Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. Sun Tzu’s writings have been recorded as “The Oldest Military Treatise in the World,”. His most popular saying says,“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The art of war can be applied into personal lives, politics,business and in any situation. Often we find that we have to make war, maybe at work, at home with a rebellious teenager or in your business with that competitor who is plotting a hostile take over. It is always wise to pick your battles wisely. Not very battle is for fighting, some only require for you to walk away and turn your back against the aggressor, some require that you face the aggressor in the face and fight for what is rightfully yours. If you can make these decisions and pick and win the right wars, you are set for victory.
If you are spending millions of your marketing budget on a market and are not gaining any market share, is it good to go into a TV advertising war path or to just concede that the market cannot be penetrated and will hurt your business ultimately. Richard Branson and Virgin pulled out of the Nigerian market, even though there is a lot of money to be made.
Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for any practical purpose.
Lastly, it is by his information that the surviving spy can be used on appointed occasions. The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties is knowledge of the enemy; and this knowledge can only be derived, in the first instance, from the converted spy.
Below are the thirteen principles to wage a good war.
1. Laying Plans
2. Waging War
3. Attack by Stratagem
4. Tactical Dispositions
6. Weak Points and Strong
8. Variation in Tactics
9. The Army on the March
11. The Nine Situations
12. The Attack by Fire
13. The Use of Spies
May you choose your wars and fight fight them well and win.
The franchise sector continues to steam ahead and grow around the world as popular brands duplicate themselves. According to Bendeta Gordon of Franchise Directions, a greater number of new systems were seen in education and training, building, office and home, retail and food. Overall franchisors showed a 12% growth in turnover in real estate, building, office and home and entertainment and leisure. This growth represents a growth in jobs and contribution to gdp. In 2010 the sector created 37 660 jobs in South Africa and contributed 11% to GDP.
Such figures give a case for the franchise business model. As the global market continues under stress, the franchise model appeals to many business people because it has been tried and tested. In the United States almost half of all retail sales are made through firms operating under the franchise system like McDonald’s which has a brand franchise. Franchising is becoming increasingly popular in this country. South Africa appears as a Western country because of the availability of international brands. It is possible to get a Starbucks coffee and a McDonalds burger in Johannesburg. There is no need to travel all the way to America to buy a good pair of jeans or designer clothing. Most are available at Sandton Cit
y or any of the numerous shopping malls. If you miss the British High Street try, Melrose arch where shops line streets and to remind you of Europe.
What is a franchise?
Franchising is really the ‘hiring out’ or licensing of the use of ‘good ideas’ to other companies. A franchise grants permission to sell a product and trade under a certain name in a particular area. If I have a good idea, I can sell you a license to trade and carry out a business using my idea in your area. The person taking out the franchise puts down a sum of money as capital and is issued with equipment by the franchising company. The firm selling the franchise is called the franchisor and a person paying for the franchise is called the franchisee.
Where materials are an important part of the business (e.g. confectionary, pizza bases, hair salons) the franchisee must buy an agreed percentage of supplies from the franchisor, who thus makes a profit on these supplies as well as ensuring the quality of the final product. The franchisor also takes a percentage of the profits of the business, without having to risk capital or become involved in the day-to-day management.
The franchisee benefits from trading under a well-known name and enjoys a local monopoly. Training is usually arranged by the franchisor. The franchisee is his or her own boss and takes most of the profits. Franchises are commonly found in Quick Service Restaurants such as McDonalds as well as in other food outlets and 24 hours services such as 24 hour plumbing.
Frequently Asked Franchising questions
Should I buy that franchise?
There are a few things to look at among others.
- Is the franchise growing or declining. If the number of franchisees is growing this shows that the franchise is going well. Zimbabwe has seen the number of SPAR franchises growing, they seem to be doing well, but lately, a few of them have been closing down. More research is needed to establish whether the SPAR franchise is a good one to buy.
- Increase in litigation: Are there many legal cases against the franchisor in the courts and what has the trend been like? If litigation is increasing, this may mean that there may be issues with the franchisor.
- Study the financials: Financials always paint a picture of the how the operation is running. Most franchisors’ income is from franchisees and if the balances are going doing this may be an indication that the franchisees are struggling to pay their franchise fees and this is not a good thing. Another thing is also that the franchisor will be able to give you the required support.
- Sales trends: If annual sales volumes are decreasing this is a sign that the business is subject to highs and lows and the current economic challenges will be felt bitterly.
- Visit existing Franchisees: Get a feel of how the franchise going by chatting with to franchisees and ask a few questions. How do you feel, how have the last few years been and would you do it again. Sounds like marriage
Q: How should one evaluate a franchise
A: Ask for a disclosure document. A disclosure document is a good source of information about the chosen franchise. The document should include information such as start up costs, training given, feasibility studies, expenses and the approximate time required to break even.
Q: How are franchisees chosen?
A: Most companies use models created by consultants together with sophisticated application forms and personality tests. Franchisees should be self starters, entrepreneurial and be able to work alone, A franchisor is looking for be a good fit between the skills, strengths and attributes with the franchisee.
Q. What qualities are the most important for franchisees?
A: It may be passion and drive because when the going gets tough, that my be all you have to keep you going.
Zimbabwe does not have that many franchise businesses operating possibly due to the harsh economic climate experienced in the last few years. In this situation, there will be few businesses to compare with and to get information from, but the taste of the pudding is in the eating. If your gut feeling tells you to go for, then go for it, I am sure your odds will be better than starting a noname business where you will need to build brand awareness. As for the rest of us, we wouldn’t mind having Chicken Licken, KFC, Wimpy, Steers and maybe even McDonalds and Burger King! There is nothing wrong with dreaming. Imagine all the big shops at Sam Levy’s Village or Westgate. Gees, I had forgotten about Debonnaires Pizza and Romans pizza, real pizza, not the little stuff they sell in Zim.
Franchising is also going green and social, so maybe we’ll find social franchising in Zimbabwe soon!! That would be nice!
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