Think back to high school or college. Were you fortunate enough to be a part of a winning team? Maybe you were an athlete and your squad won the championship. Or, maybe you competed in debate and you went all the way to the state finals. And even if your personal efforts didn’t result in a trophy, perhaps your school had a winning season or a history of excelling over the competition. Others may have experienced triumph as adults — through a team effort that landed a new business deal, or a resume that led to membership in an elite leadership organization.
Winning feels good. But, it isn’t all about being fortunate. The vast majority of success stories are the result of vision, focus and a lot of hard work. We’ve all heard the famous quote from Seneca, the Roman philosopher, who said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
I find those words to be especially relevant in my role as a Vice President of Franchising. My company has spent years refining best practices that allow our Franchise Owners to invest in a proven business model. But, the magic really happens when each owner of a Primrose school seizes on that preparation and links it to the unique opportunities inherent in their market.
As I travel around the country, there are two questions that always come up. The first is, “How are Primrose schools performing?” Every year since I’ve joined the company in 2013, I’ve been able to answer with pride, usually adding something new to the answer. Recently, Primrose moved up from 131 to 129 on the Franchise Times Franchise Top 200 list. And, we also made Inc.’s 5000 list. Last year, we were in the top five on Forbes’ list of best franchises. It gives me lots of pride to feel like I’m a part of the winner’s circle, but I know it’s a collective team effort that has allowed us to earn this recognition.
Here are a few statistics that added up to our recent wins:
-Mature schools, those open 36 months or more, saw an average enrollment of 87.3 last year
-Average EBITDAR in 2015 was $527,659
-System revenue increased 12 percent year-over year from 2014-2015
The other question I get is about differentiation. Everyone wants to know how Primrose compares to its competition when it comes to support and quality of service. Again, I feel fortunate to be able to talk about our unmatched support and the commitment to service excellence that has led our Franchise Owners to rank us the #1 Children’s Services Franchise by FranchiseGrade.com. I can also talk about the more than 200 hours of training required of our Franchise Owners before they ever open their doors- more than any other early education and care company. And, I feel like a real champion when I share that Primrose was the first organization to receive AdvancED™ Corporation Systems Accreditation under the new standards for Quality Early Learning Schools, leading a trend that is now the gold standard for our peers around the world.
My friend, Glen Jackson, spoke to Primrose Franchise Owners a few years ago about the Seven Pillars of Preeminence. Recently, he was featured in a national podcast on the same subject. His wisdom gives all of us strategic food for thought as we continue to pursue and perfect our unique paths to preeminence. Any entrepreneur can benefit from his success recipe, which includes the following components:
- Trust. As Stephen Covey says, “nothing moves faster than the speed of trust.” The best brands know that character and competency establish trust.
- Relationship building. It’s the opposite of networking.
- Marketing communication. Preeminent companies understand the need to make marketing “deposits” into their “bank of goodwill.”
- Assessment. Never stop assessing how you’re doing and what’s coming next.
- Cultural torch of servant leadership. Leaders who are true servants have a mindset that no task is too small or too big for them.
- Fanatical focus. Preeminent companies do not hesitate to say no to opportunities that don’t make sense and they aren’t distracted by their own success.
- Remarkable resiliency. A durable company can swim upstream, if necessary.
All of this to say that results like these only come through intentional planning and perseverance. Those are key ingredients in the secret sauce of leading brands.