When I founded ChoiceLocal after my wife Becky and I lost our son, Ben, I knew I was going to build a business that would change franchising and help countless people in the process; thus far we have.
Today we work with over 50 franchise systems and have at least 20 additional franchise systems that are in the process of transiting into our top-performing franchise growth system. We are the first and only franchise marketing agency to offer a money back guarantee and no long-term contracts, we are one of the fastest growing companies in America as an Inc. 5000 company, we are a top-rated workplace five years running and, through our charitable giving of 10% of our profits to help children in need, we are on pace to help 10,000 kids per year.
What I wanted to share with you now are tips on how you can run a business that leads with the heart, helps others and will grow to be the No. 1 player in your industry.
Rule #1: Your Business is Not About You
If you are in business to make yourself rich and you only care about your own success, you will have a bad company and a poor culture. Your job as a leader of a business is to help others. This really matters. We take this seriously. At ChoiceLocal, our company mission is: Help Others. Your job needs to be to make the dreams and aspirations of your customers come true, if your product or service can do that, if not, it should at least make your customers lives a lot better.
The second part of your job is to then make the dreams and aspirations of your teammates (what most companies call employees) a reality.
The third part of your job is to take a generous portion of your profits and use it to help others. No one wants to work for a company that only cares about money and profits. People innately are wired for meaning and purpose. It is built into who we are as human beings — if your business is not built to help others, your business is destined for mediocrity and to be the loser of the future as the world transitions to a purpose-driven economy.
Rule #2: Lead With The Heart
If you are in business to help others be open about it. People respect sincerity even if they have a different world view than you. Just be real and make that part of your company’s DNA. We, as humans, overtime, have gotten pretty good at sensing if someone is legit or if they are driven, first and foremost, by self-interest.
If someone is in it for themselves, they will make that really clear in how they talk and act. If you are in it for others, people will pick up on that, be attracted to it and will respect you for your genuineness. For example, in business, I have always been driven by my Christian faith. After several years, I made ChoiceLocal an explicitly faith-based business. All that really means, is that faith is welcome at ChoiceLocal and it’s a motivator for why we give and always have aimed to give approximately 10% of our profits to help kids in need.
After we rolled out being explicitly faith-based, yet welcoming of all, as a company, our teammate net promoter score and satisfaction went from good to truly exceptional. A huge percentage of our company is not faith-based but they know we respect them, like them and care about them, they responded to our authenticity with favor and respect.
Rule #3: Help Others
Every decision you make in business should have this filter placed over it. Does this decision help our customers? Does it help our teammates? Does it fuel our mission and our ability to give back? If the answer is ‘yes’ to all three of those questions, at least in the medium and long-term, then you have a good plan. If your answer is ‘no’, then don’t do it.
Think smarter and more strategic until you can make the answer ‘yes’ to all three.
Rule #4: Peace Through Strength
As far back as I can remember, I have always been a student of history and known that what happens in the past can predict the future. For example, the United States defeated Nazi-Germany through economic strength and military power, backed by the American people. The U.S. defeated the Soviet Union through economic strength and overwhelming military power that it never had to directly use against them, that drove the Soviet Union into dissolution. The U.S. also had the moral high ground of freedom and respect for human rights that the Soviet Union’s leadership despised.
Today, the U.S. has sent much of our wealth to China and made them much stronger, economically, and militarily. We pulled out of Afghanistan in such a manner that it made us look weak and, prior to that, in a previous administration, we allowed Russia to invade Crimea and other areas with little consequence. The net result is that China and Russia have formed an alliance of evil, the Ukrainian people are being slaughtered at the hands of Vladimir Putin and the world is being threatened with a possibility of WWIII.
If the U.S. and the West have a smart, swift, strong, and level-headed response to Russia’s actions, a world war will be avoided. If we are weak with our actions, economically, or in supporting Ukraine in self-defense by being an arsenal to democracy and give Putin what he wants, war will spread to other countries in Europe and, in time, China will see this weak response and decide to invade Taiwan.
In international relations, for the U.S., strength creates peace and weakness creates war. The same is true in business.
To be strong as a business you must have the top offering in your industry and the best sales model. Both are critically important. You must have the No. 1 product or service as well as the best way of doing sales and marketing. If you have both, you have something that is strong. Then you must layer in a culture that has the back of your clients and your teammates. Then you must layer in strong profits to fuel your growth. Then you must layer in great leadership. Then you must have good legal protections for your company in the event someone does something shady — which will inevitably happen.
When you come from a place of strength, the competitor can’t beat you. You will have loyalty from your teammates and your clients, you will have the best sales and marketing engine, you will have the best product. You will have legal protections that you will probably never need to use, but if you have them, you have tremendous leverage to protect your company against unethical competition, unethical employees, or a client that is looking to sue as a tool of revenue generation as opposed to self-defense.
Being purpose-driven, you only want to use your strength to help others and do good, yet you can assure that if someone comes in to try to steal intellectual property or similar, you have every tool at your disposal to ensure you are protecting all of your teammates and everyone that relies on your company to support their families.
Rule #5: Play to be #1, Not Just Good
The company that is always studying their competitors to understand what they are doing and copy it so they are not outdone has a losing strategy. This company is the second-place copycat. Rather, you should always be listening to your customers, understanding their pain points and problems, and solving for them. This not only makes your products the best, but it will help you to create new products, new revenue streams and always be the best. If you are telling yourself you are good but doubt you are the best, get better and fast!
Rule #6: KPI’s Matter
There should be roughly five numbers that your business lives and dies by. Measure them relentlessly as close to daily as possible. In addition, every teammate in your organization should have roughly three numbers that show them how well they are doing. Every position — no exceptions. Everyone should be given the opportunity to show how well they are doing and get rewarded. KPI’s are essential.
Rule #7: Not Everyone Respects Generosity, but the Vast Majority Do
Our goal at ChoiceLocal is to be the best of the best of all employers. Our goal is to have the best growth engine for franchise networks. Our goal is to generously give back to our client partners, teammates, as well as those in need. We find that 95%+ of people love that about us, appreciate it, and are loyal, warm, kind, and wonderful back to us as a result. Yet, some will not be, that is okay. Those are the client partners that you don’t want and the employees that you don’t want.
Use your generosity to attract generous people. The people that second guess that generosity usually are not generous themselves and will be driven away to work at or worth with companies that share their more me first world-view. In the meantime, you will attract beautiful and wonderful customers, beautiful and wonderful teammates, and the beautiful and wonderful profits. The win-win setup this creates will enable you not only to make the world a little bit better, but to permanently change the world for the better through each and every life that you touch.
Can you think of a better way to live a life?