It’s been four years since I’ve stepped into the role of CEO at the Any Lab Test Now system, and one thing I can tell you concretely is that business innovation often comes from places you don’t expect.
Our executive team is top-notch. I really enjoy and respect these relationships. Their ideas and work ethic and leadership are to be commended. But, our team can’t work in a vacuum. Our success as a franchise system is directly related to the input and ideas that come from our franchisees. After all, our franchisees are affected almost immediately by the choices that we make, and they see firsthand what works and what doesn’t.
Slow Down and Listen Up
It’s easy for anyone to get bogged down in the day-to-day hustle of your work. Couple that with trying to balance a hectic home life, and it seems nearly impossible to slow down and really hear what’s happening with those around you. With years of expertise in process development and driving revenue growth, it could be easy for me to fall victim to this scenario and just dive into my tasks each day.
Yet, I’ve been reminded time and again that our franchisees’ advice is indispensable. So, actively seeking out their feedback on the current programs and policies we have in place is part of my overarching business strategy. Their input routinely gives me and my team concrete, actionable insights that made Any Lab Test Now stronger, thereby increasing revenue and profitability for everyone.
Create Communication Channels to Inform Innovation
Whether you are part of a franchise system currently, or you’re simply exploring new ways to improve communication and innovation within your organization, one thing that I’ve learned is how important it is to have multiple avenues through which people can reach out. A one-size-fits-all approach to gathering ideas, feedback and comments can sometimes stifle input or make it hard to spot trends.
This is something that we translate into action at Any Lab Test Now in a variety of ways.
- Franchise Advisory Council. This group is composed of existing franchisees who use their experience in the field and with the system to offer insight and feedback on new initiatives. It’s proven to be an excellent mechanism for vetting the practicality and impact of potential actions. And, the council members’ experience is always an avenue for bringing to light what needs to be addressed for our franchisees.
- Direct outreach. We strive to keep the one-on-one lines of communication open with all our franchisees. Some people are simply more comfortable sharing what they know when the interaction is more personal. And, if something is coming up that will directly impact specific franchisees, we reach out immediately.
- Call center. Having a single, always-available point of contact offers people a quick, consistent way to raise a red flag if needed or get their questions answered. Ours is open during business hours, and takes calls from franchisees on any number of topics to help them find the advice, context and resources to make their Any Lab Test Now location stronger. Some of our best revenue-growing ideas have started as suggestions from franchisees, so this process is one we take very seriously.
As I lead Any Lab Test Now, one of my guiding principles is always remembering that franchisees have more to offer than just growing our business through their partnership. Their ideas inform changes that the corporate team may not have known were necessary or possible, triggering exponential growth in revenue and profits systemwide. But to gain these powerful insights, your franchisees – or your organization – must be engaged, have an outlet for sharing their ideas and trust that their thoughts have value to your business.
I challenge you to think about your organization: Are you getting the information you need to drive innovation?