McSimplify Your Systems

Implement the McDonald’s Model and Order Up Success!

It’s been said that 85 percent of small business fail within the first year, while 75 percent of franchises succeed within the same time frame. That’s because franchises, as a rule, are designed to succeed, no matter what. Their complex processes have been whittled down into simplified systems that even the most ignorant business owners and employees can understand.

Take McDonalds, for example. No matter how you feel about their food (and let’s face it, we all crave those salty fries every now and then), you have to admire their business model. The “McModel,” if you will, was developed by Ray Croc, the founder of the McDonalds franchise. He brilliantly designed the business to succeed no matter who was at the helm. The seemingly complex systems (from building a Big Mac—two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun—to building a business) have been simplified to ensure that anyone, from minimum wage employees to first-time franchise owners, can succeed.

And if you want your business to do the same, all you need to do is follow the McDonald’s model: design your business to work, no matter who’s running it. You can accomplish this by ensuring that your business is dependent on simple systems—not the people who implement those systems. Your business should be able to run smoothly whether you’re present or not, and without your guidance.

However, we’ll be the first to admit that this is easier said than done. So how exactly do you go about McSimplifying your systems? You can start by documenting each and every step of each and every process. Pretend that the model you’re developing will be used to develop 100 more business, just like yours (think “clones”). Your systems should be easily understood and simple enough that any employee can be trained (by anyone) to implement them.

From there, keep simplifying! McDonalds recently revamped their ordering system—moving customers down the counter to pick up their food rather than holding up the other customers who were still waiting to order. It seems like common sense, but this change wasn’t officially made until 2012, nearly 70 years after the restaurant first opened their doors—and only because the employees on the front line were requesting it. Keep in mind that even the most simple and efficient systems can always be improved upon—and don’t forget to listen to your employees. They’re more likely to recognize broken processes (er, “flawed”) than you are—after all, they’re the ones implementing those systems each day.

Long story short; even if you never plan on selling your business—you should design your business model like you are. When your company stops being so dependent on the people that run it, it’s more likely to succeed.

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