The TFC team are delighted to have been involved in the Great British Franchise Cycle in the month of August 2019 to raise awareness and funds for the Franchise Trust. We have been lucky enough to enjoy many miles of cycling including the coast to coast (C2C) national cycleway from Whitehaven to Sunderland. Our conversations turned to history and our proximity to the great Hadrian’s Wall. I have previously cycled the Roman route just north with a lifelong friend and self proclaimed ancient history expert. He spent the hours explaining to me what the Romans actually did do for us. Strangely enough the parallels and lessons are not lost on our beloved industry of franchising as the practices and terms are widely used today:
The Roman brand was certainly the ancient civilised world’s super-brand. Everyone knew what Rome stood for and where it was positioned. It was ruthless and feared but at the same time aspirational. True Romans were viewed with awe and those adopted into the army were set for life.
Ease of Replication
They invested heavily in their brand and made sure it was consistent across Europe with systems replicated to the finest detail; something that even McDonalds would be proud of. Nothing was left to chance and everything had its process. All forts were exactly the same wherever they were in the empire and ranked only in size difference. If a centurion was sent from Africa to England they arrived to a familiar room and already knew where everything was kept.
The Emperors and those below them travelled amongst their people and across their territory. Apparently Emperor Hadrian was a dedicated traveller and lead by example. The Romans were seen to lead and they made sure their men were kept lean and away from home out of their indigenous groups to avoid dissent helped by the fact that any organised group would never get very far as they were in unfamiliar territory thousands of miles from home.
Their methods of working hard and following the system are echoed by any successful Franchisor today however Rome stopped at nothing to make sure they were adhered to. I doubt whether they would pass the Bfa’s code of ethics however. An example is the term ‘decimate’, still of course used today. However the sinister origins come from the practice of Romans whereby every 10th man in a group of comrades who showed cowardice in battle was beaten to death by the other 9. Follow the system or end up having to beat your friend to death or worse, die getting stoned by your band of brothers!
Rome has many other lessons including efficient communication, well resourced expansion and the highest quality building skills. We survived the historical comparisons as well as the 140 miles and 10,000ft coast to coast healthy, apart from a little soreness. All is good, but I think I’ll stick to something a little more sedate for a week or two.
Thanks must go to the TFC team especially our amazing support car driver Jackie Wilkinson.