Where are you in your franchise journey? Where are you having challenges and where do you see opportunity? How can you solve the pain points and then turn your focus to scaling the business?
The Unstoppable Franchisee: 7 Drivers of Next-Level Growth is an idea-packed boots-on-the-ground book written for the franchisee who is committed to improving their business results. There is always something to be thinking about. Always more to be done. If you had a group of top-performing franchisees in a room, what would you ask them? How could the collected wisdom of this group make a difference to you, your team, your customers, and your community?
The collected wisdom in the pages of The Unstoppable Franchisee is what makes the book unique and special. You will hear from over 50 top-performing franchisees and franchisors on the hard realities of running a franchise business today and how they solved challenges and seized opportunities to grow their business and grow their people —while building incredible wealth-creating economic engines in the process.
Gary’s seven drivers, which are distilled in the book and combined with practical tools and exercises become a dynamic playbook to put their franchise on a path to next-level performance. Similar to “power-ups” in video games, where the first power-up adds strength and/or protection, and where each additional power-up creates a multiplier force, when any one of the drivers on its own gets implemented in your business, it permanently strengthens your business. As you implement each additional driver, a multiplying effect occurs and moves you closer to sustainable optimum performance at whichever level you set as your goal.
At your hands is a process that’s going to immediately enable you to break through your most challenging barriers and open up time and resources to grow your business. The process is presented within the pages of The Unstoppable Franchisee, and it is straightforward and easy to adopt. This process also meets you “where you are”; you can start on the driver that will solve your most pressing problem or allow you to seize the largest opportunity. Once that first driver is engaged, you can select the next as your focus, and so on.
What’s most exciting is that this process is highly repeatable throughout the life of your business. It will enable you to identify your biggest current opportunities and challenges, and then prioritize and rank-order them. You’ll be able to determine what resources are needed in order to take your first steps on that path to next-level success. And once you start taking these steps, you’ll want to continue moving forward.
It is the job of The Unstoppable Franchisee to get you uncomfortable with your current state, and get real about what needs to be done to achieve the growth curve ahead of you. It is the job of The Unstoppable Franchisee to make you miserable with the thought of doing nothing different. If you’re happy with your current state and just want to maintain your current comfort zone, then this book is not for you. This book is meant to take you into the zone of high-performing franchisees, and remain there.
Why this Book Relates to You, Your Business, and Your Community
There are countless books for small business owners, but surprisingly, books for existing franchisees on running a franchise business are few and far between. The majority of books that are available were written to help franchisors improve their operations, or to help prospective franchisees figure out which business to buy. Most of these franchising books do not help you to improve the results in your franchise. The Unstoppable Franchisee addresses this knowledge deficit.
For Existing Franchisees
The Unstoppable Franchisee: 7 Drivers of Next-Level Growth is the most in-depth book available that focuses primarily on helping franchisees improve how they run their existing franchise business. It is written by a top-performing franchisee who truly understands franchisees’ perspectives, opportunities, and challenges. Additionally, it is rich with insights from many top franchisees across a range of industries. The book features vital exercises to help franchisees assess their current circumstances, marshal resources, and immediately begin applying tactics to accelerate their next stage of progress, regardless of where they are on the franchisee bell curve.
The PDF-fillable companion playbook is available as a downloadable resource at no cost to all book purchasers; it includes every exercise from the book and becomes an ongoing reference that the franchisee and their key team members can continue to use for the lifespan of their business.
Dan Monaghan is the current Chair of the IFA Foundation, and as well he is the founder of Clear Summit Group, the parent company to several international brands. Dan has also been one of the author’s key sounding boards as this book came together. In a recent strategy discussion, Dan shared this: “Gary, you haven’t just written a book, you’ve created a franchisee engagement system for franchisors.”
As franchisees adopt the principles in this book and begin implementing the 7 drivers, a multiplying effect occurs and moves the franchisee closer to sustainable strong performance, which in turn drives
- More robust franchisee-to-franchisee sharing of best practices
- Stronger franchisor-franchisee and franchisee-franchisee culture
- Improved validation with prospective franchisees
- Higher royalty and rebate revenues
The book and the accompanying PDF-fillable playbook can become a bridge between the franchisee and the Field Business Coach to improve focus on each of the 7 drivers and around key business issues; for example, the sharing of best practices, working together to test and drive innovation as the business landscape evolves, the importance of adhering to the systems — and many others.
This book includes seven core drivers as follows:
- Grow a Next-Level Mindset
- Grow Your Awareness
- Grow Your Operational Management Skills
- Grow Your People, and Your Leadership Skills
- Master The System
- Grow Your Interdependence
- Measure Success — Cultivating the Neural Network of Your Business
The book identifies the traits and habits that the top 4 percent of franchisees demonstrate. It provides existing and future franchise owners with practical tools and pathways to improve and realize their own next-level performance in their franchise.
In order to drive sustained implementation of each driver, the book includes numerous surveys and exercises to help the franchisee identify, prioritize, and improve integral aspects of their business. The downloadable playbook contains all of the surveys and exercises in the book, and exceptional value-add tool for the book purchaser.
Detailed Table of Contents
In this chapter, the author begins by quoting Mary Thompson, COO of Neighborly, on the subject of operational excellence, and poses several questions about franchisee performance that immediately engage the existing franchisee, regardless of what their performance level is. The author then outlines his research journey and how the 7 drivers “crack the performance code.” Finally, the author provides a brief overview of each of the 7 drivers and introduces an entirely new model of looking at how highly successful franchisees grow and scale their businesses, called The Growth Helix. This model is unique to the franchise industry.
The Pull of Entrepreneurship
This chapter establishes a personal relationship between the reader and the author, both from a relatability and from a credibility perspective. The author relates his personal story of entrepreneurship during which the concept of a growth catalyst is introduced. A growth catalyst is an inflection point, when an individual comes to the awareness that their current situation is no longer tenable, and where the pain of doing nothing is greater than the pain and sacrifice of making a significant change in their life or career. Most readers will relate to this concept because that’s what led them to the decision to buy a franchise in the first place. The chapter ends with a reflection exercise that helps them acknowledge and accept that theircurrent situation, somewhere in their business, is no longer tenable, and engages them sufficiently to get deeply into reading this book.
Driver 1: Grow a Next-Level Mindset
The first driver is about how to grow a next-level mindset—it’s the “how” in scaling a business. As Angela Brown, a franchisee of Blo Blow Dry Bar, told the author, a lot of growing a next-level mindset “has to do with having a clear vision on where you’re trying to get to. I plan for the entire year, and reverse-engineer action steps to get to my goals. When you think about being a leader, you must have a vision that’s audacious—something that pushes the envelope. If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough.” Angela’s words encompass two critical dimensions—operational management and leadership—and we explore each of these in subsequent driver chapters.
Driver 2: Grow Your Awareness
The second driver is about growing awareness. Awareness can include many things, both external (what is going on in the franchisee’s community or region, or beyond, that can affect their business) or internally (such as staff and systems). Top-performing franchisees (TPFs) have learned how to master their sense of awareness and keep it acutely tuned to identify opportunities and challenges that they’ll encounter in their businesses. The reader will see how they can immediately begin to apply the practices that TPFs use to leverage their focus, energy, and resources to continually identify, assess, and capitalize on the best opportunities that land on their radar screens.
A next-level mindset and awareness are closely linked. A next- level mindset enables the franchisee to decide what goals to pursue, awareness enables them to prioritize where to bring their time, money, and resources to bear—and where and when to reallocate when necessary.
Driver 3: Grow Your Operational Management Skills
The third driver is about helping the franchisee to improving their operational management skills. The interviewees spoke at length on how they improved customer satisfaction, tightened up their operations, and found efficiencies to reduce costs. Graham Weihmiller, chairman and CEO of Business Network International (BNI), offers this insight;
“Top performers are really execution focused. Sometimes you have a new franchisee, they want to change the brand overnight. They want to introduce different products or services. Those things may or may not be on the franchisor’s roadmap. But the franchisee that is focused on execution of the existing brand is probably going to do better. Now, they should always provide ideas and feedback to the franchisor, and the franchisor ideally is going to involve them in the decision-making process. But I think what is key is that the franchisee understands at any given point, their primary role is the excellent and consistent execution of the existing model.”
Driver 4: Grow Your People
The fourth driver is about helping the franchisee to grow their people, and in doing so, grow their own leadership skills. The reader will hear an emphatic message from the contributors that their team, and not the customer, is their first priority. A team that is committed, energized, and accountable, and is provided with the right training and environment, will thrive. Leaders who live their values and invest in their people can and do scale up their business. The team members develop additional talents, take on more responsibilities, and drive more growth and improvements.
Driver 5: Master the System
The fifth driver is about mastering the system, this is not just about mastering the basics, though. It’s about living and breathing the brand, and about being constantly focused on incrementally improving systems and processes, and being willing to share this knowledge with the franchisor and peer franchisees. Innovation is not removed from this process, it is refined to fit within the system that it benefits.
As the reader learns how TPFs master their basics, then get to the next level and master the basics there, they will see that TPFs leverage the collective brain trust of the entire franchise system. The reader will see how and where they can implement some of these strategies in their own business. While this fifth driver may seem similar to the third, “Improving Your Operational Management Skills,” it is very different. The third driver is about strengthening management skills; this one is about learning how to execute the business model brilliantly. Developing management skills is just one part of system mastery.
Driver 6: Grow Your Interdependence
The sixth driver focuses on helping the reader recognize the critical importance of growing strong interdependent relationships, which is the sign of a maturing and successful franchise business. In this chapter, the process of interdependence is likened to the process to the stages of childhood, teenager-hood, and adulthood. As children depend on parents and family for the necessaries of life and to grow, early-stage franchisees rely heavily on the franchisor to learn how to ramp up their business and achieve stability. Then there comes the time when the business achieves a level of performance where the hard work and the brand have come together.
As teenagers feel and test their independence, so do franchisees once they achieve stability. This independence stage might manifest as “I don’t need to follow the system” or “what value am I getting for my royalty dollar” or “I know better than you” or in a myriad of other ways that they start pushing back against the franchisor’s model, instead of working with it. As they shift from teenager into adult, young adults mature into a state of mutual trust and respect with their parents—a state of interdependence. In writing the book, the author discovered that the richest relationships enjoyed by franchisees are a result of evolving from independence to interdependence. The author also discovered that many franchisees simply don’t evolve to this final stage.
Side Note: The importance of transitioning from independent to interdependent is one of the major themes that emerged from the research. Without exception, every single top-performing franchisee who was interviewed demonstrated and espoused the mindset and all the qualities of having an interdependent relationship with their franchisor. The evidence of the link between a franchisee’s sustained growth and interdependence with their franchisor and with peer franchisees is undeniable, so this chapter features strategies and pathways to help the reader progress further toward interdependence.
Driver 7: Cultivate the Neural Network of Your Business
The seventh driver is about activating and strengthening Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and performance measurement system of the franchisee’s business. It’s the old adage that you never know if you’ve achieved a goal if you can’t measure it. The measuring of success was a robust part of many of the interviews, though interviewees were unanimous that before anyone can measure success, they have to know what they are aiming at. Every top franchisee is acutely goal-directed, and those goals are aligned with business purpose and values. This chapter provides the reader with several strategies that they and their team can utilize to more precisely chart their course, track performance, and make mid-course corrections. Suffice it to say there are many insights in measuring growth and steps to take to fix challenges and knock down barriers to growth.
This chapter brings the reader to the point of recognizing that they are already living some component of being unstoppable, and inspires them to grasp their next power-up—by helping them define/redefine and connect to their core “why’s”. I finish this chapter with a collage of quotes from some of our industry’s most successful franchisees and CEOs of franchise systems, as those ideas may be catalysts to help the reader launch the next leg of their franchise ownership journey.
Part II: The Growth Helix
In Part II, the concept of the Growth Helix is married to in-depth exercises that will enable them to delve deeper into their biggest opportunities and challenges to understand, identify, and build an execution plan to help them accelerate to their next level.
Part II provides reflection exercises and growth plan tools for each of the 7 drivers, which enables the reader to 1) prioritize their challenges and opportunities, and 2) begin implementing the drivers to address whatever challenge or opportunity requires immediate attention. The accompanying PDF-fillable playbook becomes a repository for all of the learnings and reflections, thus enabling fast referencing and transferring the ideas and principles into measurable, sustainable action.
The Growth Helix is an entirely new model of looking at how highly successful franchisees grow and scale their businesses. This model is unique to the franchise industry because the core of the Growth Helix is the base operating methodology of the franchisor, also known as “the system,” and works like this: the franchisee learns and masters the basics of the system, and builds enough business upon that by executing those basics as prescribed, while experimenting around the edges, succeeding at some things and failing at others, but constantly seeking the lessons of either, and improving incrementally until they’re ready to get to the next level of performance or growth. Then they climb to the next level, and repeat this pattern, then escalate to the next level, repeat again, then climb again. With each new level comes more opportunity to implement additional drivers, and to achieve more desired results.
Which of the drivers should the reader start working on first? That is entirely dependent on where the reader is currently are in their own growth journey, so the design of Part II is intended to be agile rather than linear.
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