From other franchisors to her own franchisees, the founder of Little Voices is always looking for inspiration
Why are we doing this? Whether you’re a franchisor or a franchisee, that’s the question you always end up asking yourself. Even though entrepreneurs are inherently highly motivated and possess seemingly endless energy, every one of us can struggle at times. Fortunately, finding your own why will enable you to keep going even when the going gets tough. For me, the answer is that I want to keep feeling inspired.
After all, it was inspiration that saw me and my co-founder launch Little Voices nearly 11 years ago. The idea filled me with the passion and encouragement enabling me to do it. I had found my calling and knew that this was what I was meant to do. It’s fantastic and I am so lucky to wake up every morning and love what I do. Of course it's not always a bed of roses, far from it most of the time, but I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Ultimately it's worth all of the sacrifices. So many people are unhappy in their jobs and have dreams they can never realise. I'm luckily not one of them.
Moreover, inspiration enabled me to see the bigger picture, which made us realise how we could reach as many children as possible through franchising. Being inspired enabled us to scale, grow and mature. Recognising how being mentally stimulated can help me keep my creativity, I seek out inspiration from all around me. I absorb it from fellow franchisors, franchisees, friends, mentors and from huge global brands. Sometimes it can be enough to get the creative juices flowing by hearing just one or two words spoken by a keynote speaker at a conference, a YouTube video, a book, a parent, tutor or a member of the public.
You have to find the things that keep you going because business can be tough and challenges need workable solutions. One of my key sources of inspiration is Encouraging Women Into Franchising (EWIF), the business network sharing, mentoring, advising and encouraging women in the franchise industry. It’s a fabulous organisation that I am proudly a member of. EWIF oozes inspiration in its caring approach and sharing mentality. Everything from the conference and the regional meetings to the awards and the members’ stories, being part of EWIF encourages me to keep going throughout the year.
Two and a half years ago I went to my first EWIF conference and met a woman who I am proud to call my friend and mentor. She inspires me to keep going every day. I arrived at the conference and was having a coffee at the registration. There I got talking to a lady called Ginny Murphy who runs the highly successful franchise network The Wheel Specialist. And I don't mind telling you that I feel so blessed to have met her. At the end of the conference she gave me her card, telling me to contact her if she could help in any way. The very next day I took her up on her offer and I don’t regret doing so for one second.
Her story, experiences and solid understanding of the franchise industry inspired me from the get-go and her advice has helped me so much over the years. I had several issues going on at the time and I couldn’t quite get the clarity I needed to see a way forward. But talking to her helped. Just hearing how she’d faced similar challenges and taking her sound advice was an invaluable privilege. Despite us being from vastly different industries Murphy could give me so much practical advice. She shared information and was happy to trust in me how she approaches things.
The point is that there is nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from those who have gone before you. Their journeys can help so much by giving you the inspiration you require to keep going and to handle different situations. Ultimately, if you're successful then you’ll have the privilege of sharing your experience to the next generation of business leaders.
As a matter of fact, that's what franchising is all about, why it works so well. As a franchisee, you’ll have a support network of other franchisees who are all on different stages of their journey and a franchisor who has done it all before has the valuable insights to help you succeed.
It is almost ironic now that I am being asked to share my journey at meetings with others around me to inspire them with my own story and this month coming up I have lots of presentations and talks to give, to share with others. I am keen to give back and help. So if you are having a tough day look, remember to look for some inspiration and remember that it’s all around you if you open your eyes.