Success is a curious thing…

Why do some people “easily” find success while others always travel hard-luck lane? Maybe it’s because success is often attributed to physical advantages like being born with a silver spoon or rubbing elbows with the right connections. This short-sighted approach causes us to overlook the mindset of successful individuals. As Florence Nightingale said,

I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.

You can find thousands of similar quotes from the most successful people because mental fortitude can make or break you. Let’s look a little deeper.

The Franchise Microcosm

When it comes to an unobjective study of success, look no further than the franchisor – franchisee (and even licensees) business structure. This structure provides each individual an optimal chance of success via identical programs that have been vetted, tested and proven to work.  Because of this, franchisees and licensees have a better chance of success versus other start-up companies.  However, you can still witness failures within a franchise system. From an outside perspective it appears everyone has an equal chance of success, but does looking inward – psychology and the internal “gotta wanna” – paint the real picture?

[Note: Obviously, economic downturns and other aspects can be at play here, but for the majority of the situations, franchise programs are proven to work when the ideal locations are chosen.]

Looking Within

At PFSbrands, to look deeper into our franchisee relationship, we use the Net Promoter Score (NPS). I’m sure you’ve seen one before. It’s almost impossible these days to use any service without receiving a questionnaire that goes something like this:

How likely are you to recommend our services to a friend (1-10 with 10 being highly recommend)?

This is followed by an open ended question to explain your choice. These two short and simple questions make up the Net Promotor Score. NPS is the preeminent business metric used to determine customer satisfaction and experience. It provides us with invaluable knowledge when it comes to how well we are treating our customers and it is a great way to compare top franchisees to ones that are struggling.

It’s staggering the differences in NPS scores. Why would stores that gives us a 7 – 10 NPS continually have some of the highest gross revenue while stores that give us low marks have very low gross revenue? They both have the same levels of support (Business Developers, Business Advisors, Customer Success, Marketing, Print Shop, Logistics…etc.), products, marketing…etc. First, let’s look at a few comments provided by those that ranked us higher via NPS.

Successful Businesses

PFSbrands was ranked with an NPS score of 7+ by over 80% of all respondents. Those are some pretty stellar numbers. Here’s a few comments we have received from these respondents:

Product is wonderful and everyone loves our chicken!”

Good support and involved and help with signage and special deals for store big orders”

“Proven quality food and sales people.”

“Quality product, quality people. Always there to help you when you need it. They listen to their customers and are willing to make changes in order to continually improve product, etc.”

The Ones Falling Behind

PFSbrands was ranked with an NPS score of 3 or less by 8% of respondents. Here’s a few comments we received:

Poor communication; said he hasn’t heard from BA and not doing the sandwich…”

“Refusal to remit MDF funds because my store is not in brand alignment or whatever you guys call it. I’ve done my best to represent the brand well, but ran into financially difficulty…”

“Had to shut system down not selling in our store. Not enough signage.”

Digging Deeper

You’ll notice in the comments from the lower scores, the blame is passed around with words such as “I’ve”, “you guys” and “he”….etc. while in our better scores you read about the collaborative aspects of the program. Another difference is the contradictory nature of the comments. While over 80% of respondents have indicated their approval of the program with many mentioning our amazing support, a few comments from the 8% indicate the exactly opposite – the lack of support. This doesn’t add up. Are we purposely ignoring those 8% and providing shoddy support? Considering we’ve built our name on support, obviously not. That just doesn’t make sense.  We are committed to success and we WANT TO HELP.  If a retailer will COMMIT to trusting us, we will do everything possible to make our retailers more successful.

Implementing Best Practices

At PFSbrands we have 5 levels of support. There is no excuse for a retailer to ever complain about a lack of support, poor communication, not enough signage… etc. It just doesn’t make business sense to not reach out to our staff when they need something. If your house was burning down would you wait for the fire department to randomly show up or get on the phone and call them?

It is not the program’s fault for lack of success. We know the program works. Ultimately, success is dependent upon the retailer’s commitment and engagement in conjunction with cooperation with PFSbrands. It’s all about stepping up with a higher commitment level and taking accountability. When we both step up to the plate, we can improve these scores, our relationships and both of our financials.


This brings us back to why some customers rate us as a 10 and others rank us as a 0.  Do they need to look in the mirror and take ownership for their lack of success? We are working very hard to help anyone who is struggling and will continue to do so – we need both parties giving their all.

When retailers take it upon themselves to improve their own circumstances and work together with a team that wants more than anything for them to be successful, success will meet them at their doorstep. To be successful with a PFSbrands program, you MUST be willing to commit to following the systems and processes we have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars developing.  By utilizing the ample tools they have at their disposal, we can help them create a winning plan that they must take upon themselves to implement. Trust us, the harder they work, the more luck [success in this case] they’ll seem to find (thanks Thomas Jefferson for the quote).

So for everyone out there, what are you going to attribute your success to? Excuses or action?

One thought on “Is Commitment and Willingness to Learn a Formula for Business Success?”

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