Inspiration and diligence “ I ’ m inspired by women who are smart , who have been able to be successful and build great businesses ,” says Shane Evans , president of Massage Heights . Those women include Shannon Wilburn , CEO of Just Between Friends , one of two moms who co-founded the company in 1997 .
Another is Kendra Scott , who started her business in 2002 with $ 500 , making jewelry in her spare bedroom . She opened her first retail store in Austin in 2010 and today has hundreds of stores across the U . S . In December , Berkshire Partners announced it would acquire a significant minority stake in her company , Kendra Scott Design , reportedly valuing the company at more than $ 1 billion . Others outside of franchising include Sheryl Sandberg and Tory Burch .
Evans , who isn ’ t doing too badly at providing inspiration herself these days , co-founded Massage Heights in 2004 with her husband Wayne and began franchising in 2007 . Today the brand has 150 units open . Her advice to young women with entrepreneurial or C-suite aspirations ?
“ With every company , franchise or not , it ’ s about having a vision for what you ’ re trying to create , and having a plan behind it . Work the plan and stay diligent . You have to follow up and follow through , do what you say you ’ re going to do , and have good values and ethics , especially in franchising . It could be easy for people to get into franchising for the wrong reasons . Obviously we ’ re all in it to build a company and a revenue stream and all those things , but we have to put the franchisees first . Be prepared to understand that in franchising , withwords of
n I think the future of franchising looks very bright for all people . Whether you like the new administration or not , it has taken an incredible amount of pressure off the franchise business model .
n To be successful you need to know your weaknesses , hire against those , and have social and organizational skills . You need amazing DRIVE !!!!! And you need to know how to budget .
n Never stop learning . Join the IFA , get a mentor through the IFA ( you don ’ t need to be a member for this ), get your CFE . There is a wealth of information through the IFA . Two Men and a Truck leaned very hard on them in the beginning , then in later years gave back .
n As a franchisee , work with a mentor in your system , work closely with your franchisor , stay away from negative people , and be your best .
n My last word of advice in business : Treat others the way you would want to be treated — no matter how they treat you .
Melanie Bergeron is chairwoman of Two Men and a Truck . She served as the IFA chairwoman in 2015 . going do it for her . She can look for mentors and look up to people who can help her , that she can learn from , but the only person who can take that first step is her .”
One obstacle for many women seeking to advance is the idea that one has to be “ perfect ” to apply for or even accept a promotion . Not so , says Specht .
“ This idea of wanting to be perfect and do the job perfectly — it ’ s a myth . What is perfect in an industry ? Every leader is different somehow . There are thousands of leadership books that all tell you something different . Ultimately , you have to find what works for you and realize you ’ re not going to be perfect . I ’ m far from it , but my style is working , and my style enables me to secure really great people on my team , and collectively we do have answers ,” she says . “ My leadership is my own . Recognizing the fact that you ’ re not perfect , but can do things to compensate for that , shouldn ’ t stop you from going after what you want .”
When Specht went after the job she holds today , she says , “ I certainly didn ’ t know a lot about that leadership position . But at the same time I was smart enough to realize that I needed to make sure I was continuing to evolve — grow in emotional intelligence , grow in practical leadership , and doing that through ongoing education and training to make sure I was taking seriously the role that I was given , and that I was going to be successful in it .”
Her advice to women looking to become better leaders ?
• Serve on nonprofit boards , observing and working with leaders of organizations larger and more successful than their own .
• Get involved in ongoing , practical leadership development training , not only yourself , but also your team , learning the best ways to hold meetings or review individuals , for example , and get exposed to different perspectives and approaches .
• Read leadership books .
• Align yourself with other professionals , surround yourself with people who are better , smarter , and brighter so you can continue to learn from the best .
• Attend conferences such as Franchise Update ’ s CEO Summit , where you can spend an entire day with top executives from different franchise brands , sharing common problems and solutions and establishing new and ongoing relationships . Networking doesn ’ t stop once you become a leader , she says . In fact , it increases .
• Find a mentor . Don ’ t be afraid to ask . Try to find a mentor who ’ s going to help with feedback , advice , and wisdom , “ so that maybe some of your lessons along the way won ’ t be as painful and you can move into leadership in franchising a little bit more smoothly . I think the power of a mentor is just tremendous ,” she says . “ Women want to help other women , by and large . They want to see success in the industry , they want to see success in others .”