An entrepreneur went to see a wiley old investor to ask her to fund his business idea. He had a brilliant idea about a product he wanted to launch, and he felt sure she would be interested in helping him.
The investor sat patiently while the entrepreneur enthused about his business plan…going through his proposal in great detail.
When he’d finished, the investor sat back and smiled knowingly. She agreed that the entrepreneur had a great product and that it had real potential, ‘but’, she told the entrepreneur, ‘you’ve made the mistake that so many entrepreneurs make. You’ve missed a key element out of your plan, and without this your plan will fail. So on that basis, I’m afraid I can’t fund your business’.
The entrepreneur was completely taken aback…he knew he had a good product, and he really believed it could sell well.
Recognising his dejection, and admiring the passion he had for his business, the investor decided to help out, and give him some free advice before he left.
"Do you think you can make better burgers than the ones that the McDonald’s on the retail park make?"
The entrepreneur wasn’t sure where the investor was going with this, but he humoured her with a reply, “Well there’s no chance I could”, he said, “but my mum…she can make burgers that are miles better than them.”
“Ok,” said the investor, “have you tasted better burgers around where you live?”
“Of course I have” said the entrepreneur, “There are loads of places that serve better burgers than McDonald’s. But what are you getting at?”
“Every entrepreneur tells me that they’ve tasted better burgers than McDonald’s. So if that’s the case, if so many other people do better burgers than McDonald’s…if they’re not really the best…then how is it that there’s no other business bigger than McDonald’s? Not even close to them?”
A little confused, and to be honest, still smarting from the rejection of his plan, the entrepreneur sensed that this must have something to do with his pitch, but was damned if he knew what it was…”I’ve no idea”, he said, “why is that?”
“It’s because McDonald’s is not about the burgers. You get better burgers in lots of other places.
"McDonald’s is all about consistency.
"It’s all about systems and processes, and the consistent delivery of their product and customer experience, millions of times a day, all over the world.
"You buy a Big Mac anywhere in the world and it’ll be the same size, have the same ingredients, and the same great (in my opinion) taste.
“What McDonald’s have done is created a template for their product and service that works better than any other brand.
"Customers go to McDonald’s expecting the McDonald’s experience, and they get it consistently, every day, no matter which McDonald’s in the world they visit.
“That’s something that your mum, and all of the other restaurants that serve great burgers haven’t been able to, or choose not to replicate.”
“So what can I learn from them?”, asked the entrepreneur, completely enthralled.
“You’ve got a great product”, said the investor, “but without processes and systems you have no scaleability. Any growth is reliant on you being there, on you being responsible for delivery.
“If you want to expand to anywhere else in the country, let alone overseas, your customer’s experience won’t be the same in terms of your product, or your service.
“Having great products is essential for your business success, but it’s your processes and systems that will differentiate you and ensure your business growth.
“My advice to you…aim to become the McDonald’s for your product.” And at that she got up and left the entrepreneur to reflect on this game-changing guidance.
Food for thought!
Could you be the McDonald’s for your product?
Do one thing: Consider how consistent your business is right now. How could you model McDonald's to achieve their scaleability?
For more information on how MPL can help you visit www.mariannepage.co.uk or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne is the author of three books, and is currently working on her fourth, whilst regularly writing her blog, we hope you enjoy it :-)