Is Company Culture Important When Buying a Franchise?

 What is Company Culture and how do You Fit in?

Would you feel comfortable attending an annual conference where one of the activities is careening down a mountain with a crash helmet trying to beat someone’s time or attend a meeting where one of the activities is attending a professional baseball game?  Both franchises are fitness franchises – which do you fit in?  Maybe somewhere in the middle?

Culture is the backbone of the organization.  It is the sum of beliefs, attitudes, work styles, and standards that create a unique brand.  It is their WHY.  It is what UNIFIES them.  It is how the organization STANDS OUT amongst its competitors.  It gives the system DIRECTION as to how they conduct their daily business.  A unified culture allows the people within to work better together, learn from one another, and be the best they can be.  Every company has a culture.  Culture has a dramatic impact on the bottom line, thus getting in sync important.

The research our profile uses is based on Robert Quinn and John Campbell’s cultural indications.  They studied how culture motivates behaviors and saw key indicators between cultural compatibility and performance.  Take a moment to think about your career and where you felt comfortable within an organization or when you saw someone that just did not seem to belong.  Where is your mojo?  Working in a collaborative, creative, controlling, or competitive environment?  Those are the basic types of culture simplified. 

A controlling environment is one of unity, stability, integration, and an internal focus.  There are rules for accountability along with incremental and long-term goals.  The system controls how to deliver the product or service – what is the next step or when to do it.  People appreciate and accept the system, like working within the box and follow a chain of command.  Work is undertaken with a sense of collective purpose and direction.  This type of system is the hierarchical structure – policy is dictated from the top down. 

Why Company Culture Matters!

Imagine working within a system that makes you feel that your opinion or insight is not important?  This is how we have done things around here for 30 years is your standard reply.  How long would you last here?  How would you feel working in a large organization?  Are power and status important to you?  Are you more comfortable inside the box?  Are you looking to be a multi-unit owner?  This type of culture may work best for you. 

A collaborative environment is fundamentally different from the vertical, hierarchical structure of the controlling environment.  Flexibility, dynamism, internal focus, integration is dominating features of this culture.  Here is a system where best practices are shared and there is more of a give and take between franchisors and franchisees.  This system will be early adaptors of franchise councils and will look to their franchisees for input and feedback.  There is more of a family feel to the organization.  Everyone works collectively with a shared vision.  All talents are respected.

Are you the type of person that works well with others?  Are you able to set aside your ego for the collective?  Do you like working in a mentoring system or would you be more independent?  Do you have the patience to collectively turn a ship around when it comes to change?  Can you work diplomatically?

A creative environment is the most flexible and dynamic type of culture.  It is the most innovative, fast-moving, and most adaptive to quick changes in the marketplace.  Their external focus is what allows the organization to stay ahead.  To foster a creative environment, there is a high level of trust amongst all participants.  This is an organization that is not afraid to make a mistake.

Are you able to easily adapt and find a team of diverse employees that are adaptable? Are you a high-risk taker?  Are you yourself innovative and flexible?  Can you work within a less structured environment?  To foster creativity, you must show your employees that you have a high level of trust in them – are you comfortable if they mess up?  Do you need stability?  Can you herd cats?

The last type of culture is a competitive culture.  This system has an external focus like the creative culture but there is a need for systems to fit the innovations.  There is a pulse on the market with a constant need and desire to do things better, cheaper, and faster.  This is a hard-driving, goal-orientated winning system.  They form strategic alliances and partnerships to get better market share and penetration.  While not being averse to risk, this system is not as innovative, warm, or friendly.  Their goal is to produce the best financial results.

Do you have a dominant personality that can get your point across clearly and concisely in a meeting?  Do you constantly think about how you can do things better?  Are your feelings easily hurt?  Can you work in a demanding, goal-orientated environment?  Are you comfortable with some risk – or are you comfortable going “all in”?

Most people are a combination of cultures.  There have been as many as 39 different company cultures identified by people in lab coats.  What we try to do is best match you with a type of culture that will allow your talents to thrive.  There are about 30 different fitness franchises out there.  Each with a different culture and way they go to market.  Knowing where you would best fit in with help you be happier and more engaged. 

Fast Facts

Per Dr. Stuart Brown:

Happy employees perform 20% better.

They are 12% more productive.

Take 10% fewer sick days.

They have 37% higher sales.

We want you to be happy – we just won’t sell you a franchise based on a commission.