We recently announced a very exciting partnership with Sports World Mexico and are so honored they have partnered with us to create even further reach for our brand and their commitment to spreading the proprietary SafeSplash curriculum into another country!
I spent the day yesterday on a college visit / campus tour with my oldest daughter. It was a near perfect day for both of us. Great school, incredible excitement, optimism everywhere, great weather. It was such a good day that it made me want to go back to school (…not really).
It was interesting to talk about the day and the impending decision to attend the school with my daughter, after the dust had settled. At the core of the conversation we had for the next several hours, she was asking me about how I thought about big decisions. The conversation helped me talk through some of the key strategies I have used throughout my career to make big decisions, both professionally and personally.
As I talked it through with her, here are some of the things I told her about strategies for big decisions:
1) The big picture matters. See big decisions in context. Big decisions set you down a course. Often the outcome of this course is unpredictable, but what is very predictable is the general direction that the decision drives you. The direction you choose is probably the single most important aspect of big decisions in life. For example, choosing to start your own business with a franchise system sends you down a possible path to personal freedom and personal legacy. While the success of this path is not guaranteed, it is a very different course than continuing to work for someone else.
With our new partnership with Sports World in Santa Fe, Mexico City, SafeSplash® Swim School is now the largest brand in North America. This major international expansion really puts us on the map in terms of name recognition and bringing the best in swim instruction to children.
Culture fascinates me. I’ve always had an overwhelming curiosity to understand the culture that is the basis of groups. Culture binds people. Countries have a culture, groups of like-minded people have a culture, almost everything has a culture...even groups of bowlers have a culture. Culture drives groups to behave in specific and often predictable ways. Companies have a culture.
Corporate culture is hard to create and even harder to manage. A leader needs to manage a company’s culture carefully and with intent.
In Japanese business, culture dictates that the senior leader in the room sits furthest from the door in a meeting room.
Early in my career, I was told that sales is a game where it is easy to keep score. There is no hiding…the customer either buys or doesn’t buy. While this is true in sales, it is a bit harder to know where you stand with respect to competition as you are running a business from a general management perspective, especially in industries where there is imperfect information.
It is a lot of fun to be an entrepreneur. It is incredibly rewarding. It is exciting. It is a chance to chart your own course. It is an opportunity to build a legacy for and your family. It is a personal challenge. It is an opportunity to create real wealth. It is a learning opportunity.
But from my perspective, the best thing about being an entrepreneur is freedom, one of the most innate sources of satisfaction that we have as humans.
I was talking to one of our franchisees last night over dinner. He is both a franchisee of SafeSplash and a franchisee of a trampoline concept. Prior to becoming a franchisee, he was deeply involved with corporate strategy at Intel (the technology company). He is an incredibly smart and accomplished guy…someone I have a lot of respect for. Growing up in the high tech industry myself, we got talking about career choices and what we both thought about leaving high paying careers in technology to become entrepreneurs. I asked him if he’s happy with his choice to leave the “corporate” world. His response was, “Matt, I’ll never go back to that. I can’t. The freedom and fulfillment I have as an entrepreneur/franchisee and is incomparable. Even if they begged me to come back, I don’t think I could. I’d choke.” I couldn’t agree more.
That said, there are many different ways to become an entrepreneur, but to me, the choices can be characterized by one’s tolerance for risk and the concept of buying vs. building.
Own assets that appreciate, rent assets that depreciate is a financial concept that we have heard often from “experts” throughout our lives. But there is an inherent fallacy in this guidance...this advice leaves out an important concept that is critical to those that seek to build significant wealth. A slight, but important, modification to this phrase makes it much more wealth oriented: Own assets that appreciate and generate cash flow, rent assets that don’t. I consider assets that fit this category, “perfect assets” and when I find one like this, priced right, I work hard to buy it as fast as I can, because they are rare. Assets that typically fit this category more often than not are privately owned businesses. The problem is that
Franchising is an interesting business model, someone out there created a business and replicated it, then they decided to share that business with others. The early days of large brands all have an interesting story and date back to the 1950’s, brands such as McDonald’s, Subway, Holiday Inn and other similar household names. They paved the way for me to start my franchise career in the 1990’s and help fuel the passion I have to create a lifetime career in the field.