“Home Away From Home” to “Home Sweet Home”: Lessons Learned Transitioning From Hospitality to Home Services
Coming from the hospitality industry, I knew far more about the concept of a “home away from home” than I did about “home sweet home” when I first started with Neighborly. In fact, I was entering into an industry I had almost no experience in when I made the career shift and was nervous I wouldn’t be able to succeed in this new space.
I came to find, however, that many of my experiences from hospitality carried over into my new role in home service. One year after joining the Neighborly team, I can confidently say I’ve come to understand how switching to a new industry has ultimately elevated my knowledge of franchise development and pushed me to achieve success, and I want to share the lessons I’ve learned along the way…
Relationships Trump Riches
Building strong relationships with franchise owners is critical to overall success, and I witnessed this firsthand in hospitality. But home service presents a different challenge, as many franchise owners start with little to no experience in the franchising space. Having entered into the unknown myself when starting with Neighborly, I have the privilege and the ability to connect with franchise owners to better understand what they need on a deeper level. I learned that it isn’t always about the money, but instead supporting a franchise owner’s desire to be heard, valued, and respected, no matter their background.
I also gained a deeper perspective on how franchising in home service can benefit potential owners and help them as they transition into the field. For example, home service franchising has far fewer barriers to entry than hospitality franchising, with lower minimum capital required to start a franchise. There is also a shorter timeline to close franchise agreements and a strong emphasis to use franchise consultants to drive lead generation.
Education is Key
While I certainly entered the home services industry with useful skills and experiences, the transition didn’t come without its challenges. I didn’t yet understand the industry dynamics and jargon, but had more than 30 brands to familiarize myself with. I learned the value of educating myself beyond the broad topic of franchise development, focusing my attention on the specific niche of franchising in the home service space. I read about the industry and found mentors to provide valuable insights which helped me tremendously.
In hospitality, I learned the basics of analytics, and as I deepen my understanding of the topic, I’ve become equipped to create target markets for Neighborly’s brands. My experience learning from an executive team has also helped me build relationships with Neighborly's growth team on future prospects. Expanding on my knowledge and adapting what I learned in hospitality to home services has played a critical part in my success at Neighborly.
Lead with Integrity
Through navigating the challenges that come with an industry change, my approach to leadership and business naturally changed as well. My leadership approach is now focused on motivating and inspiring team members to reach their fullest potential, utilizing speaking opportunities such as panels and podcasts to reach an audience outside the company as well.
I am now more determined than ever to increase awareness of diversity and inclusion, doing my part to ensure the business landscape continues to be as inclusive as possible. My time in hospitality taught me to always operate with a high level of integrity, and ensure that business dealings are good for both the franchisor and the individual franchise owner. Neighborly’s dedication to helping franchise owners and commitment to continuously finding ways to improve has only reinforced that lesson.
Ditch the Comfort Zone
Entering a new field pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and I am less afraid to try new and out-of-the-box ideas to drive performance. The industry shift also reminded me that franchise owners are just people and have struggles in life like everyone, so it’s important to be empathetic and know when to step back, regardless of how it may impact development production.
The transition has improved my leadership and thinking skills, and I can better serve Neighborly and our franchise owners because of it. If you’re looking for a career change, I encourage you to not be intimidated to learn about a different industry. If you have key characteristics of a great business owner, the rest will fall into place. It isn’t easy to take the leap into a new industry, but reflecting on our experiences and applying what we learn in the process is what gives us the confidence to try something new, and grow personally and professionally as a result.
To learn more about franchising with Neighborly, contact us today!
Written By Brian Woods, Group VP, Franchise Development, Neighborly on LinkedIn