You are successful, ambitious and ready to take things up a notch. So you are contemplating the next big step – opening your own office. What should you be thinking about? Could it really be that hard?
We asked WCPT CEO Jackie Crank – who has opened a few offices in her time – to share her top 5 considerations for those thinking about heading out on their own.
- Ask yourself why?
- What is your promise?
- The buck stops with you
- Find the team that will help you shine
- Lock down your nuts and bolts – and then be prepared to change!
First, think about what you are trying to achieve.
“I would ask ‘why are you really doing this?’, and if you told me it was to make more money, I would tell you that you are making the wrong choice!”, Jackie says.
Although there is potential for you to be very successful out on your own, there are many things to tackle before big profits start flowing.
Jackie suggests a self-assessment of strengths: “Not everyone is a natural entrepreneur, and when we are trying to be, we can distract ourselves from what we are really good at – the stuff that makes us money”.
A new business needs to offer something unique – otherwise, there is no motivation for customers to make the switch to you.
“I am a big believer in customer-centricity. So instead of thinking about the product or service you want to bring to market, I ask people to identify the customer need that is not being met, and think about how to solve it”, Jackie says.
Funnily enough, one answer regularly pops up.
“I hear countless people suggesting that outstanding customer service will be what differentiates them”, Jackie says. “But what does that mean? If everybody has the same point of difference, then it isn’t a point of difference! How do you quantify it, how do you sell that and how do you check if you are delivering on your promise?”.
Take your promise to the next level to identify the reason your customers should move to you – and stick with you.
As a licensee, you will be in bone fide control – of your office, and of all the people who work for you. But this is just the beginning.
“Never underestimate the impact of ultimate control”, Jackie says. “There will be times when you want to strategise to solve the big problems, but all you have time to do is answer the phone and empty the bins. Going out on your own is a radical change – in every way!”.
This means being ready for just about anything. How will you do that? A sound business plan, and a great team – which leads nicely to the next point…
We know that it is pretty rare to truly ‘go it alone’ – finding a team of great people to work with you, be it 2 or twenty, will make a huge difference.
“Go back to your strengths, be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and work out where your gaps are. Then work hard at finding the right people to fill these roles”, Jackie says. “In many instances, you will spend more time with this team than with your friends or family, so put some work into making the right staffing choices up front!”. And don’t employ people just because you know them already.
And finally –
Think carefully – carefully – about your systems, processes and technology. Just as we realise the impact that technology is having in daily life, every area of your office operation could be improved through some better defined processes or the introduction of a digital solution.
“It is important not to delay this until you ‘get big enough’ – by this stage, it will be too late”, Jackie says. “Do your research, and then be prepared to update and evolve as your business grows”.