The Hidden Business Agenda

Aug. 1, 2023
What motivates your business model?

Trivia Time: What do Google, Facebook, Twitter, and McDonald’s have in common? They all have a predominant business that doesn’t match what their end user acquired. Although they have a strong following, brand, and market position, all of them deliver you a desired product but use that product as a driver to their actual business agenda.

The McDonald’s corporation has long been one of the dominant faces on busy business corners for decades. Their consistent approach to fast and affordable meals has dominated the fast-food industry, (even with a broken ice cream machine). In its explosive growth years, the strategy changed from producing 15 cent hamburgers quickly to buying up land, building sites in “A” locations and leasing the land to franchisees. Yes, the land of the two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun is just a tool. The key is to get someone to do the burger flipping while you own the 30 billion real estate and negotiate the leases.

Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter deliver you the ability to connect with friends, family, your ex you never really got over, plus celebrities all over the world. Last year Facebook's app was downloaded 413 million times despite being around for over 10 years. You wouldn’t be surprised that your monthly Facebook bill comes out to zero dollars each month. 2.9 billion people use Facebook and pay nothing, yet Facebook reported a profit of 23-billion-dollar in 2022. This is because social media companies do not sell social media, they sell you. Facebook alone took over 23% of all market share in advertising dollars last year (second biggest). They are in the business of providing companies with an audience to sell to.

Another giant business called Google is the dominating force in web services. Whereas kids in the 80’s and 90’s were told to look up a question in the dictionary, the kids of today are told to “Google it”. That trademark name is just as popular as saying “Grab a Kleenex” instead of saying “Grab a tissue”. Your quest to prove yourself right in a spirited debate of wits pushes you to jump on Google and pay them nothing for your answer. Google is not an answer machine, they are not in the business of selling you answers. Like social media, they are in the business of selling your attention to companies. As the biggest holder of advertising market share (over 30%) their profits from SEO, search ads, and YouTube ads exceeded 224 billion dollars in 2022. This is roughly 80% of their entire revenue.

Our business has multiple agendas. Some consider our business and automotive business where we service vehicles to prevent future damage or to fix damages. Some would say they are in the customer service business, where their key component is pleasing guests and others are in the car count business offering up lower prices or convenience, giving up profit percentage for net dollar revenue. Do you have a hidden agenda?

Many business owners went the way of McDonald's offering up names in franchising. You don’t buy a franchise to learn to change oil, you buy for market share, buying power and leaned processes. Strong companies like FullSpeed, Driven Brands, Jiffy Lube and Strickland Brothers have found great success in not just producing a quality service, but to produce a quality business to sell to franchises. This helps with their own internal purchasing power and creates great profit margins. For example, McDonald's reports keeping 16% of their income from corporate store income and 80% profit from their franchise income.

Other hidden agendas get more personal. Some wanted a place of their own to “be their own boss”. Some wanted to build a business to help a personal mission. Take for example The Ranch Quick Lube in Morgantown, West Virginia. This quick lube is owned by a non-profit as a revenue driver to support its ranch for troubled boys. There are some that want to provide a path for their kids and family to work and thrive in a family environment. I have had the pleasure of working with some owners whose mission was to create shop owners from their own ranks. Giving someone who came in to turn a wrench the opportunity to turn a key to their own store.

The hidden agenda is a driver of dreams. Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad Poor Dad teaches a mindset that changes “I can’t do it” to “how can I do it”. For you to be successful in any venture you need to understand your driving agenda. Understand what you are attempting to do and create a platform that gives the guest what they want (hamburger, an answer, oil change, or video) while delivering what you really started this path for.

Photo 164427214 © Anatoliygleb |
Photo 90925830 | Auto Mechanic Team © Vadimgozhda |
Photo 177937583 © Alexey Novikov |