How My Accountant Inspired Me

Who would have thought that visiting an accountant could be an inspirational experience? But there I was, nodding enthusiastically, as my accountant shared some amazing information with me.

Before I tell you what he said, let me introduce you to Bernard Curran from BDO, a polite, small man with silver hair, glasses and impeccable dress sense. While Bernard also has a quiet charm about him, he is certainly no Anthony Robbins.

So what did we talk about that got me so excited? I can tell you, it wasn't about profitability, expense ratios or return on investment analyses. And it wasn't a pep talk in the usual sense. What Bernard did was quietly read out five bullet points from a letter he had sent me two and a half years earlier. And the reason why I found these five points so fascinating? They were my own words that he had written down during our first meeting. He was reading my own goals back to me!

The most powerful motivation of all

This got me thinking about something field managers often tell us when we ask them what works best in keeping franchisees fresh and motivated. Inevitably they say having franchisees talk about their aspirations or goals has a revitalising effect. This is what I was experiencing as my accountant reminded me, in my own words, why I run my business and what is important to me, professionally and personally.

The most powerful form of motivation is what psychologists call "intrinsic motivation". This is motivation that comes from within, from one's own sense of excellence and passion. And it is often more linked to achieving personal challenges and making a difference to the lives of others, than to meeting sales quotas or the goals of a franchisor.

Interestingly, in an in-depth study of 802 franchisees that the team at FRI ran in 2007, we discovered franchisees who were more intrinsically motivated were also more profitable, delivered better customer service and were rated as more cooperative by their franchisors. They were also more satisfied. (Incidentally we are about to launch a continuation of this study. I'll keep you posted.)

One of the most useful conversations you can have with a franchisee, especially when you first meet, is to ask them about their personal and business aspirations. Ask them, "Why have you bought into this business?" or "What aspect of running this business brings you the most satisfaction?" And remember to write these down for later reference, just like Bernard did. It's powerful stuff.

Until next time,

Greg Nathan

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