Have you ever reached a point in business where you know you needed a competitive advantage, but you weren’t quite sure where to focus?
In this episode of Influence by Design, we dive deep into the interesting topic of innovation culture with expert leader and solutionist, Rhiannon Simcocks.
To be the first is always the hardest. To do something that no one has done before ushers in fear, complete uncertainty, and lots of risk. This is what innovation is all about – carving the path where no one has walked and being responsible for finding the answers to your own questions.
Innovation is so much more than tweaking or improving systems and processes, it demands hard work to genuinely do something for the first time and make sure it succeeds.
During this conversation you’ll discover how you can embrace innovation in business to generate a revolution toward new opportunities.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL DISCOVER:
- Core responsibilities of franchise networks (02:40)
- What is a subscription model and how it helps get in touch with the right audience (05:15)
- How is business innovation defined? (12:25)
- The influence of team effort for business success (18:35)
- The best way to deal with business “what-ifs” (26:45)
- Repercussions of people pushing back (29:45)
- Hustle culture vs focus for impact (37:38)
- The purpose behind the hustle (41:50)
- Key takeaway from Rhiannon (46:20)
- “A door slam is never a no, it’s an opportunity to follow a different pathway.” -Rhiannon Simcocks
- “Demonstrating the value of the change is key.” -Rhiannon Simcocks
- “You have to back yourself. Reward comes when you take risks.” -Rhiannon Simcocks
- “You need to empower and enable your team and understand that you’re all in it to take the company forward.” -Samantha Riley
- “There is a reaction for every single action that we do in the business.” -Samantha Riley
WHERE TO FIND RHIANNON SIMCOCKS
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ABOUT RHIANNON SIMCOCKS
Rhiannon is an experienced leader and solutionist.
As CEO of James Home Services Australia, Rhiannon conceptualised and has led the development and implementation of Australia’s first subscription model to business ownership.
With a background in business management and business consulting, Rhiannon brings a balance of strategic thinking, sharp business acumen, a strong moral compass and an acute focus on honed execution.
TRANSCRIPTION (AI Generated)
Rhiannon Simcocks (00:00):
That’s what innovation feels like. That’s what it looks like. That’s what it is. It’s not just little tweaks around the edge. It’s not being brought in to do a job. It’s genuinely being first no one else has walked this path before. And every single question you ask yourself, you are responsible for finding the answer to.
Samantha Riley Intro (00:21):
My name is Samantha Riley, and this is the podcast for experts who want to be the unapologetic leader in their industry. We’re going to share the latest business growth, marketing, and leadership strategies, as well as discussing how you can use your human design to create success in business and life. Inside and out. It’s time to take your influence, income, and impact to the level you know you’re capable of. Are you ready to make a bigger difference and scale up? This is the Influence By Design podcast.
Welcome to today’s episode of Influence By Design, I’m your host, Samantha Riley,
And today we’re going to be talking about innovation. And I’m not going to sort of dive deep into that at the moment because I’ve invited today’s guest. And when we first spoke, I have to be honest, she was introduced to me, and I was like, Why am I being introduced to this person? It makes no sense. So I’m going to read her bio, so you are on the same page as me. So Rhiannon Simcocks is the CEO of James Home Services Australia, which is a franchise for people in the home services cleaning and in the gardening kind of, you know, industry. She conceptualized and has led the development and implementation of Australia’s first subscription model to business ownership. Now, like I said, when ran and first was introduced to me, I was like, I don’t know about this. And we jumped on a call and had the most incredible conversation and I booked her in on the spot. So Rhiannon, welcome to the show, that is probably the most uncomfortable introduction you’ve ever received. But I want people to understand that if they’re listening and thinking, what’s Sam doing today? That just strap yourselves in? Because this is going to be a firecracker.
Rhiannon Simcocks (02:12):
Yeah, it really is, isn’t it? That first conversation we had, it just flowed so naturally. And I’ve been so looking forward to today’s chat. So thank you so much for having me on. Thank you for opening the door, even though it didn’t make any sense when I knocked on it. Oh, hello,
Samantha Riley (02:27):
There’s a little opener into what we’re talking about today. So you’re in home services. This is why I first thought this is a bit strange. You’re a franchisor. Tell us a little bit about the business that you’re running now. And sort of where it was when you bought it, because I think that will flow us into the conversation that we’re going to have today.
Rhiannon Simcocks (02:52):
Yeah, it’s perfect context, really. I am the CEO for James Home Services Australia, which is a franchise network that operates nationally and its services the home services sector. So as a franchise network, we have two core responsibilities. One is to develop a business model for selling, cleaning and lawn mowing predominantly businesses to everyday Australians mums and dads X corporates, anybody who is thinking they’d like to go down the path of business ownership, but wants a little bit of extra support along the way. And so the network of James Home Services Australia changed ownership just on the cusp of COVID, almost three years ago, and the new owners purchased a then 27 year old Australian brand that had incredible residual brand value, but had had minimal reinvention since its founding 27 years ago. And so what was purchased was fabulous bones, an excellent network, incredible business owners within our network and an amazing culture and team. But the foundations needed rebuilding and significantly so and so our journey with James home services over the last three years has been exactly that it’s been completely rebuilding the foundation’s complete and utter transformation of our business. It looks nothing. From the outside, it looks like James Home Services Australia from the outside, we’ve not changed all that much. But internally, it looks absolutely nothing like the business that the owners purchased almost three years ago. Part of that transformation was because we wanted to get to a point where we could introduce something incredibly different into the franchising and the business ownership space. And that was our subscription model. We had a lot of work to do to get to a point where innovation was possible in our network. So that was the first two years of work. And in the middle of last year, we launched our Australian first and indeed we believe well first in a subscription model to business ownership. Hmm.
Samantha Riley (05:06):
Now, there’s two ways I want to go here. And I’m hoping I picked the right way first so that we create the path. So you talking about a subscription model, what I’d like you to cover is that journey of discovering who are really not discovering, diving deep into who your ideal client is, and understanding the mismatch of the traditional franchise model.
Rhiannon Simcocks (05:36):
You have asked literally a perfect question there, you’ll enjoy the perfect question, because that’s where it all starts. It all starts with two very basic questions that every single person in business does not matter, your industry, your sector, your your service, your product, it doesn’t matter. There are two questions as a business owner, you need to be asking yourself pretty much every day and you need to be answering yourself honestly, the first one of those questions is, does the market want what I sell? Now, this is not a tick and flick. We don’t just say, Well, yeah, I’m a plumber. And yet people need plumbers. So yeah, yes. No, no dive deep. Does the market actually want exactly what you sell? What is your value proposition down to 100 dot points? What is it that you’re offering? You know, and what are the 20 that are the most important in terms of your value proposition but detailing out exactly who you are, what you stand for, and what it is you’re offering the market. Now, when we first started looking at what we need to transform our network, and we had done things like a complete brand refresh, we’d introduce more, you know, new systems and processes. We’ve taken our head office team through additional training and through lots of change. You know, we tackled dozens of significant change management projects in those first two years to transform the network. And we got to a point where we had worked on the foundations. And we were saying, right, well, now now we’re actually proud of what we’ve got. Now, we’re actually proud of what we’re selling our product our offering to the market. And so do the market wanted. And for us, it came down to the fact Well, what is it that we offer at the very core, what we offer is the ability for someone to be their own boss, the ability for them to flip the bird to the boss, and kick the commute to the curb, not worry about who’s got your coffee cup at 10 o’clock in the morning, people the ability to control their own time, their own financial outcomes, and their own time with family, which is probably one of the most important things that we hear. does the market want the ability to own their own businesses? Absolutely, yes, the answer to that first question for us was, yes, that’s a no brainer. It’s part of the quintessential Australian dream, to own your own backyard, and to be your own boss, and we tick off or we enable people to tick off half that list. So yes, the market wants what we are offering. So once you’ve either answered yes or no to that question, and by the way, if it’s a no, you’ve got to go back to the drawing board, you got to redesign what it is that you’re offering based on what your market are telling you. You can’t just simply forge ahead and say, well, I need to market harder, or I need to push harder, I need to get in the right person’s ear. If you’re not selling a product that the market wants, you’re always going to be pushing it uphill. So if your answer that first question is no, you got to go back to the drawing board, you got to go back to basics. You got to stretch what you think you might know about what you’re offering your market about what they want from you. And you have to redesign that. The second question, however, once you’ve determined that the market does want what you want, what you’re selling is, and this is where we got this was our sticking point where we said yes, the market wants what we’re offering. Okay, well, how come we’re not seeing a significant uptake in that? How come we’re not seeing a huge number of inquiries to our network to become new business owners with us. And that’s where we had to go back to the drawing board. That’s where we had to go back and better understand what’s stopping the market is saying, yes, we want what you’ve got, well, why aren’t they moving through and purchasing with us? There are barriers in that process in that Parkway for them. There are brick walls going up somewhere. We then just had to figure out where they were, what they were and how to tear them down. Yeah, so that’s exactly what we did. We found those brick walls now there was pretty much only two significant ones. One was around flexibility of you know, the agreement that you enter into a franchise network, you have a franchise agreement, people wanted more flexibility in those agreements. So we created more flexibility in our agreements. The other thing we did was that people said, well, I want to be my own boss, but I just I don’t want the risk of parting with the upfront cash which can be anywhere from 20 to $60,000 in our sector, and you know, nobody has that kind of money sitting in their back pocket anymore. And people even if they do or even If they haven’t in equity and other assets are less and less, less and less wanting to rearrange to make that capital available to spend up front purchasing into a business, it’s seen as a high risk activity. Yeah. And so the feedback from market was we want flexible payment options. And so it kind of in the end was a bit of a no brainer for us the feedback was we want flexible payment. And we said, Well, okay, let’s throw out the window. What we thought we knew about selling franchises, let’s throw out the window, what everybody else does, and let’s completely redesign it. Let’s flip some tables, let’s offer a subscription model, why wouldn’t we do that? So that’s sort of the two key questions you have to ask yourself in business. does the market want what I’m selling? And if yes, then why aren’t they buying it from you? There has to be something stopping them we got to do is find that brick wall and tear it down.
Samantha Riley (10:54):
Yeah, I love this so much. Because the traditional franchise model is, is really aimed at, I guess, X corporates with a large amount of money. You know, gosh, I’m talking years ago. So my very first job was in McDonald’s. And I met my then husband, who was working in McDonald’s, he was in management, I was being groomed for management, I turned them down. And we were looking at a franchise. Well, when you’re in your early 20s, I don’t know if anyone knows the amount of a McDonald’s franchise, but there is no possible way that we could have done it. They were definitely aimed at people that had been in high executive positions that were coming out with hundreds of 1000s of dollars. To me, there’s a huge mismatch there, you’re talking about home services, I would guess, and I could be wrong, that it is a younger end of the market that would be coming in to purchase your franchises that don’t necessarily have that capital. So having that thought of how can we do this differently, when no one else had been asking this question previously, is huge. Because you know, being the first person to come up with this new model, the first person is always the hardest, you know, and you talked about innovation before, I guess I would love to bridge from where we are right now into the rest of the conversation like, what really is innovation?
Rhiannon Simcocks (12:26):
Yeah, great question. What is innovation, I feel like it’s a little bit of an overused but misunderstood word. I went through university only 10 years ago. And when I went through university, we were taught change management. But we weren’t taught innovation. So in the last 10 years, since I was in university, we’ve had this explosion in our language around transformation of companies and networks and organizations. And innovation wasn’t something that we really spoke about 10 years ago at university when I was going through it, what is innovation innovation is being first innovation is not just simply doing something slightly different. It’s not continuous improvement. And it’s not change management, it is doing something genuinely for the first time. And that is very hard work. When we first came up with the idea of the subscription model, I had some fascinating conversations, when I was first talking to some individuals about this. So innovation is really hard work. And I want to share a couple of these conversations with you to give you and your audience just an idea of what innovation actually looks like when you kick start it from the inside. And probably
Samantha Riley (13:36):
most importantly, what it feels like. It feels
Rhiannon Simcocks (13:40):
like an uphill battle. But in a very good way, in a very fulfilling way. Because you you know, we knew we had to do something and innovation. As hard as that is it’s exciting, it’s exhilarating. When I first thought of the concept, I thought, Gosh, surely somebody else has done this. This is this seems to be a no brainer, you quite rightly point out that jumping into a franchise network as a younger person is pretty much impossible. You know, it’s difficult enough to get into the housing market. And we’re all struggling to try and do that. And then you throw wanting to be your own boss and on top of that, and the two just do not work together for most of the population at the moment. So when I was looking at this idea, I thought, oh gosh, there’s surely case studies worldwide. Diamond doesn’t on offering a subscription to business ownership. There was nothing I could find nothing. I spent days trawling the internet Australia and globally. And I found nothing and I thought how on earth has this not been done? And so I you know, your research and your research and your research and your research and you think about your idea and you’re mulled over in your head and you do all the risk analysis and you write it you know, you just you just start brain dumping everything in anything and your entire life becomes absorbed completely in this thought process around. How am I going to do this? No one else has done this before. Does that mean It’s not going to work, like if it was going to work, somebody else would have done it. And so you start second guessing yourself and thinking maybe it’s not such a good idea, maybe there’s a reason it hasn’t been done. And so eventually, I’ve got the courage to launch this idea to the owners of the business. And we were in one of our monthly meetings. And, you know, we got to the last items on the agenda. And I said, I have an idea for taking this company in a slightly different direction. And I spoke about this concept of a subscription to business ownership, and I got laughed at. That’s what it feels to be first, usually, you get laughed at. And I say that not to indicate that the people that I was launching the idea to weren’t bold and courageous in their vision for our company, because we were we’d spent two years completely transforming and changing everything we’ve made every bold and courageous decision you could possibly make in two years in a network, we’ve done it. And so this wasn’t an indication that they had no appetite for change and poor risk, quite the opposite. They just thought the idea was absurd. Then I had a conversation with our lawyer who’s a franchising specialist. And I got silence at the other end of the phone. I really love our lawyer, she has just the best sense of humor. And I got silence at the other end of the phone. And she said, I don’t know if we can we do this? I don’t know if we can do. I’m gonna have to look at some legislation can we do? And it was so funny, because the been saying, Can we do this? And she’s saying, I don’t know, can we do this, I’ve never been asked before, she’s saying, we’re gonna have to go back to basics, we’re gonna go have to go back and look at legislation, make sure that you still qualify as a franchise network, we really have to pull this apart, we have to unpack your concept entirely, to figure out where this fits in the space of franchising, law and regulation in this country. And so completely uncharted waters for her, you know, then I started talking to other sort of agencies that we were working with, for marketing and SEO and website because, you know, this sort of idea is driven by you know, when you launch something into the marketplace for the first time, the launch is all exciting, but then you need to move into a phase of educating the marketplace, because they don’t know what it is you’re now selling. Yeah, I was talking to all our agencies that partner with us on this kind of that kind of space. And, you know, the response from them was like, This is so cool. But how, yeah, like, we’ve got questions, but how do you make this work? So innovation is, is sitting in that space of complete uncertainty, observed amounts of risk? Fear, waking up at 2am? going, Oh, my God, Am I insane? Are we in academia?
Samantha Riley (17:46):
Yeah, what am I doing?
Rhiannon Simcocks (17:49):
That’s right, you know, the financial modelling for this? How on earth do they know whether we would financially modeling it out correctly, I’m basing five years of forecasting based on nothing on pure assumptions pulled out of thin air. That’s what innovation feels like. That’s what it looks like. That’s what it is. It’s not just little tweaks around the edge. It’s not being brought in to do a job. It’s genuinely been first, no one else has walked this path before. And every single question you ask yourself, you are responsible for finding the answer to
Samantha Riley (18:22):
Yeah, I love this so much. When you first came up with like, when you first did your original analysis, and you’re like, we got to do something different. And you came up with this idea for the subscription model for the franchisees? Was this something that just came to you? Or was this through conversations with other people around you?
Rhiannon Simcocks (18:43):
It’s always a team effort, always, you know, it’s always it’s a build, we talk so openly amongst our head office team about our core challenges, and our core risks and what they actually mean to the organization. We are not an organization that wraps our head office team in cotton wool and says you’re just doing your job, we’re worried about our job, no, no, it’s everybody’s job to make sure this organization is successful, because our jobs ultimately are to ensure the success and that the support is given to our business owners. So the story is far bigger than just our head office team. It was about ensuring security and longevity for our network, because ultimately, it’s the business owners in our network that we are responsible for taking care of. So you know, we are open and we have lots of conversations. And over two years of transforming the network, there were that many projects that we were working on that many conversations that we would have at the head office level that were strategically focused, where are we going, what are we trying to achieve? What are our goals here? What does success look like for us and you know, every now and then you get a little bit of an ID from someone and then someone else says something else and then you have a bit of a chat with someone else and it sort of rolls a little bit more. And you know that those ongoing conversations over a period of couple of piece. Together with that deep dive we did on what are those brick walls in our way? Yes, the market wants what we’re selling. But no, we’re not selling. So where are the blockages? Where are those brick walls? You know, once we really identified those brick walls, we did a lot of market research, we actually called people who had inquired with us, and who had looked like our perfect candidate, but who had not gone ahead with us, we called them and we said, Please don’t hang up on us. This is not us trying to sell you a franchise after you’ve already told us that you don’t want one. This is us genuinely wanting your complete and honest and frank feedback about why you didn’t go ahead. Yeah, that was the changing point. For us. That was the intelligence that made all the difference. Because it was those conversations as uncomfortable as they were. It was those conversations that basically time and time again, the same thing came up. Yeah, well, I’ve got the cash, but I don’t, it’s too risky, I’m not going to go and put it all on the table upfront, or Well, I don’t, I want my own business, but I just don’t have the cash. And I don’t have the ability to go to a bank and I don’t have family that have cash that would lend it to me, I just can’t get it. So you know, the train stops here. It was those conversations that were critical. So it’s a whole heap of things, right, you have to be listing all of the time to your people to the market to the feedback, as uncomfortable as that is you have to listen to it. And then at the end of it all, you know, the gold spins out the other end when you put it all together. And it’s like 1000 piece puzzle that we were building for two years, and you put one piece in every couple of days, and you can’t really see the full picture and two pieces in and all of a sudden you start to see it. And then you know, once you’ve got a few pieces in, then you put a whole hit more in and then it builds really quickly. And then all of a sudden, you’re 80% there and the picture is clear. That’s kind of what happened. You know, it was not an immediate lightbulb moment. But it was an evolution over a period of time. We needed to flip some tables, we needed to do things very differently. And we just we were tenacious, in our pursuit for more intelligence at all times. We asked questions. You know, if someone in my team said to me, Oh, well, I would say to them, Well, why did this person drop off or, or, you know, just family circumstances, now I want you to bring them and I want you to actually have a deeper conversation with them about why because that intelligence drives our decision making that inevitably drove our innovation.
Samantha Riley (22:25):
I love this so much. I interviewed Mikey Phil during back in episode 358. And she talks about the journey for them getting to a million dollars a month. And the conversation was exactly the same as this conversation in the sense that the team doesn’t have this. Well, you’re in sales, and you go over here and you’re doing this thing. And this is the golden thread. It’s a very consultative, consultative, consultative, I don’t know, we all know what I’m trying to say, surely, it’s a process with all the team members coming in, and everyone putting their heads together and understanding that to be able to grow this company or this business as a whole, that everyone needs to be part of that process. And that is definitely something that I’m hearing from you as well is that you need to empower and enable your team to all come together and understand that you’re all in it to, you know, to take this company forward.
Rhiannon Simcocks (23:26):
It’s critical. It’s critical, it’s the most critical thing that we’re focused on in the transformation is actually the health of our head office team, as a team, and there’s no one single place where you start working on how do you bring your team together. It comes from everywhere, and it comes from everyone. I feel like you know, obviously there’s sayings, it’s got to be led from the top. And then there are other sayings saying it’s got to be lead from the bottom, you know, groundswell upwards. And then there are other sayings that well, it’s, you know, it’s all in your hiring. It’s all of those things. It’s time, yes, you know, you you have to live and breathe, what you say and what you do, you have to go about your job with integrity, you have to actually care about the people in your care. And for our head office team. We are a small but exceptionally powerful team. I have a very small team who would probably be surprised to know just how small our head office team is. And yet what we are capable of achieving in our national business with just a few people really we have less than 10 in our head office team. How do we get that level of productivity in our people, you take care of them and you genuinely care about who they are. And one of the most important things I think we do is we you know, call it culture or just I don’t know culture, I feel like is almost a little bit overused. And I feel like what we have goes beyond just culture. Uh huh. You know, It’s like the James way, how do we how do we do things that work. And it’s like, I have a particular team member who will ring me on a Wednesday and say, Hey, I’ve got this wacky Wednesday idea. And when she first started ringing me a couple of years ago with these ideas, and they’re just, they’re just little ideas, little tweaks to the dial, but they make a big difference to her role and a very big difference in the scheme of things to how we’re able to support our franchisees she’d ring me so uncertain and say, I’ve got this little idea, I don’t waste your time. You know, I’ve just been thinking about this, if it’s possible, and I’d say, Let me have it, I want all of the ideas all of the time, there is no idea that’s a silly idea, let me have it. And you know, it’s just how we do business. Every idea is potential gold from I don’t care who it comes from, you know, it can come from someone, you know, who picks up a phone, or someone who’s working at, you know, an executive level, the ideas come from everywhere, and they’re gone. Just because it doesn’t, doesn’t really matter where they come from, you need to listen to all of them. Well, all
Samantha Riley (26:00):
of those people have their own unique perspectives of what’s happening within the company. And I think that that’s something that’s not understood in when you’re talking about it can come from the bottom, it can come from the top. And well, it does come from both because I mean, we can say the top just for the conversation, although I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about yet. You know, your executive team, they’re going to have a very specific perspective and reasons why they do things. But that doesn’t mean that the person that’s at the coalface with the clients, or the customers doesn’t have a different perspective. And those conversations are so important to come together to explain to each other. Yeah, but this is the way we see it. And I think where the gold is, in this conversation, and this is what you’re talking about, here is the very next question of, alright, well, let’s explore this. What if so, in our company, what if is the best question that anyone could answer? Because rather than just shutting it down, it’s like, Well, okay, well, we’ll let’s discuss this, in my mind. Now, I might be thinking there’s not, you know, a snowflakes chance in hell of this coming together. But let’s just go What if and you never know what’s gonna come out of
Rhiannon Simcocks (27:07):
it? Oh, so many times, you get an idea calm, awesome feedback. And, you know, sometimes critical feedback is hard to hear. And so you know, your initial response can be to push it away or to, to try and rationalize it. That’s the worst thing you can do. Actually, you just need to completely remove your ego from the situation, and any preconceived ideas from the situation and assess it for what it is. It is Frank, honest, open feedback. And it’s an opportunity for improvement. And it should be taken as that. Yeah, it’s so important to make sure that you can be open and honest. And in fact, I actually think that the people who are more at our coalface in our organization, keep the rest of us in check with what actually is happening. Yeah, to be honest, yeah. You know, at executive level, yes, we’ve got these ideas. Yes, we, we’ve transformed the company, we’ve got this innovation, that’s well first, tick, tick, tick, we’re doing all the good things, right. But our company is only successful if our business owners within the network are successful. And I would be lying completely, if I was to say that I knew exactly what our business owners were thinking and feeling at all times. I absolutely don’t. And so it is really cool, that the people that work directly with our business owners, a feedback to us how they’re thinking how they’re feeling, and what’s going on, I recently delivered, we do a whole suite of training, when we onboard a new business owner, we train them for a week in business management and a week in practical training, you can imagine that it’s not the CEOs role to deliver that training. However, I just spent a few weeks down in Victoria delivering our business management training to some new team members in Victoria, the reason that I did that was because I rewrote the training like 12 months ago, that unless you deliver it unless you get to the coalface unless you have that experience of working directly with the business owners in the network, you don’t really get the feedback that you need in order to continue to improve it. You know, so there were parts of the training where I just sort of thought, Okay, well, we need to continue to improve that section. You know, we need to continue improvements there, because I haven’t nailed it. We haven’t nailed it. You know, it’s not adequately addressing actually the intelligence and the skills we need to be building in our network. And so you know, you really do need to take your ego out of it. There’s there’s nothing more destructive in an organization undergoing transformation than allowing your ego to get involved.
Samantha Riley (29:41):
100% 100% what you were talking about earlier, you know, coming up with these innovative ideas, and people are going to laugh, but what happens when they really push back?
Rhiannon Simcocks (29:56):
Oh, that’s the hard part, isn’t it? And we’ve got to learn to work through it because As I feel like there are so many people who have fantastic business ideas, and look, before I was working with James Holmes services, my background is management consulting. And so, you know, I spend a lot of my time with people coming to me with these fabulous ideas, saying, I’ve got this great idea. And where do I start? What do you do when the door gets slammed in your face? I’ve had, I’ve had so many doors slammed in my face in the last 10 years of my career, it’s not even funny. And it’s character building. Yeah. But it builds resilience. And you need that because they, you know, I’m going to continue to continue to get door slammed for the rest of my career. It’s pretty demoralizing at the time, but a door slammed is never a no, it’s an opportunity to follow a different pathway. That is mentally how you need to, to approach it. And you know, you need to have that mindset of, yes, you can be unhappy that the person that you’ve gone to, or that you know, the people that you’re speaking to, don’t yet see value in your idea. But you can’t just sit back and say, Oh, well, the ID doesn’t work, or Well, I’m not going to push this or they don’t see value. So you know, what, I’m just not going to do anything. Instead, it’s an invitation for a different pathway. So you need to put your thinking cap back on, how do I approach this differently? Did I adequately understand who I was pitching this idea to? Did I miss the mark? In my pitch? Did it just not resonate with that person? Do I not understand what their triggers are? Or what motivates them? What would you know? What do they need to hear from me to give them confidence in the idea? You know, it’s like, it’s marketing, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah. We’re marketing to a person pitching an idea is marketing. So you need to understand your audience.
Samantha Riley (31:36):
Yeah, we’re selling ourself. Absolutely. Yeah, totally, it’s critical.
Rhiannon Simcocks (31:39):
So you need to understand who it is that you’re pitching to, you need to look for other opportunities. If that door is slammed, in my case, you know, that the laugh that I got from the owners, you know, we’ve just been through two years of transformational change in our network. And I’d had the laugh before, you know, I remember one of the first things I said to the owners was, look, our brand is great, like, visually, our brand is fantastic. And we have a lot of residual brand value, having been around for now 30 years in this country. But I said to the book, it’s been probably 10 to 12 years, since we did a brand refresh, not a logo rebuild, not a complete color change, just a refresh, just modernizing our logo a little, just bringing it back into the 21st century. And I you know, I got a little door slam, I got a little note, the logo is fine, it’s lovely. Persistence is key, and demonstrating the value of the change is key. What does it look like? What does the change process look like? Who’s involved? What are the costs? But what, what is the end product? What is it? Like? What is it achieved? How do we present better in the marketplace, those sorts of thoughts all ran through my head. And so, you know, you just simply continue to go back to the table and offer more information to bring them on board. Same thing with the subscription model, you know, I sat on it for a little while, when I first launched it, and first got the initial little slam, I sat on it for a little while. And I really just thought, Okay, I need to do some more work on this idea. Because clearly what I was pitching was still under done as a concept as an idea, even though it was very early stages. And all I was really saying was, hey, could I have a go ahead to just do some more work on this, though, we’ll, I’m going to need to carve out some more of my time to do some more work on this. At a point you have to back yourself, you have to decide that you’re going to invest time in figuring this out and making it work. And so you go back and you do more modeling, and you do more research, and you learn more and you ask more. What if questions, that point you made earlier was perfect, because what I went back and did was I modeled out financially the what if you know what if we don’t do this was really what I’m all about, what if we don’t do this? What if we continue just to do what we’ve always been doing? Well, we end up nowhere very quickly. So it is about going back to the drawing board. Understand who you’re pitching your idea to find a different pathway. Clearly, you missed the mark initially. So you need to go back with more information or a different angle, or you need to do more research. There’s something that you’ve missed. And for me, persistence has always been key. Something that I think probably is one of my biggest strengths that has gotten me where I am is my resilience. And I’ve had a lot of doors slammed. And I generally I have a little personal rule. I give myself 24 hours to grieve 24 hours to be annoying to be frustrated to feel all of the emotions because this is I’m a human being Yeah, it’s real life. This is normal. You know, you’ve put your heart and soul into something you’ve put yourself on the line. You’ve presented something and it’s been a no. And you think well is it me? Have I done something that so I give myself 24 hours to be angry to blame everybody else to do to feel all have feelings. And then after 24 hours, I pick myself back up. And I say, right, what am I going to do to change the outcome? Because last time I tried this, I did not get the outcome I wanted. So now I need to do something different to change the outcome, you get out of bed every single day, and you do the same thing, you’re gonna get the same outcome. If you want to change the outcomes, if you want to change the path, if you want to change where you’re gonna get to eventually, you got to get out of bed each morning, and you got to do something different.
Samantha Riley (35:24):
Yeah, totally. You know, as you were talking through that, I was thinking that this is so relevant, not just for people that are pitching to other people. But a lot of what you talked about then is still really important, even if you’re running a business, and you’re the team of one. And that is like, you know, what is that idea? And what does it look like? It’s the research, it’s the forecasting, I think back to my first business, and I was in business with my wife is my ex husband now. But my husband, we were in business for 20 years. And he was sort of like more the back end of the business. And I was the front end, if that makes sense. I looked after the marketing, I looked after the team, he looked after the, you know, making sure that everything was paid, and all of that stuff that I don’t like doing. And I used to go to him and say, Hey, I’ve got this marketing idea, you know, blah, blah, blah. And he’d go to me, he was really good in the sense that he never ever shut down what I asked, but he always said, Cool, what does it look like? How much is it going to spend? What’s the ROI? What does it look like? And it was really good for me to go back and say, okay, yep, cool. Or I’d say, he’d say, well, what’s the budget? And I’d say, well, I need this much call, what’s the ROI? Like? What What are we gonna get for that? And it was really good foundations to understand that there is a reaction for every single thing that we do in our business. And, you know, you’re speaking from a CEO level, but there are people that are in still smaller businesses that just on a whim might go, Oh, I’m just going to do that marketing. Well hang on a minute. Is it going to the right people? What’s the message? What’s the outcome? What’s the forecast? What’s the expectations? You know, always asking yourself, What if this? What if this, what if this, and going through that process, and it will put you in good stead for when you do grow your team and when you do grow, to really understanding all of the mechanics that happen in business? Yes, spot
Rhiannon Simcocks (37:18):
on, you’ve got to be asking those tough questions. Even if it’s just you. There’s, there’s so many elements of what you just said that I could comment on, something that stands out is I think that you’ve really started to hit on a note of the difference between his hustle culture that we have, you know, start a business, get it going in two seconds flat, just work your ass off and just make something happen, versus exactly what you’re talking about, which is focus for impact. Yes. And understand what that impact is, understand, if you make a decision here, that the outcome is likely to be this, this or this. And you can control this entirely. If you understand what you’re doing back here at the start, you know, if you just go and simply I’m going to run a whole suite of Facebook ads, how effective do you think that’s gonna be pretty ineffective if you don’t understand exactly what impact you’re looking for? So focus for impact is critical. There’s also a big part of, you know, you have to back yourself, and you have to take risks. I’m often invited to speak to your 11 and 12 students in my local area about, you know, that life after high school kind of transition period. And how do you get from sitting in a chair during a high school exam when you’re 18, to CEO of a national company at 33? You know, what does that path look like? And it ain’t linear. Let me tell you it is anything but linear it there are so many new turns. And, you know, what do you do is no, that’s not even funny. But I think something that I tell anybody that I’m speaking to, particularly at that level, when they’re just kind of not sure, and they’re starting out, and also to anybody in business, by themselves, working really hard is that you have to back yourself in and you have to take risk. Reward comes when you take risks. I honestly think we probably have taken one of the biggest risks any franchise network in this country has taken in probably franchising history. I mean, we’re offering a subscription to business ownership. We get someone started in their business, we train them provide their equipment, we give them it. So we teach them everything they know, we hold their hand, we find them customers, we get them started in a business and then literally paying us 100 bucks a week. That’s
Samantha Riley (39:29):
insane. It’s amazing.
Rhiannon Simcocks (39:31):
It’s absolute. Well, it’s amazing from a consumers perspective of the fact that it’s so accessible to start your own business. But frankly, I must have the franchising industry looking at me going this woman is crazy, huh? absolute risk, right and it’s calculated risk and it is because my business owners whilst I initially got a laugh, you know, the next time I talked about the idea, I got those same questions that your ex husband was asking you, right, what is this look Like if we’re going to entertain this, what’s the ROI? What is the next five years look like? How much are we going to require to fund this? What’s it? What’s it going to mean for our network? How are we going to grow? How are we going to support them? How are you going to build a head office team that can support this? It’s all those questions that they needed answers to. And so the next time I talked to them, I had those answers, or at least I was on the way to developing answers and, and intelligence around that. And so the conversation was a very different one. And I will say, I’ve probably given them a little bit more of a harsh rap than anything else. Because, you know, whilst I say that, I love saying that I first got a lot of it’s, it’s a very in joke now, amongst our owners and I is if I ever say, Hey, guys, I’ve got an idea. Now, they just love anything. But at the same time, they very much acknowledge that now if I have an idea, they, they listen, and they ask all those questions, but they have an appetite for risk, they have an appetite for being bold and courageous, and making decisions that others might not, that’s innovative. Innovation is staring down risk. And being prepared to accept it. Even though it sits there, you know, understand it, plan for it, analyze it, but at the end of the day, we can’t do something that significantly changes the landscape in this industry without taking on an incredible amount of risk. That’s innovation. So you have to be prepared to accept risk. It has to be calculated, it has to be led by those hard questions. And you have to back yourself, there’s also just a point where you have to believe in yourself and your team. And you just have to say, guys, let’s go get this. This is ours. Let’s get it.
Samantha Riley (41:45):
Yeah, I love it so much. But I do want to go back to something you mentioned just a little while ago, which was this hustle. Because there’s a lot of people saying, you know, hustle culture is dead. And you know, you can have this business that’s, you know, from the words they use, you know, from a place of flow, which I actually think you can have with the hustle, my personal thought is there always does need to be some sort of hustle in business. And that I feel that by saying that there’s never any hustle. It’s setting people up for failure, because in business, there always is some sort of hustle. However, I’m not a big fan of just like chase your tail and just go fast. Because to me, that’s not hustle. And I think there’s the reason people don’t like the word is because it’s confused. That hustle just, you know, people think about just go Go, go, go, go, go go. How about I just let you take it because I want to hear you. I really want to hear your take on this.
Rhiannon Simcocks (42:47):
Yeah, hustle. Hustle is an interesting word. And I think I think you know that people are confused about what it means there’s one half of the equation that think that hustle means chase your tail. And you’re also right in that there is an element of hustle in business. There ain’t nothing 40 hours a week about my job. Let me tell you that much. You know, there’s hustle in my job, there’s hustle in everybody’s role in our head office team. However, there is purpose to that busyness. Yes, there is purpose. It is driven. It is calculated, it is defined. And it is for the purpose of achieving the bigger goal, which is sustainable, healthy growth in our network that provides more opportunity to everyday Australians to own their own business. I think honestly, there’s not a member of my head office team that does the bare minimum. Absolutely not my head office team are incredible people, they go above and beyond they are on the weekends, answering calls from members of our network, just all sorts of little questions that on the weekend just taking these calls. And on Monday when I’m talking to my team, they say I spoke to so and so on the weekend and I spoke to so and so and these guys have a little issue here. But I’ve dealt with it. It’s all good. Monday morning, and you’ve already done all of this. And at no point is there any negativity around this? They you know, they work so hard. And I think it comes down to what is the culture of your network. The culture of our network is that every single person in our head office team understand how their role supports our broader goals. And it’s very simple. Every single person in our team has a role in making sure our business owners are supported. It’s that simple. There’s a direct line between what every single person in our team does and supporting those, those franchisees on the ground. There’s hustling it, but it’s focused. And I think that that is where people go wrong. When I was management consulting, there were a lot of business owners that came to me and they were they were busier than they’ve ever been in their life. They thought that business ownership was going to be a bit of a hey, I want flexibility over my time. They ended up you know, pulling 60 7080 hour weeks trying to get this thing off the ground. But when you pare back their busyness, it is just as you started chasing tail. And it’s not focused something that someone said to me about seven years ago really excellent business mentor of mine focus for impact. Yeah. Because I was that person doing all of the things and not focusing on anything. Yeah.
Samantha Riley (45:15):
What is the outcome?
Rhiannon Simcocks (45:16):
That’s right, that changed. Honestly, to a degree, it’s changed my life, it’s changed how I approach things, it means I can be so much more effective with the time that I use. I can focus for impact, I can focus where I actually I’m going to see a return on the time that I spent invested in whatever I’m doing. Anyone in business needs to understand what return are they getting for that time? Yeah, just, you know, return on their marketing budget, not just a return on, you know, Facebook ads, or investing money over here or there or going down and doing this change? What is the return you’re getting on your time? Because if you’re, if you’re spending time, and you’re not seeing outcomes for that, it’s a project you don’t need to be spending time on anymore. that I feel is the hustle side of things that hold it just moved those wheels? No, don’t move the wheels in the right direction.
Samantha Riley (46:05):
Yeah. Love it. Love it. Love it. We’ve talked about a lot of things today. And it’s been such a fabulous conversation. But what will you leave our listeners with today in regard to innovation? Like what is something that they can walk away and start to think how can I innovate in my business?
Rhiannon Simcocks (46:25):
Probably two things to go back to what we spoke about very early on those two questions. Ask yourself every single day in business, these two questions and be prepared to be brutally honest with yourself, be prepared to give yourself a no. does the market want what I’m offering? If yes, why aren’t they buying from me? Those two questions are critical. The other thing that I will say yes, there is no problem. That is solution. Plus, that is one of my favorite sayings right now. And I went ahead of his team member comes to me and says, Oh, we might have a little issue. I say, excellent. What is it because there’s no problem that solution list, there is nothing that can’t be solved, whether you are in a multinational company or whether you are just you yourself and I and you are doing it, there is no problem that is solution. Plus, all you got to do is you got to unpack what you’re looking at. And you have to think creatively. Innovation is hard and it’s risky. And it’s taking the uncertain path. It’s being very uncomfortable at night. It’s so it’s not being able to sleep. If you’re, you know, if you’re in that zone of discomfort, then you’re probably on the right track to a degree. So yeah, ask yourself those two questions in your business every day. And always, always approach everything you do with the mindset that there is no problem that is solutionless.
Samantha Riley (47:47):
Rhiannon, thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing your wisdom and your value bombs. It’s been an absolute pleasure to chat with you. I love how much passion you’ve gotten everything you do. And just, I know that you are set up for huge things in the future with the way that you think and it’s been fabulous to have a little insight into your brain today.
Rhiannon Simcocks (48:09):
Well, Samantha, thank you so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure chatting to you about all things innovation. Thank you.
Samantha Outro (48:15):
Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Influence By Design podcast. If you want more head over to influencebydesignpodcast.com for the show notes and links to today’s gifts and sponsors. And if you’re looking to connect with other experts who are growing and scaling their business to join us in the coaches, thought leaders, and changemakers community on Facebook, the links are waiting for you over at influencebydesignpodcast.com