Over the years McDonald’s has been able to sell hundreds of billions of hamburgers. One of the reasons for the chain’s success: McDonald’s is a franchise operation and the owner of each franchised restaurant is on premises running the business.
That’s not to say that every business requires the owner at the helm all the time. But in a bad economy when the company’s survival is at stake, the owner had better be on board–not just on call.
Take the case of the absentee owner of a chain of gift shops. Although sales had fallen off company-wide in response to the slumping economy, most of her stores were still operating in the black. One location, however, was faring far worse than the others and the owner wanted to close it down before it dragged the entire company under.
She had been “managing” this retail business by long distance for several years, and decided to spend some time at the “problem” location before shutting it down.
It didn’t take long for her to identify the cause of the store’s distress. The place was filthy, inventory wasn’t being reordered on a timely basis, staff morale was non-existent, and the unit manager–who was being paid more than $100,000 a year to run this store–wasn’t even there most of the time! In fact, the owner learned that the store was routinely being closed an hour or two early every day!
She fired the store manager and took charge of the operation personally. Within a week sales bounced back by one-third, and within a month the store was operating in the black again.
Granted, this is a dramatic example. But every owner or top manager can find some way to become more involved in the business during tough times when leadership can make a real difference.
Become more of a motivational force for your organization! Start attending staff meetings that you ordinarily pass up. Write an article for your company’s internal newsletter–or start an employee newsletter if you don’t have one. Go on customer calls with your sales reps. Spend some time on the assembly line, or the loading dock, or the sales floor. Let your people know that you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and pitch in when the pinch is on.