By Putting the Words to Paper, I Pushed Myself to Become a Better Franchise Consultant
My book, The Perfect Franchise, was published earlier this year. I wrote it for two reasons. First, in addition to my consulting practice, it is another tool to help people make informed, fact-based decisions about franchising. The second reason is that I wanted to test and challenge my capabilities. I accomplished both and want to share some of my learnings.
Learn by Teaching
Writing the book advanced my knowledge of consulting, franchising, and my personal decision-making. Essentially, writing the book forced me to construct and deconstruct everything I know and everything I do. It provided me the chance to consider why I structured my consulting process the way I did and whether there were better ways to do it. Sometimes there were.
I read scores of books and articles on franchising, emotional intelligence, decision making, and fear as I was researching my book. It was great learning and it elucidated the disparate perspectives and biases that people possess. Every piece had a different angle and approach. It illuminated the unique nature of each of us and why franchise matching is such a crucial step in the process.
Keep it Simple
KISS means “Keep It Simple, Schnurman.” It is important to communicate in a clear, simple, and uncomplicated manner. I tell it as I see it; I am authentic and communicate in plain English. In fact, I realized that I write in the same way I speak.
Also, it is necessary to provide people with all the facts and information they need to make a decision, even if that means they will not invest in a franchise. Facts and context enable people to assemble, assimilate, analyze, and assess information. I guess I also learned I like alliteration!
Start with a Blueprint
Without a clear plan, we make life more difficult for ourselves. Over the last 30 years, I have written hundreds of articles for various periodicals. Almost everything was of the 650-750 word variety. When I was a columnist for the Star-Ledger, NJ’s largest newspaper, I created a simple writing style that enabled me to efficiently write my articles.
I have a plan for all aspects of my business and for the articles I write. AND I did not have one for my book. Originally, I thought I would cobble together some articles, hit the main areas, fill in the blanks and a book would appear.
That was a really bad idea.
Writing a book was different, not in degree but in kind vs. writing articles. After failing to build the book, I created a plan and started from scratch. Beginning with the first word I wrote the book with a clear and cogent plan. And guess what? It worked!
Without a plan I failed; with one I succeeded.
Create a Support Structure and Defer to the Experts
I am an expert in franchising consulting. AND I know very little about how to write a book. Luckily, my editor was an expert in helping people write books.
A big believer in deferring to specialists, I accepted all of her suggestions about composition, grammar, and syntax. She was careful not to change the meaning or the tone but simply to clean up my writing. At some points, she was surprised that I acceded to her suggestions so easily but the reality is that she is an editor for a reason.
Essentially, my editor was my support structure. She guided me and helped illuminate the path.
Zeno was Right
Zeno’s paradox states that in order to go a full distance you need to go halfway first and there are an infinite number of halves so you can never get where you are going. So it is writing a book. The book is never finished because there is always more rewriting, editing, and stressing to be done. There is always another half to go! At some point, I needed to stop and simply accept what I wrote. Perfection is not an option!
In franchising, I always tell my clients to get 80% of the way there and make a calculated decision because the reality is, as Zeno posits, there is always further to go.
An Uncommon Pride
There are very few accomplishments in my life that I am profoundly proud of. I am proud of having a great marriage and raising, with my wife Lisbeth, two awesome children who make the world a better place.
Yet beyond that, I can only think of two achievements – completing an ultra-marathon with a broken rib and writing my book – that engendered a deep pride. When I received the first copy and saw my name it was an emotional moment for me. I was proud of the hard work, dedication, and commitment I exhibited. Writing a book was a lot of hard work but the lessons and sense of accomplishment were worth it!