Time for that Spring clean in your franchise
Spring is the perfect time for new beginnings… everything appears new, fresh and clean. September is the perfect time to spring clean your franchise business.
It always helps to step back from your business from time to time and assess where it is headed. That way, you’ll know what to do next. It is the time to pause in your hectic schedule, reflect and look at things from a different, longer-term perspective. Probably, throughout the year you’ve had all sorts of ideas popping into your mind, but shunt them aside as you rush to your next meeting, and let things continue to run as they are for a little longer. After all, you have a franchisor to look after the ‘bigger picture’ stuff.
Now’s the time to dust off your best ideas that have been sitting in the recesses of your mind all winter. There is more than a single aspect to a spring clean: there’s the personal angle; and there’s the business angle. You’re not going to make much impact on your business until you unclutter your own head.
Your personal development
Here are some practical tips to unclutter your mind:
- Declutter your desk – the largest amount of time in a day can be wasted just looking for stuff. A clean office can reduce your stress, increase your productivity, and help you stay organised. If you don’t already have one, develop your own dynamic filing system to clear your desk, with digitalised reminders of everything you have to do as it arises. This is easily said, and is a topic that requires an entire book to cover. Nonetheless: do it.
- Replenish your office supplies – take inventory of your office supplies and in preparation for the coming year stock up on anything you may need. This creates an opportunity to re-evaluate your business cards and marketing materials. However, don’t seek to actually DO anything about these straightaway (it’s not part of spring cleaning), but rather add them to your ‘To Do’ list.
- Brush up on your industry skills – take some time to upgrade you management and industry capability. This sets you up for growth. The economy is plummeting and your local marketing strategies may require attention. Refresh your knowledge of new developments, tools and trends.
- Find a mentor – don’t ask why it works, but it seems to be a fact of life: you’re much less likely to break a promise to another person than to yourself. Having that other person around holds you more accountable. Today, even relatively middle of the corporate ladder corporate managers find it worthwhile to employ a personal coach. Two minds are better than one, right? It can offer fresh takes on problems that might be causing your business to stagnate. These people will typically pose to you powerful questions to get to the bottom of a dilemma. A mentor is usually for free, if one will take you on, but an affordable coach can also do the trick.
Time for your business
Now it’s time to look at the business itself, by planning and reviewing strategies.
A good springboard for this is to simply ask yourself a few of those ‘powerful questions’ about how you work:
- When you talk about your franchise business, what words do you use? The terminology you use in describing your business often reflects where your priorities lie. Do you focus on the franchise itself, or are your conversations with staff littered with the words, “I” and “Me”. As a bit of mental conditioning, try talk about “Us” more often. Your business has to be all about your customers and your staff, let that be reflected in how you speak.
- Who do you listen to most — yourself or your customers? Do you try persuade your customers you are right, or, do you put yourself in their shoes and remove obstacles to their being willing to buy from you? Find out what they really want: talk to them all the time, ask the right questions with a smile, listen carefully, and you’ll discover everything you need to know to help convert a visitor into a customer.
- Do customers stay with you? Instead of always focusing on new customers, take a look in the rearview mirror to make sure your current, familiar customers are staying with you. Do you create mutually beneficial relationships that give them more than just a transaction? Your customers give you more than just money. They give you their trust. Give them a reason to stay – let them trust you. Trust is the currency of optimum customer relationships.
- Are you willing to try new methods of customer acquisition? Technology is evolving at a frightening speed, and businesses are establishing themselves sometimes overnight through social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Go ahead and test it out.
Do the above personal steps; then ask yourself these four questions and spring clean your business practices. Your franchise will sparkle with more profitability.