Michael Keaton stars as more than a couple of clones in “Multiplicity,” a 1996 film directed by the late Harold Ramis.

It may seem odd to you that I didn’t pick Michael Keaton’s more popular movie “The Founder” about the life and times of Ray Kroc during his leadership and the ascendancy of McDonald’s the most well known and dominant franchise brand the world has ever known.

The Ray Kroc movie is the more famous and maybe the only movie where franchising is central to the story in a film.

I picked “Multiplicity” a comedy science fiction film starring Michael Keaton as Doug Kinney a man who duplicates himself using a machine, each duplicate developing its own personality, then causing a great deal of problems.

Since this resembles what does happen in franchising. 

So you want to franchise your business or you are an emergent franchisor just launching and you’ve been told the essence of franchising is the continuous multiplication and duplication of your standard business model over and over again utilizing the franchise growth model. 

I recommend not being so fast on accepting that popular conventional wisdom that franchising really is as simple as  replicating, duplicating, cloning a business and then multiplying it.  

Most of the time franchisors to a greater or lesser degree start with a minimally viable franchise model to sell to investors and subsequently franchisors and franchisees find themselves building the plane while flying it and that’s almost always not harmoniously done or even a little bit fun.

Like in the early stages of Michael Keaton’s character Doug Kinney in “Multiplicity” each duplicate franchisee and location has their own personality and often it does not resemble the franchisor’s original location or operations because what was built by the franchisee at the direction of the franchisor was a prototypical future envisioning and imaging of what the ideal franchise concept should look and operate like. 

Imagine successfully selling 5 franchisees who each build locations out of the gate in the first 18 months of a franchisor franchising and consider what that might look like?

For early stage Franchisors this “Multiplicity” is something they did not plan or budget for. And the franchisees did not bargain for since they thought they were buying into an established business model in a box and often with a just add water mentality about what it would take.

So what do you do if this has happened to your franchise brand and you want to fix it?

If you have the franchisor “Multiplicity” dilemma on your hands you need to take stock with where you are now and revisit the franchise business thesis of your strategic plan.  This requires being brave enough to question all your closely held convictions on how you thought your franchise development would look, then go a step further and be even more courageous by getting the buy-in and help from your founding franchisees who have invested in you and your brand in order to right the ship.

Drop us line if you want to chat about your franchising and how to improve what you are doing.

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