Why Company Culture Determines Success | Franchise Secrets

Recently we had Cameron Herold on the Franchise Story Podcast, and not only did I have a great time chatting with him, but I also learned a lot about how he values company culture and how he has worked to build the right culture for businesses he’s worked with.

We talked about the company culture of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in particular, but I believe that these lessons are very transferable — meaning that you can put them to work for your business or franchise at every level.

Cameron shared a lot with me and our listeners, and I simply can’t cover it all in this post! To get the full experience, I highly recommend you listen to the podcast in entirety. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Who is Cameron Herold

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Cameron Herold, he’s an impressive individual. His family raised him with a very entrepreneurial spirit, which stuck with him so much that he went on to give a TED Talk about raising children to become entrepreneurs in 2014. By age 21 he was running a very successful College Pro Painters franchise, and went on to work in their head office starting more wildly successful franchises. After cutting his teeth there, he went on to help build Boyd Autobody into the number one collision repair chain in the world.

In his 30’s, Cameron helped build two multi-million dollar companies. He would then take what he learned from all of his experience and by the time he turned 42 he used that knowledge to take 1-800-GOT-JUNK? from a $2 million company and transformed it into a powerhouse, earning over $100 million in revenue. He’s gone on to write incredible books, has become a wildly successful business coach, and helps hundreds achieve their dreams of building businesses.

Many of you probably know about 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. On the surface, it’s exactly what it says it is — a junk removal service — but there’s a lot more to what has made that business successful. Cameron engineered explosive growth for the company by making critical changes to the company’s vision and culture, and he shared with us just how important those changes really were.

Recently we had Cameron Herold on the Franchise Story Podcast, and not only did I have a great time chatting with him, but I also learned a lot about how he values company culture and how he has worked to build the right culture for businesses he’s worked with.

We talked about the company culture of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in particular, but I believe that these lessons are very transferable — meaning that you can put them to work for your business or franchise at every level.

Cameron shared a lot with me and our listeners, and I simply can’t cover it all in this post! To get the full experience, I highly recommend you listen to the podcast in entirety. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Who is Cameron Herold

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Cameron Herold, he’s an impressive individual. His family raised him with a very entrepreneurial spirit, which stuck with him so much that he went on to give a TED Talk about raising children to become entrepreneurs in 2014. By age 21 he was running a very successful College Pro Painters franchise, and went on to work in their head office starting more wildly successful franchises. After cutting his teeth there, he went on to help build Boyd Autobody into the number one collision repair chain in the world.

In his 30’s, Cameron helped build two multi-million dollar companies. He would then take what he learned from all of his experience and by the time he turned 42 he used that knowledge to take 1-800-GOT-JUNK? from a $2 million company and transformed it into a powerhouse, earning over $100 million in revenue. He’s gone on to write incredible books, has become a wildly successful business coach, and helps hundreds achieve their dreams of building businesses.

Many of you probably know about 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. On the surface, it’s exactly what it says it is — a junk removal service — but there’s a lot more to what has made that business successful. Cameron engineered explosive growth for the company by making critical changes to the company’s vision and culture, and he shared with us just how important those changes really were.

Getting started at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

When Cameron got involved with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, he didn’t know anything about junk removal, but do you know what he did know and understand? How to grow franchises.

His first step? Raising prices by 50 percent! It sounds drastic and maybe even a little crazy, but there’s a method to the madness. By charging bargain basement pricing no one made any money, and there was no cash left over to reinvest in the business. While some franchisees doubted this plan, Cameron stuck to his guns.

Raising Prices Means Changing Mindsets

So why did this work? On a very superficial level it doesn’t seem like it should, but 1-800-GOT-JUNK? was — and still is — a tremendous success. It wasn’t just charging more money, but what they did with that money. At its heart, the business became about providing the absolute best customer service in the business, with the cleanest trucks, friendliest workers, and delivering on promises.

With this mindset change, it changed the business for everyone involved. The leveraged PR to show how they not only removed junk, but kept as much of it out of landfills as possible. They became the “clean” junk removal service.

Employees didn’t simply show up for a job anymore; they provided a valuable service. They became part of the vision. Employees, managers, and franchisees who wouldn’t get with the program, or refused to adopt a positive mindset in regards to service were replaced by individuals committed to making it work. The result? Customer loyalty grew, and that brought in new business.

How Cameron’s Experience Can Help You

The thing I want you all to realize is that Cameron’s experience with 1-800-GOT-JUNK? isn’t a one-time thing. These steps apply to almost every business and franchise. Let me break it down for you…

The first thing Cameron did was raise prices by 50 percent. By increasing the pricing model, the franchises could afford to pay employees better, which meant that employees were more willing to invest into the company’s new vision.

Raising prices also changed the public perception of the company. Did they lose out on some customers because of higher prices? Probably, but the customers they gained and retained received a much higher quality of service. As a result, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? became seen as a higher-end service — think Starbucks instead of gas station coffee. This meant that people were willing to pay the higher price, because it came with greater value.

The Vivid Vision

For all of this to work you have to have the vivid vision, and so does your team. Cameron dives into this little deeper in the podcast but to put it briefly, the vivid vision is a description of what your company looks and feels like three years in the future. You describe the future state of your company, so that every single one of your employees can look at this vision and align themselves with it. That puts everyone working in the same direction, from the CEO to the custodian — everyone is working towards the same vision. That’s the first real step to building a company culture that works.

The Value of Company Culture

Building your company culture is key. You can have all the goals in the world, a strong business model, and a product or service that people love, but it’s the company culture with a shared vision that makes everything work. No matter where you’re at within the company — working at the head office, managing franchises, becoming a franchisee yourself, or even just working at one of the franchises — if the company culture supports a shared vision that embraces your employees, growth will follow.

Just as important as the vivid vision is at building company culture, so too is getting rid of people who don’t subscribe to that vision. I know that sounds cold and callous to a lot of you, but the fact of the matter is that if they’re not contributing to your vision, they’re detracting from it. Would you allow someone’s negativity to keep you from succeeding?

Get rid of Anything Toxic or Negative

You’ll recognize these people. They’re always negative, they make excuses, and they don’t deliver results. We’re not talking about people who need more training — these are individuals who have had the opportunity to get on board with the vision and have simply decided against it. They don’t want to get on the same page as the company culture, and in the long run that won’t be productive. You can’t just leave the bad fruit on the vine, because it will have a detrimental effect on the entire harvest.

Cameron had to deal with his fair share of them in the first few years at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. Under his direction, they got rid of the negative franchisees. They replaced toxic individuals with positive, motivated people who really subscribed to the company culture and shared vision. Do you know what happened? These territories — which negative franchisees claimed were terrible areas for business, with no customers — became some of the best territories in the entire franchise. It showed exactly what positivity and subscribing to the company culture could do.

So when you have the vision, you’ve got the right people on board, and you’ve created a company culture that shares the vision and works on every level of the business, you’re almost there. When you talk to Cameron, from there it becomes about building more than just a business. What does that mean?

Give Them Something to Believe in

Cameron refers to it as building more than a business, but less than a religion. In fact, when you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear him use the word “cult” over and over again. I know we tend to have negative connotations when we hear the term, but what we’re talking about here is an incredibly positive thing. The cult that Cameron discusses isn’t a sinister obsession — far from it! When he talks about building a cult around your business, he’s talking about loyalty and devotion. That’s what you want.

You want your customers to become loyal fans. Every time they need or want what you offer, you want them to run straight to you without even thinking of anyone else. You get that by developing this incredibly positive cult in your business. How do you make that happen? By getting your employees invested into the positive cult you’re creating — getting them to buy into what you’re building.

It’s your vivid vision and company culture made manifest.

Once you’ve done that your employees aren’t just showing up for a paycheck — you’ve created a vision, culture, and employee community that they absolutely believe in. They actually care, and when you look around you at tons of businesses that are out there now, so few people actually care about their work.

Too Many Employees Don’t Care

Why is that? Cameron knows the answer — it’s because so many companies do it backwards. Their number one priority is revenue. They focus on revenue, profits, and the customer. None of that is inherently bad, but with zero focus on the employee they get left out of the vision and the culture doesn’t embrace them. So they don’t have loyalty and they don’t have the urge to go above and beyond to truly serve the customer.

Don’t do things backwards!

Of course you should focus on customer satisfaction, but when you obsess over the welfare and happiness of employees, they buy in to the vision and culture. In turn, they obsess about the customer’s happiness and satisfaction. They become the ambassadors for the cult of your business.

If your employees knows that you will take care of them, they will absolutely strive to take care of your customer, and that’s when the big growth happens and where the real profits come in. Especially now, with millenials, Gen Z, and Gen Y in the workforce, you don’t see the kind of driven loyalty that you do from company’s the Cameron works with, and that should tell you something.

This Approach Drives Success

For those of you who hesitate to take this approach, remember that this isn’t random advice. Cameron used everything in this article to take 1-800-GOT-JUNK? from another junk hauler to the number two ranked company to work for in Canada, and twice ranked as the number one company to work for in Canada. This is the junk business — not traditionally a sexy industry — but they built this cult around the company and when the growth happened, the press focused on that cult and it attracted people like a magnet.

That’s what you want! You want to build your company culture in such a way that it attracts people — both customers and employees! What does this mean if you’re not running the franchise from the top up? If you are the franchisee, this means that you need to buy in and support the company culture. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel — if there’s a better way to do things, don’t worry they will let you know.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement, so don’t automatically dismiss any ideas you — or your employees or franchisees — may have. But if you aren’t following the formula for success that the company and the culture has provided, then your idea is completely untested. Before anything else, fully embrace the vision, culture, and formula for success.

In other words, buy into the cult. Remember, the company wants you — and all of the franchisees — to succeed. That’s part of the goal of franchising. So when they provide you the tools to do so, you need to use them. The most important tools they’ll provide, however, are the vision and culture, because they guide everything else.

Cameron gave me a lot of other insights, but if you come away from the podcast remembering, the importance of vision, culture, and team you’ll have learned a lesson straight from Cameron Herold’s coaching toolbelt.

To get the most out of this insight — and tons more — I highly recommend you check out the full episode of the podcast. We dive deeper into vision, culture, and team-building, as well as the power of PR, leadership development, the power of executive assistants, and much more.

Check it out now!