day tasks. It is more about empowering yourself to share extraordinary leadership in a consistent way, so you can bring exceptional value to customers.

Reality Check: The Perils of Being Your Own Boss

It is said that the person who defends himself in court has a fool for a client. Likewise, being your own boss isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, you have a greater level of freedom and independence, but you still must answer to yourself (and your clients, of course). This means you have only yourself to blame when things go wrong. It can be a heavy burden. Michael Gerber said, “If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business – you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!” Still, it’s part of the American Dream to be independently employed, making your own way, and leaving your mark. So, how do you balance the burdens and benefits of being an independent consultant? 

Making the Franchise Prototype Work for You

The Franchise Prototype business depends on setting up systems. These are, essentially, replicable processes you can apply consistently across a broad client base. Naturally, subtle variations may be necessary to best serve each unique customer, but the important thing is to approach each situation as the opportunity to set up effective and efficient systems that can improve service and bottom-line results – for you and your clients.

Over time, by setting up systems within the Franchise Prototype, you can virtually eliminate the frustrations associated with constantly “reinventing the wheel”. And you can more effectively balance the three personality traits Gerber says are present in any independent business (even one operated by a sole proprietor): The Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur. How? Gerber says the Franchise Prototype provides the Technician with a structure for executing the technical work necessary to implement the systems. He says it enables the Manager to replace chaos with the order necessary to manage the business. And he says it makes it easier for the Entrepreneur to reliably share their vision with the world.

So, how can you turn this philosophy into a real-world business model that transcends day-to-day difficulties to achieve lasting success?

  1. Understand your vision and mission, be able to communicate these clearly, and make sure all activities align with them.
  2. Set up reliable and replicable processes for virtually everything. Collectively, these processes become the system that will drive your continued success.
  3. Have a business plan and document strategies, tactics, solutions and results.
  4. Monitor, measure, analyze, and adjust. Continually!
  5. Be consistent, not just with how you deliver customer service, but also with the look and feel of your brand across all prospect and client interfaces, including in-person, printed, and online.
  6. Delegate and outsource to other professionals as necessary so you don’t get bogged down working IN your business when you should be working ON your business.

A Slightly Different Approach: The Licensor Model

Many would-be entrepreneurs are scared off by the prospect of running their own businesses, and even more by the prospect of embarking on the franchising path. That’s completely understandable. After all, as I mentioned, formal, legal franchising is complex and fraught with opportunity to take a wrong turn. In fact, the field of franchise law exists because of this complexity. Making matters worse, franchise laws vary from state to state and country to country.

The good news is that there is an alternative that perfectly aligns with the Franchise Prototype while avoiding many of the potential pitfalls of formal franchising. Many entrepreneurs today are moving toward licensor models that take advantage of defined processes to make entrepreneurship easier and more likely to succeed. By setting up a complete system of proven processes and attracting licensees – much like what we’ve done here at Sales Xceleration – today’s entrepreneurs can tap into the power of the Franchise Prototype favored by Gerber and his devotees.

The Bottom Line:

Not every seasoned sales executive dreams of going independent. Nor is every experienced sales professional cut out to be a consultant. But for those who do have that dream and want to pursue that path, the Franchise Prototype is worth learning more about. But make no mistake; even if you do set up an independent sales consultancy, taking it a step further and setting up necessary defined processes can be time consuming and challenging. We know that challenge well, because defining key processes and proven sales systems was the first order of business when we formed Sales Xceleration. Since then, we’ve continued to develop new tools and services to bring superior sales leadership strategies and exceptional results to small business owners across the nation. Dozens upon dozens of sales leadership experts have seen the value of these systems and joined us as licensed Sales Xceleration Advisors. So, we know the Franchise Prototype works; our Advisors are providing proof in action!

To learn more about how we use defined processes, proven systems, and innovative sales tools to serve small- to medium-sized businesses, click here to connect with a Sales Xceleration Advisor in your area. Or contact us today at 1.844.874.7253.