Business Ideas – How to Put Differentiation Into Action Like Ron Joyce (Tim Hortons) by Evan Carmichael
Evan Carmichael discusses how you can match your talents with your passion like the franchise king Ron Joyce (Tim Hortons).
“When you find the niche you love, that becomes your passion. For me it was Tim Hortons. It was my world.” — Ron Joyce
Action Item #1: Match Your Talents with Your Passion
You can be really good at something but not love it. You can also love doing something else but not be really good at it. To be successful as an entrepreneur you need find the opportunity to combine what you love doing with what you’re really good at.
According to Ron Joyce: ” I think people who excel in anything are often totally dedicated to it, but are only really good at one thing. I look at the great athletes of all time, like Michael Jordan, who went from basketball to baseball and it didn’t work. Or Wayne Gretzky, who probably wouldn’t have been great at anything but hockey.”
Are you like Michael Jordan trying to play baseball by doing something you love but aren’t really that good at? If you’re struggling to get your company to the next level try doing some soul searching to see if you’ve matched up your talents with what you love doing in the best way possible.
Action Item #2: Treat Your Franchisees as Partners
Franchising can be a great way to build a business because you don’t need to fund it yourself and you can create an army of hard working managers who have a self-interest in seeing you succeed. However, franchising is not a bulletproof concept and may fail when the franchisors don’t provide the right support to their franchisees.
Here’s Ron Joyce’s advice: “It was my philosophy to treat the franchise owners as partners.” He followed through by creating a ‘Donut University’, a central training facility where new franchise owners could go to learn the ropes of running the business and operating in the fast-paced environment. He also established regular meetings, a toll-free phone line, and field evaluations to provide support to his franchisees. He was willing to do whatever it took to get his partners off the ground and running.
The result? Today, only five percent of the company’s stores are corporate, while the rest are locally and operated owned franchises. With average profit margins ranging from 15 to 20 percent, owning a Tim Hortons franchise is a promising venture. In fact, more than half of all franchisees own more than one unit. Treat your franchisees fairly and give them the support they need to flourish and they’ll build your business for you.
Action Item #3: Create a Unique Point of Differentiation
If you want to stand out and win business from your competitors then you need to do things differently from them. If there’s nothing different about you, why should customers choose you when there are probably more established companies they could go with?
When Joyce took over Tim Hortons he wanted to stand out from all the other coffee chains. To do that, Joyce implemented a new set of business practices that focused on keeping things “Always Fresh.” He began to insist that all Tim Hortons coffee pots be cleaned three times a day and that no coffee be older than twenty minutes from the time the brewer stops dripping. All grounds were also to be thrown out immediately afterwards. But it didn’t just stop at coffee. The temperatures of all cheese products and sandwiches were to be checked every other hour, as with soups. Donuts were to have a shelf life of no more than eight hours and could also be made to order. Bagels and other breads were also to be sold for no more than eight hours after they were made, while cookies, danishes, and croissants could go up for twelve hours. Only enough cakes for a given day were to be baked in any one store.
Customers began to come to Tim Hortons because they had the freshest products available and sales soared. What is your unique point of differentiation? Is it really something customers care about and are you very different from your competitors? If not, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and create a value proposition worth betting the company on.