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The Wealthy Franchisee

The 3 Big Questions to Ask Yourself to Get Big Results for Your Franchise Wealthy franchisees carefully consider what they want their business to achieve beyond profitability.

By Scott Greenberg

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

This is part 4 / 5 of The Wealthy Franchisee: Section 5: Managing the Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship series.

As a franchise coach, I've observed a lot about top franchisees over the years. One common behavior I've observed among the most successful franchisees is that they spend time upfront envisioning the larger context of their enterprise. They ask big questions and consider what they want their business to achieve besides profitability. Instead of thinking only about what they want to get, they also think about what they want to give and who they want to be. That context, that larger perspective, remains on their minds at all times. They excel at all the little things because they never lose sight of the big things.

Wealth is built not by chasing it but by attracting it. The more value you put out there, the more money tends to flow in your direction. Franchisees who focus on something bigger than their own interests make more impact, boosting quality of life for themselves and everyone their business touches. Their wider perspective helps them make smarter business decisions—and, consequently, more money.

Related: Mindset Differences Between The Wealthy And The Struggling

Running a franchise enables you to do some pretty cool things. Important things. That may be the key to building wealth. It's certainly one of the habits of wealthy franchisees.

What, How, and Why?

There are three important questions worthy of deep consideration. Your answers will yield practical benefits and help you make decisions. On the surface, they seem merely philosophical, and if you don't make use of the answers, they will be of no benefit. But if you incorporate them into your daily activities, they'll become valuable tools that will take your operation to the next level. The questions are:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How are you doing it?
  3. Why are you doing it?

Let's walk through each one to see how they line up with your mission, values, and purpose.

What Do You Do?

What's your business's daily assignment? What's its specific, important contribution? What's its role in the big picture? Think beyond personal gain or what it's meant to do for you. What's your business putting out into the world? Your answer will define your mission.

How Are You Doing It?

Not tactically, but morally. How do you want to be as you do this work? What principles will you stand for as you fulfill your mission? What guidelines will determine how you operate? These answers are your values.

Why Are You Doing It?

What's your reason for doing all this? Why does your business exist? How does it improve the world or enhance life? Your answers to these questions make up your purpose.

Your mission, values, and purpose combine to determine how your business will run—if you use them. Plenty of companies write mission or value statements and immediately ignore them, posting these grandiose proclamations on their websites for the world to see and never looking at them again. It's pretty rare to find someone who can recite their company's official working philosophy.

Whether or not you realize it, something is influencing your decisions. It could be your passion or your fear. You might be chasing success or running from failure. You might do what's best for customers or what's best for your ego. Clarifying your philosophy will ensure that you work, live, and operate deliberately, according to predetermined standards.

Thinking Big Beyond Your Business

If your motive is just to make money, you'll probably make less of it, and it won't be worth it—it's too darn hard. Building a business requires a Herculean level of effort. Not one wealthy franchisee has ever told me success just happened for them. They've all invested long hours and endured a lot of headaches. Many of them shared stories of wanting to quit. It's so much harder than having a job. Resilience isn't just an advantage for a franchisee—it's a basic requirement.

Having a strong sense of purpose is a powerful source of resilience. As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "He who has a why to live, can bear with almost any how." When you have a strong reason to fight for something, you can fight harder and longer. I've learned that as a parent. I'll let myself go hungry, but I won't let my kids. For them, I'll work a lot harder to put food on the table.

But most people want to take care of their families, so that isn't enough to elevate your thinking to the place where magic happens. You need to see your business as a vital part of a larger family. That's a perspective I consistently see among the great people of the franchise world. Their ambition exceeds their business, which is just one part of many aspirations. They play on a much larger field, and that broader perspective helps them run a better business.

A great example of this is Fastsigns' Catherine Monson. You'd think being CEO and president of an international sign franchise would place enormous demands on her time. But ambitious people always seem to make more time for the things that matter. Catherine's also found a way to chair the IFA, participate in a number of franchise committees, serve on the board of multiple franchises and a print industry association, and maintain an active speaking schedule.

Related: Busting the Myths of Franchising

I asked her why, with so much already on her plate, she takes it on herself to advocate for the entire franchise industry rather than just focusing on Fastsigns. "If the franchise business model is harmed, this great thing I get to do goes away. I'm a big believer in personal responsibility. I think that's key in everything in life. So I better be in Washington, DC," she said. Doing all this work outside the franchise exposes her to more ideas, relationships, and resources for the franchise. She can represent her company's interests and have more influence on the conversations and policies that directly impact it. She looks out for her home by looking out for her entire neighborhood. Being more than a CEO has made her a better CEO.

Thinking Big Within Your Business

The wealthy franchisee mindset isn't just about working in a bigger world. It's also about doing bigger, more meaningful work within your business. That larger meaning is communicated in your mission, values, and purpose. You may think these things aren't important, but the data increasingly shows that they mean a lot to your customers.

According to the 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose Study "How to Build Deeper Bonds, Amplify Your Message and Expand the Consumer Base":

  • 78 percent of Americans believe companies should impact society as well as make money.
  • 77 percent feel a stronger emotional connection to companies that exhibit a social purpose.
  • 66 percent would switch from a product they regularly buy to one from a purpose-driven brand.
  • 68 percent are more willing to share content from a purpose-driven brand on social media than content from a traditional company.

These things mean a lot to the people you're trying to hire as well. According to the PwC 2016 report "Putting Purpose to Work: A Study of Purpose in the Workplace," Millennials are more than five times more likely to stay in a job when they have a strong connection to their employer's purpose. Non-millennials are more than twice as likely to do so. Employers acknowledge this data but have been slow to take it seriously. While 79 percent of business leaders agree on the importance of purpose for their success and longevity, only a third of them agree that it's used for leadership decision-making.

Using it for your decision-making will make a difference. It does for wealthy franchisees. All the great ones I meet are deeply concerned about the philosophical infrastructure of their business. They take the time to carefully articulate their goals and principles and infuse them into every aspect of their business—and that gets them results.

Related: The Formula For Success In Franchising

UPS Store superstar franchisee Burke Jones has his mission statement posted on the walls, in the back, on his business card, and even in his bathroom: "We deliver a five-star experience to our customers, co-workers, vendors, and community by merging world-class customer service with world-class business solutions, delivered with a world-class positive attitude."

You can't go anywhere near his business without seeing his operating philosophy. His mission statement isn't artwork or a slogan. It's a working set of guidelines that drives every element of his business.

Formalizing Your Philosophy

Purpose, mission, and value statements shouldn't be written to impress your customers. They're meant more for internal use. They define the company for your team members. The way your philosophy sounds is less important than the action it inspires. That's what impresses your customers.

Having said that, carefully expressing your philosophy in written words will make it easier to communicate it to your team. Companies use the phrases "mission statement," "purpose statement," and "value statement" interchangeably. There's no right or wrong name for it. Nor is there one correct format. Don't get too hung up on what you call it or how you present it. What's most important is that it codifies your overall philosophy in a way that's useful. It's likely your franchisor already has a formal mission statement for your brand. If that works for you, embrace it. If not, create your own. Just make sure your philosophy aligns with theirs.

Write your philosophy statement with as few people as possible. Some organizations try to get buy-in by making the process very inclusive. This rarely works, because groups can't write. I've taken some through the process, and it's really hard. It's much easier to have one or two leaders draft something and then solicit feedback. Or don't ask for feedback. This is your business, and you've paid for the privilege of defining your own culture. You can decide what you want to achieve and who you want to be and then build the business around your preference.

Related: Explore the Franchise 500

Here is an example of how I would have written up the philosophy statement for the Edible Arrangements I owed:

At Edible Arrangements, we create delicious, attractive fruit arrangements (our mission) that help people celebrate important occasions in their lives (our purpose). Every move we make is guided by the following principles (our values):

  • Teamwork. We accomplish more when we work together.
  • Family. Whether it's the family we're from or the family we create, everything we do will strengthen our relationships.
  • Personal Growth. All of us should develop, learn, and grow from doing this work.
  • Courage. We will acknowledge our feelings but always do the work necessary to accomplish our goals.
  • Continuous Improvement. We will constantly learn and evolve in order to remain the best at what we do.
  • Profitability. We will bring in more money than we spend in order to sustain the business and continue accomplishing our goals.
  • Enhancing Life. Our business should improve the lives of everyone it touches.

This philosophy may or may not resonate with you, but that doesn't matter. It's mine. It's the way I want to run my operation. Anyone who wants to work with me will need to get on board with it. If they don't, they're a bad fit. Clarifying your philosophy will help you recognize the practices and the people who are a good fit for you.

Related: The Most Common Problems Franchisees Face

Operationalizing Your Philosophy

A mission statement is like any other tool: It only works if you use it. Great businesses make their statement a regular part of their operation.

The Ritz-Carlton is well-known for its daily shift lineup meetings. Each day, every employee in the company worldwide is pulled from their work for 10 minutes to discuss daily operations and some element of Ritz-Carlton's philosophy. They review their service principles and their purpose as outlined on their "credo card." This card is a required element of their uniform that must be on their person at all times. I visited the Ritz in New Orleans, and every employee I met proudly flashed their card when I inquired if they had it. Their executive chef allowed me to watch the lineup he led with his kitchen staff, and I asked one of the cooks if this daily conversation really made a difference. "Some days we feel it more than others, but we never forget why we're here and what's expected," he said. This is why Ritz's guests can expect so much.

Most wealthy franchisees I've spoken with have formal rituals and processes that consistently promote their philosophy to their team. Whether it's part of their employee onboarding and training, their performance reviews, or in conversations about how to address issues that arise, it's always there.

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