Franchise Advice: 3 Tips for Making the Most of Your First Two Years

Those of who know me know I have a professional writing/speaking and possibly a broadcasting career ahead of me. So, I was so excited to receive the request to be a keynote speaker at the Keylingo Translations franchise convention in February 2012! This was my first (of many) such guest presentations. All but one of the Keylingo franchisees have been in business less than a year so I tailored my presentation to the interests of new franchisees.

Here are 1- 3 of my top 10 tips from my presentation for making the most of your investment in your first two years of franchise ownership:

1. Begin with the end in mind.  Thanks for your timeless wisdom, Steven Covey.  Too often, we forget why we went into business for ourselves in the first place and allow our businesses to consume our lives.  What did you want for yourself personally and professionally that lead you to choosing your franchise?  A more flexible schedule?  Control of your time and more of it with family and to pursue hobbies or community involvement?  Achieve success on your own terms?  Making money is important but it’s never about the money; it’s about what having financial stability gives you.

I get it – money is really tight the first couple of years getting your business going, which causes you to sweat and put all your time and energy into your business day in, day out.  This, unfortunately, becomes a habit, and people wake up five years later and realize they feel (and look) old and wonder how they got there. My advice is make sure you are doing at least one of the things you wanted business ownership to allow you to do NOW.  Don’t wait.

One of our clients left his business at 3pm every day to coach high school football, his dream from Day One, and it did not hurt his success.  In fact, it gave him more energy and passion that he fueled into his business.  He enjoys terrific personal and financial success in his commercial sign manufacturing franchise.  It can be done – you have to choose it.

2. NO BUSINESS for one 24 hour period one day a week.  No exceptions and no cheating.  No phone calls.  No emails – don’t even LOOK at your email.  No proposals or invoicing.  No paperwork or reports.  No brainstorming or strategic planning.  NADA!  Go on a date with your spouse.  Play with your kids.  Treat yourself to a mani/pedi.  Go tinker with your car or pick up that juicy novel.  EXERCISE!  It does not matter what day of the week it is.  It can be from 1:21 am to 1:20 am if you want.  There is scientific proof that your nervous system needs to relax for a full 24 hour period every 7 days or your nerves will start to fray and one day you’ll collapse into spasms and melt into the floor (total bullsh*t but it could happen!).  I promise this one commitment to yourself will save you from burnout and give you more energy to put into your business.

3. Network, Network, Network.  And on the other 6 days of the week when you are not playing, work your ass off.  Get out there and press the flesh.  Without exception, the most successful franchisees I know, regardless of their type of business, are consistently networking and marketing their businesses.  Many are not experienced with networking at first, but practice makes perfect, and it pays off.  A networking guru told me  the formula for successful networking group choices are 1 monthly, 1 weekly and 1 fun/social.  It takes testing and more time in the beginning to land on the organizations that make the most strategic sense for your business.  Once you find them, show up every time, and be a leader of the organization.  I found being a membership ambassador was the best leadership role; it was my job to welcome guests and new members and get to know their businesses and share about mine.  Remember, planted seeds take time to grow and bloom.  It’s around 18-24 months of consistent involvement in the networking organizations that make sense for your business before the effort seems worth it.  And then there’s a tipping point when referrals and new business start coming in all at once.

Stay tuned for tips 4-7!

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8 comments

  1. This is really great advice. I’m a pretty good networker, but I don’t have a good system in place. I’m going to implement your “monthly-weekly-social” suggestion this month!

  2. Hi Leslie,
    I was at your presentation at the Keylingo Translations Convention and it was awesome! You were very informative and had great advice. Thank you for sharing your insight!

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