One of the most important secrets to keeping a franchise or other business surviving and thriving through the years is constant adaptation to change.
Steve Kaplan is the owner of Relax The Back, a successful franchise in Charlotte for almost 20 years, and my first franchise placement after opening FranNet Carolina. In a recent conversation about his store’s long record of success, Kaplan was quick to point out that his No. 1 key to his success is this:
“Once you’ve opened your business, you’ve got to constantly change and be open to change. What worked 20 years ago won’t work today. Advertising, for example, has changed dramatically. The Internet did not exist 20 year ago in terms of public use. Today it is the main source of new customers for us since we rely on a great website and search engine optimization to driveclients to our store.”
As futurist Ray Kurzweil put it, “The whole 20th century, because we’ve been speeding up to this point, is equivalent to 20 years of progress at today’s rate of progress, and we’ll make another 20 years of progress at today’s rate of progress equal to the whole 20th century in the next 14 years, and then we’ll do it again in seven years. And because of the explosive power of exponential growth, the 21st century will be equivalent to 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress, which is a thousand times greater than the 20th century, which was no slouch to change.”
Experts agree that one key to adapting to this ever-faster rate of change is simply accepting it, being open to it, and constantly embracing new technology and new ideas. For many people it is their nature to cling to the known and the comfortable. The most successful entrepreneurs, however, find constant change exciting and learn the pleasure of staying on the leading edge of change rather than falling behind.
Adapting to constant change is a little like using a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger you get. A good franchisor will help their franchise owners adapt to needed change, whether in the operation or marketing of the business. So embrace change for your business, and reap the words of continuing success.