General Kelly and President Trump

Several weeks ago I had the privilege to hear General John Kelly speak.  As you know, General Kelly has served under multiple Presidents and, most recently, was Chief of Staff under President Trump.  The presentation was fascinating; however, the most interesting part was during Q&A.  General Kelly was asked about President Trump’s competence to hold the Office of the President.  ‘Does President Trump fully understand what he is doing?  Is he fit to hold office?’ 

The answer was surprising.  General Kelly responded by saying – “No.  President Trump was not fit to hold the Office of the President and he still isn’t.”  You could have heard a pin drop.  General Kelly then went on to say.  “Wait, wait, before you jump to conclusions, let me tell you the rest of the story.  Obama was not fit.  Bush, Clinton, Reagan, …Lincoln.  Name the president and I will tell you that they were not ready.  On day one, every President has areas they understand and other areas in which they are completely ignorant.  The job requires so much knowledge and is so demanding that nobody could ever be fully ready.”

I was thinking about General Kelly’s comments.  It seems they apply equally well to business ownership.  Every future franchisee I work with wants to be 100% ready to be a business owner.  They want to know everything possible before jumping into the captain’s seat.  Unfortunately, there is simply too much to know.  Regardless of preparation, when you open your first business you will find yourself sliding down a learning curve.  The curve will include operations, marketing, employee hiring, bookkeeping, etc.  Most learning happens through doing. You will also discover the mental aspects of ownership.  Not all days will be good.  Your personal confidence will be challenged, and you will have to look in the mirror and feel comfortable with what you see.

In the last part of The Educated Franchisee – Third Edition, I discuss the fact that your first year in business is about learning the operational principles of your business – building your foundation.  The second year is dedicated to building upon the foundation.  Given General Kelly’s comments, I would add – ‘Remember humility.  There will always be something new to learn.  Unexpected challenges are the norm.  Have fun and enjoy watching yourself grow’