If it Feels Right, Just Do it, Rapid Refill President Advises
The trouble for Rapid Refill began when the recession hit “and a lot of businesses stopped printing,” recalls Lori Kiser-Block, president and co-owner of the Minneapolis-based franchise.
“Overnight our franchisees’ business was cut in half. Big problem,” she told the audience at a recent Franchise Business Network gathering about leading a franchise system through change.
Rapid Refill focuses on refilling and retail sales of inkjet and laser toner cartridges for printers, copiers and fax machines. Kiser-Block’s strategy, among other things, was to encourage their franchisees to move out from the back of the store to get in front of customers—a long process that they tackled through a number of tactics.
For example, she instituted “30-minute Thursdays,” in which Kiser-Block would lead an open-microphone call for all franchisees, and if it was time to bring up a sensitive topic, she’d ask one of her supportive and credible franchisees to lead it.
Another tactic: they focused on the top third of performers, and enlisted them to help bring the middle and bottom thirds along.
She says a key indicator of their success is coming up, as many franchisees are nearing their 10-year renewal mark. The number of franchisees that renew will let her know how they’ve been doing.
Her lesson learned: “As an owner and a leader, if it feels right and you have the experience to do it, then just do it. Don’t let somebody talk you out of it,” she advises.