We have heard this advice more times than we can count - “Start with the end in mind.” Sometimes we hear, “Start with your why.” At Ask April Porter, we say start with your SWAG™.
SWAG™ is the vision every business owner has that sparks the idea of leaving a paycheck behind to follow their dreams. It is the driving force behind risking it all for a better life. It is also the thing that seems to get farther and farther away as the franchisee gets deeper and deeper into business.
It is Sanity, Wealth, and Gratitude™.
Sanity is in short supply when first starting a business. Most owners jump in working 60-80 hours a week, staying up long after the family is fast asleep going over the numbers and spending weekends posting on social media. In the beginning it’s fun and exciting because it feels really productive and specific to business ownership. But, before long, it loses its luster. Fatigue sets in and the franchisee realizes that the booming growth they experienced at the beginning is leveling out, even though they’ve been executing the same set of tasks all along.
In walks insanity. You know the definition, right? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result…
That’s exactly why Sanity is the first part of SWAG™ – because it represents the clear head, peace of mind, and confidence that franchisees feel when their business is growing without them grinding themselves into the ground. It is how they envisioned life as a franchisee – working less hours to make more money than they did as an employee working for someone else. And, it is possible, but to achieve Sanity, business owners must use their desire to reach Sanity to prioritize tasks and reduce their hours working "in" the business.
Wealth is next on the list of things that franchisees covet. After-all, they risked nearly everything on becoming a business owner. Often, they have cashed in their 401Ks, mortgaged their houses, committed their families to a life missing them on evenings and weekends, and put their health on the line just to open a single location. People only make a bet that big if they expect it to pay off tenfold. And most franchisees see the brand as the pathway to a level of wealth they’ve never known before.
When it isn’t coming as fast as a franchisee initially expected, it can be easy to focus on business expenses. Focusing attention on how much money is going out is a path straight to a scarcity mindset. A franchisee stuck in a scarcity mindset is doomed to spin their wheels, slowly bleeding cash, until the wheels eventually fall off. To keep the business vehicle running, a franchisee must instead focus on the wealth that they will receive upon putting the right strategies in place. This is what inspires business owners to keep going, despite the many unexpected challenges that pop-up.
Finally, our franchisees focus most on Gratitude. When a person is in a state of gratitude, the mind cannot simultaneously experience negative thoughts of lack. Gratitude is the key to unlocking and attracting abundance. By striving to achieve a consistent state of Gratitude, franchisees can differentiate between petty inconveniences and injustices worth fighting against, and will usually find that most challenges in business are simply inconveniences when they know the right strategies to put in place.
So, by starting with a vision of SWAG™ in mind, a business owner can focus their thoughts, words, actions and attention on the strategies, opportunities and solutions that provide the fastest path to it. Usually those strategies, opportunities and solutions reside inside the Franchise Gap. Until franchisees can fill the Gap with supplemental knowledge to compliment the model, SWAG™ will continue to evade them.
That’s why we host a free franchisee education and support group on Facebook – Franchisee Infinite Success. It is our mission to fill the Franchise Gap with the strategies, tactics and opportunities that lead franchisees and franchisors to infinite success. So, join the discussion inside the group and of course, if you have questions, just Ask April Porter.