Many happy returns: what I’ve learned from ten years in franchising

With Little Voices rapidly approaching its tenth anniversary in business, Jane Maudsley is feeling nostalgic and recounting some of the useful things it has taught her over the years

Many happy returns: what I’ve learned from ten years in franchising

Where does the time go? Little Voices is rapidly approaching its tenth birthday and, over the last decade in business, I’ve absorbed a ton of information. Believe me, I rely on it all: it helps me focus and inspires me to continue every day. I have spent this month reflecting and pinpointing what has kept me motivated so I wanted to share the things I’ve picked up on my journey so far and what I plan to do with everything that I’ve learnt.”

Learn from adversity

There is always a solution to every problem and every problem is sent to teach you something. I have learnt this after many years of challenges and I urge you to tackle every hurdle head on; we learn when we’re faced with adversity and we push our boundaries. Our businesses are ever changing and developing and we need to keep adaptability at the forefront of our minds.

Be plan focused not opportunity driven

This was a saying one respected franchisor highlighted to me some time ago and it makes a lot of sense. As entrepreneurs we are constantly coming up with ideas, seeing opportunities or having other people put tempting offers in front of us. You must learn to say no. I have had to say no to so many things lately: this month a few carrots were dangled in my direction and I had to make some hard calls about where I was spending my time and energy. This is not easy for me and I don’t like to let people down so I’ve learnt to say: “Can I come back to you with a response on this?” Then I take time out to reflect, assess whether my time could be better spent and whether it is going to get us to our goals and then respond.”

Use your time wisely

This leads me onto another very valuable piece of advice. Time is our most precious commodity and it is the one thing that we all have in common. Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. What we do with that time varies dramatically but we do have a choice. At Little Voices, we have a vision and a plan and that plan needs time to be implemented so I must be spending every minute that I have available executing that plan to the very best of my ability. As my mum always says “you get out of life what you put in”.”

Surround yourself with the right people

Over the years lots of people have come and gone. As the saying goes, we have people in our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It is the same in business as it is in your personal life. It’s tough and life will send curveballs that you need help to overcome: having the right people around you means that you will cope and you will succeed. The franchise industry is diverse and yet small and incredibly supportive. I have many franchisor friends and a whole host of franchisees that I learn from daily, there have been several consistent advisors and mentors – my accountant being one of them – and of course my family. I feel lucky and privileged to be involved in franchising, as it means I am surrounded by the right people.

So what am I intending to do with all this knowledge I have accrued? As we all know franchising is a model and the replication of a system that works in a supported way. I look at it like teaching and sharing knowledge. I believe at my core that we have a duty to share information and so franchising was the natural step for me and for Little Voices. I know that what I have learnt and the journey that I have been on can help to inspire someone, somewhere and one of the best ways to share my knowledge and expertise is to write. So as we reach our 10th birthday party on September 18, it is my ambition to write a book.”

A friend and business associate of mine, Lucy Mathews, is about to launch her book this month and apparently I feature in a section of it. And the fact that she is at the point of publishing hers has inspired me to get my own into print. My book will all be about what I have learnt and how I can help those just like me to achieve their dreams and fight through whatever challenge comes their way, be it in their personal or professional life. My initials are JEM, so rather than ‘gems’ I will be sharing ‘JEMs’ and I have a lot to share. Watch this space: by Christmas I will have ticked this goal off my list.

My philosophy in life is that we are here to continually learn and develop and once we have the knowledge we have a duty to share it. I am hungry for the next ten years to start now and I look forward to sharing with you JEMs along the way as we head towards 2027.”

Jane Maudsley
Jane Maudsley