Over the years, McDonald's has been able to sell hundreds of billions of hamburgers. One of the reasons for the chain's success is that many McDonald's restaurants are franchise operations and the owners are on the premises.

That's not to say that every business requires the owner to be at the helm all the time. But when a company is interested in maximizing profits, the owner had better be on board -- not just on call.
Take the case of the absentee owner of a chain of gift shops. Although sales had fallen off in response to a slumping economy, most of her stores were still operating in the black. One location, however, was faring worse than the others and the owner wanted to close it before it dragged her entire company under.

For several years, this retail business had been "managed" long distance by the owner. Before shutting it down, she decided to spend some time at the problem location.

  It didn't take long to identify the cause of the store's distress. The place was filthy, inventory wasn't being ordered on a timely basis and staff morale was poor. Even worse, the unit manager, who was being paid more than $100,000 a year to run the store, wasn't there most of the time. The owner also learned that the shop was routinely being closed an hour or two early every day.

The store manager was fired and the owner took charge of the operation personally. Within a short time, sales bounced back and the store was operating in the black again.

The lesson: Every business owner or top manager can find some way to become more involved -- especially during tough times. That's when your leadership can make a real difference.

Even when times aren't so challenging, you can improve your company by becoming more of a motivational force. Start attending staff meetings that you ordinarily pass up. Write an article for your company's internal newsletter or start an employee publication if you don't have one. Go on customer calls with your sales reps. Spend some time on the assembly line, the loading dock or the sales floor.

Let your people know that you're willing to roll up your sleeves and pitch in. Your involvement will make a difference!

© Bizactions LLC.