I recently watched The Founder, a 2016 movie about the story of the American fast food company McDonald’s; the founder brothers, how salesman Ray Kroc came into the picture, made the franchise popular and later took ownership of the company.
It’s probably one of the best business movies you will ever see. I had seen it years ago and saw it again based on the recommendation of a friend who is an agency owner.
I saw the movie with a perspective different from the first time because I now have a bit of experience with running a business.
There are lots of business lessons from the movie, but I noticed 3 major things and thought to share what I learnt.
1. Creating Systems and repeatable process is the key to building a business or agency that runs efficiently and scales profitably
My favorite scene in the movie is when the two McDonald brothers together with their team members assembled on a tennis court and spent hours working out the step by step process for cooking and delivering fast food in the fastest time. All the processes were standardized from the positioning of the ovens, time it takes to fry the meals to the quantity of flour and sugar. Everything!
First the brothers niched down to only 3 products, milkshakes, hamburgers and fries then created repeatable processes that allowed the business run efficiently.
Creating repeatable processes enabled the McDonald’s brothers build a successful business and was the foundation for a franchise system.
Lesson: Standardize your agency operations, document your processes and adhere to them. It can make a lot of difference.
Scene from The Founder Movie
2. There are new income lines or business models waiting to be discovered in your business
Ray Kroc was having financial difficulties running the franchise until Harry Sonneborn opened his eyes to the fact that he is in the real estate business not restaurant business. He changed his business model, started buying properties and leased it to the franchisees. His business exploded, became more profitable and he was able to buy out the original founders.
Lesson: there could be some new opportunities for income in your agency that you have not yet discovered or explored. Maybe you need to be charging for discovery, or offer a consultancy service to help businesses grow.
3. Have well written contracts at all times
As part of the compensation for selling the Company to Ray Kroc, the McDonald’s brothers agreed to take royalties (a percentage of the company annual profits) and had a handshake or gentleman agreement. The agreement was never followed and the brothers and their families missed out on millions in royalties as McDonald turned out to become an empire. The royalties are now worth $100 million a year.
Lesson: Have a comprehensive and well written contract for web design projects and maintenance plans. Cover all the bases!
I hope you find this post useful.