Be the Best for Your Customers

By Business, Work Smarter

Be the best

We should all work harder — and work smarter — at striving to be the best at what we do. After all, our customers deserve the best, don’t they? A surefire way to create value is to provide the best service available. Another way is to communicate clearly and honestly, using the most suitable tools. Be the best at telling your story.

Be the Best, Not a Commodity

“Tom [Peters’] Credo: ‘Commodity’ is a state of mind — a loser’s state of mind. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g can be significantly (dramatically?) differentiated.”
http://bit.ly/2kkycbr

Which Social Media Platforms Should Your Small Businesses Be Using?

“Social media marketing for small businesses can be a tricky game. It’s difficult to know how to allocate resources to have maximum effect when there are so many different platforms, with best practices for each.”
http://bit.ly/2jOKNRb

Seven Body Language Mistakes You Won’t Want to Make In Your Next Interview

“This graphic outlines seven different body language mistakes you won’t want to make, and how to avoid them.” Useful not just for interviews, these tips are good for sales presentations, customer service, meetings, and other interactions.
http://bit.ly/2kLE9z7

4 Follow-up Emails That’ll Backfire on You Real Fast

You get tired of waiting for someone to respond to an email, so you send a tactful follow up. “Yes, your goal of being diplomatic is coming from the right place. But if it causes you to make up fake excuses, you’re going to look worse than if you were just honest.”
http://muse.cm/2kLA660

How to Make a Sign

Seth Godin shares a good example of how to communicate clearly. It is worth taking the time to ask the kinds of questions he lists when making signs, writing memos, sending emails, even posting on social media.
http://bit.ly/2jOZdk7

Six Items That Should Never Be On Your To-Do List

“Writing a to-do list seems like a tidy little way to keep track of what you need to accomplish, but it can fall short or even derail your success… The content of your list is key to its usefulness. Here are six items that you should remove or never put on a to-do list.”
http://bit.ly/2kHSCsN

Quote of the Day

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss

Jim and Pat Schwartz, Western New York

By Business, Franchise News, Our Stories

Jim and Pat Schwartz are one of our many wonderful stories at Aire-Master and we couldn’t be more proud of them. They have been with Aire-Master since August, 1996, operating Aire-Master of Western New York. In fact, we’ve just celebrated their 20th year with us and honored them with an anniversary award.

Before Aire-Master, Jim and Pat both worked many years for the Safety and Security Department at Alfred College in New York. However, due to downsizing and Jim’s job being moved out of state, they both found themselves in need of employment. So they decided this would be a perfect opportunity to get back into business for themselves.

Having already worked with a cosmetic franchisor years earlier, Jim knew enough about franchising to give him a good idea of what he was looking for. While researching, he noticed Aire-Master among the franchise systems available in Entrepreneur Magazine. Jim discovered that Aire-Master hit many of the things that he was interested in, such as cost of ownership, repeat business, quality of product, and a positive relationship with the franchisor.

Jim and Pat Schwartz, Aire-Master of Western New York

Today, Jim and Pat employ many people, operate numerous service routes, and offer the full line of Aire-Master services to their customers. Over the years, as they have grown their franchise, they’ve received many recognitions for their achievements. Jim reasons, “Why recreate the wheel,” as they easily leaned into Aire-Master’s methods and strategies. This helped position their franchise as one of the top revenue generating franchises in the Aire-Master system.

Jim confesses that partnering with Aire-Master was naturally scary at first, but looking back now he says, “As it turns out, it was a blessing. It was the best thing we ever did!”

Watch the video above to hear an incredible story from Jim Schwartz on how he built a relationship with Watkins Glen International — who has become his largest customer.

Building Relationships Through Communication

By Business, Franchise News

Flying geese

Aire-Master’s longevity (58 years and counting) is largely due to our understanding the importance of building relationships with our franchisees and customers.

When a franchisee joins our system, they are placing their trust and future in our hands. We take that seriously! During the Aire-Master recruitment process, we’ll work together with you to see if you are a good fit for us — and more importantly — if we are a good fit for you. Our goal is to thoroughly equip you to operate an Aire-Master franchise.

Communication and Training

The line of open communication begins immediately at the start of the recruitment process. It then continues on with a Discovery Day invitation where you’ll visit us at our national headquarters. It’s here you’ll get to see the Aire-Master operation up close and personal. It will also be an opportunity to ask our team lots of questions. We’ll be ready and look forward to talking with you.

If we are a good fit and we welcome you aboard, our relationship will continue to grow and develop throughout our training process. We’ll provide you the proper training, guidance, and support to run an Aire-Master franchise. You will meet those who will interact with you throughout your partnership with us. And our support and encouragement will continue as you take the necessary steps in building your new franchise.

Sharing Opportunities

Here is something we’re proud of: over the years, we have had many referrals from our franchisees whose family members, friends, and even customers have gone on to acquire and operate their own Aire-Master franchises. We believe that says a lot about how well we build relationships within our franchise system. When our franchisees feel valued and productive, they want to share that same opportunity they’ve enjoyed with those around them.

Frequent communication and mutual respect are the hallmarks we value in building relationships and trust. We all benefit from working smarter — and harder — together.

Douglas McCauley and Aire-Master History

By Business, Franchise News, Our Stories

Aire-Master’s CEO, Douglas McCauley, gives a brief history of Aire-Master and shares how he grew up working in his father’s business learning everything he could. Then he reveals how was entrusted with his family’s legacy of steering the direction of Aire-Master into the future. You’ll also hear how the strategies he put in place and decisions he made were pivotal in turning Aire-Master into the ever-growing, national franchise system it is today. Douglas McCauley closes his message by inviting you to discover if Aire-Master is right for you.

7 Keys to Delegate Effectively

By Business, Work Smarter

delegate effectively

If you are a manager, you have to delegate tasks in order to get things done. There aren’t enough hours in the day, or days in the week to do it all yourself. But it isn’t always easy to delegate effectively. If you don’t approach it strategically, you will end up making more work for everyone on your team. Here are some keys to effective delegation.

1. Decide which tasks to delegate

First, don’t let your ego convince you that no one else can do any of your tasks as well as you can. There should be people on your team that are better suited to certain jobs. If not, review your hiring practices. “You should be using your time on the most critical tasks for the business, and the tasks that only you can do. Delegate what you can’t do, and what doesn’t interest you.” (Forbes)

2. Match the right person to the right task

This is a good opportunity to look for the potential in others. “Think creatively about who may be able to handle some of the tasks that keep you from getting other things accomplished. What may be drudgery to you may be a joy to someone else. What you do poorly someone else may be able to do with excellence.” (Tim Challies) “Delegate to the lowest possible organizational level. The people who are closest to the work are best suited for the task, because they have the most intimate knowledge of the detail of everyday work.” (Mind Tools)

3. Use delegation to help others grow

Delegation is a great way to make everyone on your team better. It “…has the aim of not just getting tasks done, but of building others up through the accomplishment of tasks.” (Matt Perman) Be prepared to do some training, as your goal is to teach your people new skills. “Delegating doesn’t mean passing off work you don’t enjoy, but letting your employees stretch their skills and judgment.” (Inc)

4. Be clear about the expected outcome

Make sure your employee knows exactly what you expect them to accomplish, and set a deadline. “Delegate clear outcomes. Make them measurable. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” (Brian Tracy)

5. Provide the required resources

A major part of managing is making sure your people have everything they need to get their work done. Take care of any necessary purchasing, password-protected materials, and so forth the employee will need. You might also need to help arrange meetings with others for them. “Allocate the resources necessary to complete the task. You may have resources available that are necessary to complete the task but the person given the task may not be able to access them.” (wikiHow)

6. Support — don’t micromanage

Nobody wants their boss looking over their shoulder or nitpicking every step of a task. At the same time, make yourself available to offer support, answer questions, and give advice when needed. “In delegating effectively, we have to find the sometimes-difficult balance between giving enough space for people to use their abilities to best effect, while still monitoring and supporting closely enough to ensure that the job is done correctly and effectively.” (Mind Tools)

7. Give credit and thanks

This is the final step of every delegated task. Thank your employee for their work, and make their contribution known to others. A little appreciation goes a long way. “Be sure to recognize and thank anyone who’s helped you out, and make your whole team (not just yourself) look good for doing the job well.” (The Muse)

Love Works – Book Review

By Book Reviews, Business

Love Works. by Joel ManbyLove Works. Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders, by Joel Manby, breaks down his overriding leadership code: leading with love. Each chapter focuses on one quality that love exhibits. Love is:

  • Patient
  • Kind
  • Trusting
  • Unselfish
  • Truthful
  • Forgiving
  • Dedicated

Manby is the CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, which owns Silver Dollar City and many other properties. He was also featured on an episode of the TV series Undercover Boss.

Aire-Master CEO, Douglas McCauley, recommended Love Works at our National Franchise Conference a few years ago. The book really resonated with our franchisees. Phil Canipe, Aire-Master of Charleston, even led a book club discussion on our internal forum about it. Rather than write a traditional book review, we are sharing some of the reactions and thoughts that our franchisees posted about the principles of Love Works, as they read through the book.

Note that these comments are very candid. Following these principles doesn’t always come naturally, and we all have to work hard to do our best.

I probably have the hardest time trusting. Outwardly, it would appear I’m extremely trusting (I probably am more than I think). Inwardly, I’m a super control freak. I’m constantly at war with myself.

***

I maybe a little too trusting, but it has worked for me with very little regrets. I can most improve on patience. Once I decide to get something done, and it may involve others, my patience is what I have to work on. I can always do better.

***

I remember being publicly admonished in a college class for giving a poor speech. It did nothing but upset me and caused me to resent the instructor. Ironically, a classmate of mine saw my frustration and publicly praised my efforts the following week in front of everyone. Even the professor was moved! It completely changed my attitude toward the class and eventually led to an “A”.

***

It’s all about our walk and our love and respect for each other. I truly am a very blessed man for being a part of this organization. The great saying, that people don’t care what you know until they know you care, is where it’s at. Thank you all of my fellow franchisees, you are best.

***

I do what I can for my employees so they enjoy their job. I try to empower them so they feel like their customers are THEIR customers. That way they can get excited about working and the way they treat them. I try to make them feel that it is not just a job.

***

Leading with love requires trust. That does not necessarily mean we have to gain the trust of others. But giving our trust rather, is a requisite if we are going to lead effective teams. Another way if saying it, is that if you want someone’s trust, you must first learn to give trust.

***

Trust is not earned. It is given. In this business I feel you have no choice but to trust your employees. I give them large amounts of product and a stack of invoices. I trust they are going out there and servicing when and where they are supposed to. And doing a good job of it. They understand that they have been given this trust and perform admirably for it. I’m not constantly telling them what to do and how to do it. I think it helps.

***

This new way of thinking about trust totally upsets conventional wisdom. I think it allows for a greater responsibility on the leader and less upon the follower trying to “earn” his/her way into the circle of decision makers.

***

We like to allow the service techs to feel a sense of ownership on some level, and always answer “what should I do about X” questions with a “what do you think is the best way to handle it” response. Invariably, the guys make the decision I would have made, and I let them know that.

***

I firmly believe that when you find the right people and empower them, it pays back tenfold. I don’t want to be a micromanager. I think of myself less when I know that my employees have everything covered. Basically, I’ve empowered them so I don’t have to think of myself. I think most of us think we can do it better because it is our business and we know it better than they do. However, I’ve given each employee a piece that I think they can do just as well, if not better than me. They are doing what they do day in and day out.

***

While it may be hard to find a good employee, there are good employees at all levels, and not all the good ones necessarily want to climb up the ladder or be the boss. Some are happy being where they are, doing what they have to, and doing it well. I have seen it a number of times. Maybe they don’t want the responsibility, the stress, whatever the reason may be. And it’s OK. What really matters is that they do their job, do it right, and all is good.

***

In Chapter 6, Manby mentions that a good leader thinks of themselves less, while not thinking less of themselves. This can be a challenge for Aire-Master franchisees, knowing that we are ultimately responsible for our own successes.

***

Love is Truthful. This was, in my mind, the most relevant chapter to small business owners. Often we don’t have the accountability that many leaders of large organizations do. As franchisees, many of us don’t have business mentors. We don’t have whistleblowers. And we certainly don’t have board members to keep us in check. I found this chapter to be a very useful tool in making sure we stay grounded and accountable.

***

I have learned that when an employee, fellow franchisee, or even a long time customer tells me something that frustrates me it usually means they are right and I’m mad at myself for not seeing it sooner. It’s a difficult process, but I’m learning to use these methods to help better myself and my business.