As an entrepreneur, visualization and forming ideas comes naturally to me, what I’ve had to learn was about implementation and the importance of follow through. But at the same time, I recognize now that there are other people who are good at that part of the process and I can turn some of those responsibilities over to others.

The Long Road to Becoming a Franchise

When I defined my five-year Strategic Objective in the Mastery program, I knew I wanted to expand, but I wasn’t aiming to franchise my business. But goals change and you have to be flexible. About a year into the program, I realized that the franchise plan was the right path for me. I realized that I wanted ownership of the brand.To insure consistent quality we wanted the control, the ongoing fee supports continual improvement, and the TopKick name will signify quality and value.

I also realized that although I definitely wanted to build a franchise, I didn’t want to do it on my own. So in 2008 we started working with the iFranchise Group. It was important to me to go about building this franchise the right way, and it’s taken a long time to do. But like I said, business is always changing and we’re constantly developing new systems and new ways of doing things so when we put together our operations manual, we had to do a lot of revisions. Thankfully, iFranchise was very supportive during the times we had to put plans on hold.

As of September 2010, we are officially registered as a franchisor in Maryland and Virginia. We’re now in the process of turning all five of our units—who are currently licensees—into franchisees.

All our units are doing well and growing despite the economy, and we’re feeling confident about strategic growth in 2011. It’s a very exciting time for us.

Another TopKick Business Owner

Click here to read about Tu Le, a Mastery Program client, student of Master Cassidy and a TopKick business owner.

If you’re a business person who’s working 40 hours a week, the Mastery program pulls you away from it enough to see that maybe you don’t want to work like that.

In 1995, I was 24 years old and I had the opportunity to buy a martial arts school from the Master I was originally training with. The school was a year old when I took it over, and at the time the monthly revenue was about the same as the rent so I quickly realized that I needed to institute some things that would keep us afloat. For many years I ran it as a one-man operation. I was the teacher, the one enrolling the students, answering phones, cleaning… all of the technical roles of the business.

By 2003, things had improved and the business had expanded. We’d opened another location, which my wife was running. Although they were only a few miles apart, and each location was relatively successful, they were running differently, from how we enrolled to how we graduated students to how we taught class. I had the opportunity to sell the second location outright in 2004 and I went for it.

It was then that I really started evaluating systems. I recognized that I needed a scalable and transferable business model. I’d cleaned my slate so I had only one business to work on. I had plans to expand but I wanted to focus on my business. I wanted to work on the business from the outside; and I became intrigued with the idea of the franchise prototype. That’s what led me to E-Myth.

The Catalyst for Change

By March of 2005 I’d removed myself from some of the technical roles, I was not teaching but I was still working full time at the school and I decided to attend an E-Myth Leadership Intensive seminar. On the way back from the seminar, I found out my wife was pregnant with our first child. It suddenly dawned on me that I didn’t want to be working at a Martial Arts school until 10:00 at night though I wanted to continue to provide my family a financially stable lifestyle. I needed to figure out how to design my life and then design my business around my life.

It wasn’t until I enrolled in the E-Myth Mastery Program that I realized how many hats I was wearing in my business. It helped me understand what it really takes to design a business, and approach all the functional areas from a business perspective. It really defined systems for me and gave me a solid understanding of the structure and backbone of business. And although I’d been to a lot of seminars and events, the Mastery Program was my first experience working with a business coach. Having that accountability, having somebody to check in with was really good for me.

When you commit to working on your business, it makes you realize how much more work there is to do. By embracing the E-Myth approach, you end up discovering where you are and where you want to be… and the steps you need to take to get there. It’s not an overnight process; it’s a journey.


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