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Why innovation is the key to sustainable business

Rune Sovndahl - Fantastic Services Co-founder

Running a business is no easy thing.  For the past 18 years, I’ve been on that journey of entrepreneurship. A journey filled with buzzwords like MVPs, scaling, growth, hustle, work-life balance and whatever else fake gurus say on YouTube to sound fancy.

And let me tell you, it’s a tough path to be on. The world really does not care about you, your business, your dreams and what you want. One second you’re on top of the world, and on the very next there’s a global pandemic happening and all of a sudden what you worked so hard and so long for can crumble in front of you.Unless you were running a Big Pharma company, you know what I’m talking about. I’m not a fake guru, I don’t sell courses.

I sell franchises.

For the past decade, my business partner and I have built Fantastic Services from just us two working from a sofa to a business operating on three continents and spanning a franchise network of over 500 partners and 2,000 professionals operating under our brand in the UK, Australia and the US. We dared to be different and to deliver extra value for our customers and that is why we have focused on building a franchise business.

And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned during these 18 years it’s to always stay on top of the latest trends. You don’t have to go all-in on them, but it’s your responsibility as a business owner to understand and explore them.

Trends keep the world moving forward and your business is very much part of that world.

There are two types of businesses in this world. Category creators and everyone else. The difference between the two is that category creators will always be the leaders in terms of market share. Why? Because they create their own markets.

And I’m speaking from experience, Fantastic Services was the first company to launch End of Tenancy cleaning, with one car and one team. It wasn’t a revolutionary service by any means, but it was a convenient service that no other cleaning company offered. Right now it’s the bread and butter of the company.

Furthermore, we were the very first company in the UK to offer real-time booking. A decade later every other property maintenance company offers online requests. But we were the first and our software is the best there is, automating everything, leaving for our clients to simply choose their service, type in their address, personalize the service, and voila, you’ve got it scheduled in less than 3 minutes.

We took this approach of designing our own category in the franchise part of our business as well. Six years since we onboarded our very first franchisee, Fantastic Services has created a model just as revolutionary as McDonald’s was back in the 50s.

We’re riding the wave of sustainability because sooner or later it’ll become a tsunami.

For the past decade, sustainability became somewhat of a buzzword in the business community. But unlike most buzzwords, this one really matters. It does because we owe it to ourselves and our children to build sustainable businesses.

And it’s not just about ecology. Being green is just part of the solution. When we designed the franchise model for Fantastic Services we did so with everyone in mind. Our goal is to provide everyone with the opportunity to run their own business, be happy and satisfied with the work they do in this world.
That’s why we crafted three separate franchise types to suit all.

One for the people who love to do the job themselves, and it’s an affordable entry to the franchise world, whether it’s gardening or cleaning or removals. Another for people who want to run a small enterprise and still have a calm and sustainable business. They don’t necessarily want to do the job themselves so they’re the managers who focus on helping their employees get better at the services they deliver. And finally, we offer an opportunity to people born with that entrepreneurial spirit who want to revolutionize the way people receive services. Our area development and master franchising opportunities offer just that — an equal opportunity to have financial freedom and be on top of your life.

Because business is so much more than just making money.

It’s about giving back to the community and the people around you.

Furthermore, business is about innovating. I’ve always thought that if you don’t innovate and reinvent as a business you’ll eventually die.

Businesses that accept innovation at their core thrive. And you don’t have to be the next Facebook or Amazon to innovate. Thinking this is just an excuse to not try something new and bold. All you need in order to innovate is to improve something around you that’s causing you trouble in your day to day operations.

Let me give you an example: in 2018 we were dealing with London traffic like every other London-based business. It was hell, our professionals had to constantly stress about arriving on time. Well, we can’t control how Londoners commute, but we can adjust how we do it. That’s why we developed our backend system that handles all our bookings to assign the jobs closest to our franchisees and their teams. With the help of AI and real-time GPS, we can also assign the fastest route for each job. This ended up saving us around 30,000 miles travelled in 2019 alone!

To wrap this up, I have to say that innovation should be at the core of any sustainable company.

Business is in essence marketing, innovation and operational work when you really boil it down to the basics. Now, we believe we’ve created a system that gives people the opportunity to focus on the operational, day-to-day stuff, like making sure your customers are happy with the job you do.

However, the real power of a franchise comes when you support these people with what big businesses do — know-how, operations, marketing, and innovation. This really levels the playing field for small business owners. It means that they no longer have to fear if they’ll go out of business because a big-name company has expanded operations to their area.

Innovate. Shamelessly and fearlessly. Make one thing better today. It doesn’t have to be big, you just have to start, the small changes are the ones we make now, and a decade later they naturally grow.

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Why innovation is the key to sustainable business

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