To spur your franchisee network on, you have to make a concerted effort to stay motivated and unlock your drivers
I was recently lucky enough to be nominated for Encouraging Women into Franchising’s Inspirational Woman in Franchising 2017 award. It really made me think about where I seek my inspiration from and how I keep going, even when times are tough both at work and at home.
The word inspiration actually forms part of our strapline at Little Voices, as we’re committed to providing “inspirational education for the next generation”. As I thought about what makes a lesson inspirational and what inspires children, I realised that for me it’s largely down to the tutors themselves and how they deliver the class. We can all remember the teachers we liked at school, the ones who seemed to have an ability to spur us on to do better. Inspiring teachers keep things fresh and fun, have patience and help us learn from our mistakes. And many of the same principles apply to leadership.
But, to inspire others, you have to stay regularly inspired yourself and actively look for motivation. I’m committed to learning every single day from how other people achieve their goals and lead their lives to prime themselves for success. The likes of entrepreneurs like Jim Rohn, Richard Branson and Duncan Bannantyne are a constant source of inspiration, as are people who have survived in the face of adversity such as Oprah Winfrey. There are also countless sportspeople who have a winner’s philosophy that anyone in business can learn from. The list is endless but their individual stories really help me stay motivated.
It's not just famous names though: other business owners and franchisors I meet on a day-to-day basis are equally influential. Speaking to one particular franchisor and hearing about the challenges she faced and what she would or wouldn’t do again was fascinating.
As a leader, being able to hear from somebody who's been in your shoes and enjoyed fantastic success is invaluable. If you haven't already, I suggest you seek out some of the most successful people in your market and ask them all the burning questions you have. Mentors aren't just for when you’re starting out: even established franchisors have a lot to learn from each other.
I also take huge satisfaction from the fact that our drama and singing lessons make a real difference to children. Some students go on to work in the arts while others find it helps them cope with anxiety or use what they've learned later on in their professional lives. As a franchisor, you have to believe in your product completely.
There are plenty of other sources of inspiration, which can help when you need an extra dose. I read books, have a selection of mantras on hand, meditate, keep a journal full of inspirational quotes and make a note of all the things that I want to achieve. The last one is really crucial: it's so important to write down what your goals are and remind yourself of the reasons behind them every single day.
Which leads me onto my next source of inspiration: my family. Growing up, my grandfather – a successful businessman and one of the first hauliers in the UK – would always highlight where there was room for improvement as he went through my homework with me. I credit his influence for giving me my ability to learn from my mistakes and drive to continually improve. Finally, my daughter. For me, success isn’t really about money, fame or fortune. Instead, it’s about setting an example for my daughter and the next generation. They say that strong women raise strong daughters and I certainly intend to. I want her to know that she can be or do anything she wants.
Whatever sparks motivation in you, nurture and develop it because you'll need it when things get tough. And when you're brimming with inspiration, you can bet that it will rub off on your franchisees and their teams too: inspiration can be infectious.