What got you here, won't get you there this is the message that we are increasingly delivering to our clients.

At Institute of Leadership and Strategy, our executive clients are very successful people, typically the owners and senior leadership of their businesses. They have grown their companies through brains and grit - lots and lots of grit. Definitely a battle-hardened group of entrepreneurs.

These guys and gals are masters of their universe and experts at selling their concept locally, filling in where needed at local locations, filing the ever-changing requirements of government paper work, customer service, problem solving and everything else needed to run a successful franchise.

But getting to the next level seems just as hard if not more so. We were on our way to becoming the next McDonalds, Maaco, FastSigns, or H.R. Block, so what happened? When working with clients I often ask them; what was your strategy and process to take you beyond where you are? Second, do you have the company culture to execute your strategy? Last, do you have a process that is expandable and duplicatable?

Do These 4 Things to Get There

1. Clear Vision

Your vision must be crystal clear of where you are going and how you are going to get there. For entrepreneurs, this can be easier said than done. Entrepreneurs can be BIG PICTURE people, simplifying this can be a challenge. As your company expands you must be able to communicate your vision clearly to everyone; employees, franchise, and potential customers. Along with your vision your brand needs to be just as clear. What does your brand mean to your franchises, customers, and industry?

2. Structure and Process

Your key leadership team must know exactly what they are accountable for. There are generally four "departments" in any size of organization; sales, marketing, operations, and finance. Your structure should be built out for the future not just the here and now. Each department should know exactly what they are accountable for and the process to execute their function. They should know the process of handing off customers and communication between each other.

Distinguish between corporate and franchise structure and process. To scale your business, a franchised company has to be duplicatable and not reliant on the founder's personality.

3. Culture

Culture is a sub set of small timeless guiding principles. It will define what your company stands for. Your culture must be purposely created, think of your culture as your garden. You plant and nurture the plants you want and you weed out the plants you don't want. As time goes on, you may need to prune back a good cultural trait that was growing too big or in the wrong direction. If you don't work on your garden, it will grow in unpredictable, crazy and unproductive ways - the same is true of your company culture. Many business leaders believe "If You Get the Culture Right, the Other stuff will take care of its self

4. Focus on Marketing and Sales

Let's get one thing straight; marketing is not sales, and sales is not marketing. In short, think of it this way; marketing sends out a specific duck call that brings ducks to the front yard; sales use a specific gun to shoot the ducks! Your "duck call" must communicate a focused message to your market. Your sales team should be trained to qualify your potential candidates, communicate your how your franchise fulfills their goal, then turn them into customers. WARNING: when franchisors begin selling franchises just to survive they run the risk of making choices out of desperation and placing people who are not a good fit into one of your units.

To gain an understanding of where you currently stand with the above segments, rank each one from 1 to 10; where 1 is you cannot even see what you're looking for, and 10 being exactly what you want and are truly happy. Be open and honest with your self-assessment. Ask yourself what a "10" would look like in each segment. Example: if you gave vision a rating of 6, then surely you would know what a 10 would look like. Gather your leadership team and map out the steps to help move your organization to a 10 in each of the above segments.

The things that got you here won't get you there. However, I can help you get there. I work with franchises to get better control of their operations, create a powerful strategy, and grow their revenues and presents in their market.

About the Author - Mike Temple

Mike Temple is the owner of Institute of Leadership and Strategy which focuses on small to medium size franchisors helping uncover what is really holding their company back and accelerate them toward their desired state. You can contact Mike at mike@instituteofleadershipandstrategy.com or 360-713-1709.

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