Is Your Franchise Flying Blind?

EOS Issues

How to Recognize and Address Your Core Business Issues.

Over the past several months we have highlighted the various components within the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS).

  1. Vision
  2. People
  3. Issues
  4. Data
  5. Process
  6. Traction

While each of the 6 components of the EOS Model is a separate entity, they inherently interact with each other in some capacity.  Each individual component needs to be solidly identified if the EOS is going to help the company’s health and growth.

For example, while most companies think that the Issues they are having are unique, in actuality there are only about 25 different Issues that companies have faced since the beginning of time.

Issues: IDS

Let’s examine one company in the news lately that lost close to $1 billion in the market because they failed to handle an Issue properly.  The company in question is, of course, United Airlines.  My purpose is not to get into a debate of the legalities (or illegalities) of what happened, but to merely show you how important it is to go through your own IDS (Identify – Discuss – Solve) for any Issues you might have. Let’s start with what happened within United’s chain of command that broke down so horrifically into a continuing PR nightmare.

From United’s website:  “We are committed to providing a level of service to our customers that makes us a leader in the airline industry. We understand that to do this we need to have a product we are proud of and employees who like coming to work every day.

Our goal is to make every flight a positive experience for our customers. Our United Customer Commitment explains our specific service commitments so that we can continue a high level of performance and improve wherever possible. The commitment explains our policies in a clear, consistent and understandable fashion. We have detailed training programs and system enhancements to support our employees in meeting these commitments, and we measure how well we meet them.”

 

Very interesting…so what happened, what’s the Issue?  From what I’ve read in the various media posts, someone realized that they needed to get 4 crew members to Louisville for the next day.  They had a Process for this, eventually randomly selecting passengers to “volunteer” their seats. It’s still inconclusive as to if that Process called for having police “enforce” that policy.

Part of the process of identifying the key Issue here is to ask a few questions:

  1. Why a PR nightmare?
  2. What happened & What could have been done better to resole this Issue?
  3. Solution:  Analytical tools, Process modification, People

From our February e-newsletter on issues, “Only when the real root Issue is identified should you and your team begin the discussion phase.” What is the real Issue that United is facing?  I’ll suggest a few, but this list is by no means conclusive.

  1. Too much concern for the bottom line that Wall Street requires (Data component)
  2. Too little concern for their paying customers (a direct conflict with their Vision)
  3. Faulty Process
  4. Process driving People, rather than People driving Process

Hopefully, Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United is going to give more than lip service when he states his apology for ‘re-accommodating’ passengers. What happens over the next few weeks will be telling as to how seriously United takes this Issue.

What types of Issues are you facing within your company?  If you would like to have  an Issue Review Session with coach Thom Torode, click here to schedule.

Thom Torode is a NJ based Professional Executive & Business Coach and EOS Implementer. Having owned and operated over 5 different businesses he is currently the Managing Director for Sunrise Business Advisors.   Thom’s expertise includes working with those business owners who have plateaued getting them unstuck and back in growth mode. Additionally, Thom works with both franchisees and franchisors in helping them develop their leadership. Thom is also Director Consultant with BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

 

How A Little Customer Appreciation Can Go A Long Way

Franchise Success through Customer Appreciation

When running a business, or operating a franchise, customer appreciation is generally not a subject at the front of a business owner’s mind. Few people realize how big of an impact the simple act of giving thanks can make on their bottom line. It’s important for any franchisee to remember that clients are the life-line of your business – and in order to be successful as a company, one must win over the hearts of their customers.

Ensuring your customers are happy and satisfied starts with interacting with each customer in a meaningful and impactful way. Every positive interaction with a customer is a step in the right direction, and will make customers think of your business before visiting your competition the next time they need your product or service. If you think back – when is the last time you felt truly valued as a customer, or were sincerely thanked for your patronage? If you are able to remember this, how did that make you feel about the business? It isn’t often that companies pay attention to this small but important element of business, and implementing a customer recognition plan is an obvious priority if you want to stand ahead of your competition.

Customer Appreciation Franchise Success Coaching

Showing customer appreciation is a powerfully effective strategy for retaining customers and increasing each individual customer’s life-time value. Like any marketing strategy, this should be a tactical plan you can implement into your current process.

Customer appreciation should begin with a good foundation, such as developing an authentic company culture which will also help your staff feel more empowered to go the extra mile and help solve customer’s issues. Your company culture should emphasize the importance of acknowledging, thanking and recognizing customers for their loyalty.

Ideas for a customer appreciation program include:

  • Training your staff in the importance of customer recognition. Reward your employees when they have satisfied a customer.
  • Consider personalized messages to your important customers. This can include hand-written notes, or exclusive gifts.
  • Consider loyalty cards – these will reward customers for repeatedly patronizing your business. Make these valuable enough to stand out from the rest. The average U.S. household is enrolled in more than 18 loyalty programs, but is only active in 8.4.
  • Free gifts with purchase are another effective mechanism for rewarding customers.
  • Holding events – the International Franchise Association has some great tips on event marketing to grow relationships with your customers.

You can also get input from your employees on what they would want as a customer. Including your employees in this process will help cement this strategy, and make them feel like they are a part of the company and the decision, which will help them perform better.

In the end, a little appreciation can go a long way in today’s world, where everyone is constantly connected to the internet, social media and technology. Small acts of appreciation and kindness can help set your business apart – but remember to be sincere and genuine! If customers get the idea that this strategy was only implemented to increase profits, well they will quickly turn their attention elsewhere. Figure out what is important to your customers band implement something for your specific customer base – you, or your customers will be thankful.

Thom helps business owners and franchise operators achieve success.

As the managing director of Sunrise Business Advisors, I have owned and operated a multitude of different businesses as well as holding senior management positions with a fortune 500 company. In addition to being a Certified Business & Executive Coach, I am also a Certified Franchise Coach, as well as Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and Trainer. Our philosophy is to provide coaching, mentoring, and advisory services to help business owners achieve the businesses, the teams and the lives that they’ve always dreamed of having. We accomplish this through a tried and proven process of learning and understanding your needs and we’ve always achieved high marks with our valued clients. Let us help you become a Franchise Success story.

Additionally Thom works with both franchisees and franchisors in helping them develop their leadership. Thom is also Director Consultant with BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

What is Strategic Thinking?

What is Strategic thinking?

How to Develop this Essential Skill

Strategic thinking is a valuable skill to master in both your professional and personal life. Mastering this talent will bring tremendous value to any project you undertake. Many studies have proven that individuals skilled in strategic thinking are also highly effective in leadership positions because of their excellent problem-solving and decision-making approaches to a variety of situations. Leaders who can think strategically, are able to look at an issue systematically, which allows them to identify the impact of their decisions across all departments within and outside the company.

Strategic ThinkingWith the benefits strategic thinkers can bring to a business, you may be wondering how you can hone your strategic thinking skills – or even develop strategic thinkers within your own organization. This is not a task to be taken lightly, this is about the mindset of the individual as well as learned techniques that can be applied to problems.

To better develop this skill, it is important to take time to reflect on the lasting effects of your decisions prior to making them. Ask yourself questions to determine what the final outcome may be – who is, and who will be involved in this decision, what risks are presented, how difficult will it be to arrive at your desired outcome – is it worth it in the long run?

Don’t let tunnel vision prevent you from seeing all angles of a situation. Having too narrow of a focus will restrict the opportunities you have to think strategically about a situation. Strategic thinkers are able to connect the dots between people, ideas, and plans to see a bigger picture that others fail to see. Practice viewing the world as a giant web of interconnected ideas, and you will soon discover that you can easily spot the connection between multiple objects.

While thinking of problems and creating solutions is valuable, it is equally valuable to be able to quickly and confidently arrive at a decision. In order to put your plans in place and your ideas in action you must have the capability of making choices, even if those choices are ones you do not personally agree with. Closing one door and opening another is a situation that leaves many of us paralyzed with fear, but is critical to being strategic.

You will need to make choices about what you will and what you won’t do. It is at this critical juncture that your ability to see and think strategically about a situation is really tested. Don’t let the fear of failure or the risks hold you back if you want to truly look at a situation strategically. All this requires is a deliberate approach in your actions.

In the end, this will require practice – perhaps years of patience. This may not be the easiest of skills to acquire, but the end result will turn from a simply average leader to an exceptional leader, mentor and boss.

Thom Torode is a NJ based Business & Franchise Coach.

He has owned over 5 different businesses and is currently the Managing Director for Sunrise Business Advisors. Thom’s expertise includes working with those business owners who have getting them unstuck and back in growth mode. Additionally Thom works with both franchisees and franchisors in helping them develop their leadership. Thom is also Director Consultant with BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.

Prevent a Summer Sales Slump

Business managers and sales prospects alike are typically operating in summer mode, creating a summer sales slump

seizing the limited seasonal opportunities for warm weather activities with family and friends and vacation travel. But, of course, you still want your business to enjoy a profitable sales season. Often, suggestions offered for avoiding a summer sales slump are actually fundamental year-round business requirements. However, there are time-proven sales-boosting initiatives for businesses that typically experience reduced sales production during summer months.

HiRes (2)

Summer Sales Slump

Create a summer surge

Mine your archives of unclosed sales prospects, and re-engage with these valuable leads.

So much of the sales work is already done. Follow up with these prospects offering an opportunity to wrap up their decision-making before they embark on personal summer plans.

Fourth quarter pre-selling

Summer is the naturally ideal period for setting up fourth quarter sales.

Use the opportunity to cold call, or otherwise create new leads, or work to nurture existing leads. Cultivating leads for closing by year-end is the smart way to avoid a summer sales slump. In utilizing slower summer months to build toward a larger yearly sales total, strong closers can often effectively inspire prospects to make the buying decision during the summer as a convenience. Prospective customers may prefer completing their business transactions with your company in third quarter if a hectic fourth quarter push toward their year-end deadlines is predictable.

Business socializing

Embrace the mood of summer culture by mixing business with seasonal pleasures.

Organize activities to entertain clients and develop mutually beneficial business relationships. These are ideal venues to promote repeat sales. Such strong business connections also generate referral business, which perpetually breeds referral business as each new client referred, in turn, provides referrals.

Manage distractions

Staying on track during vacation season is challenging.

Especially for business professionals with children at home from school for months, personal responsibilities might be much increased during this time of year. With so much going on, burn-out is a heightened risk. The most consistently well-performing business managers and sales professionals are characteristically those who understand the wisdom of relaxing to recharge the mind and body. So, take a vacation at some point during the year. If you don’t vacation during the summer, do take some time outdoors during these months to enjoy the nice weather.  It is prudent for you and your staff not to dismiss this important step. Decompressing periodically sharpens mental focus, contributes to physical health, and helps sustain motivation. These are essentials for maintaining high-intensity sales efforts over a long-term.

Internal contests

Shake up the routine with some outdoor meetings, if practical. Consider creating friendly competition for reaching seasonally applicable performance benchmarks in obtaining new leads, new sales, repeat sales, up-sells, referral leads, etc.

External messaging

Adjust the language of your marketing and sales messages to relate to the seasonal interests of your prospects. A presentation modified to make it refreshingly summerish will represent a new idea to your prospects and impress them with an image that seems energetic, imaginative, and forward-moving.

Use this tool: 10-Things-for-Your-Best-Summer-Ever

Thom Torode is a NJ based Executive & Business Coach.

He has owned over 5 different businesses and is currently the Managing Director for Sunrise Business Advisors. Thom’s expertise includes working with those business owners who have getting them unstuck and back in growth mode. Additionally Thom works with both franchisees and franchisors in helping them develop their leadership. Thom is also Director Consultant with BNI. When not helping business owners and their teams create the business and lives they want and need, he can be found following his kids activities.