Nick Friedman is the President and Co-Founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving, the largest and fastest-growing US-based junk removal and moving franchise opportunity, and a member of EO Central Florida. He also co-authored the best-selling book Effortless Entrepreneur with his business partner.
Revenue growth is one of the innate drivers of motivation for entrepreneurs. It is a measurement by which companies are graded and recognized. It is the measurement by which Inc. Magazine ranks its list of 5000 fastest growing privately held US companies. However, there is a saying among savvy business owners, that "revenue is vanity, profit is sanity, and cash flow is king." For our company, revenue growth has been more of a secondary goal, with our primary goal being to improve our franchisees' profitability and satisfaction, and to improve our internal company culture, and external client loyalty. By focusing our metrics on three non-revenue-specific drivers of our business, the company continued to flourish. Zappos' Tony Hsieh is often quoted as saying, "Don't chase the money, chase the dream," and it's true that if you lay out a viable vision for your brand, the money will come.
The success and longevity of our business model is based on selling franchises and growing our franchise network. As our franchisees are essentially investors in a common enterprise, which is the College Hunks Hauling Junk brand, it was critical that the first focus for our business the past three years be to improve our franchisee's profitability and satisfaction. In 2011, we had just come out of a devastating recession. Our existing franchisees were battered but not beaten, and we knew that if we were going to dust ourselves off from the recession and create a long-lasting successful brand, we needed to produce successful franchise owners. We dedicated time, focus, and resources to ensuring that our franchisees could not only be successful financially but also fulfilled professionally and personally by being part of our network. The results were significant, as franchisees became more engaged in executing their business models, and their revenues doubled annually for the next three years.
Next, we focused on company culture, which helped attract high quality team members to bring our company vision to fruition. We established our long-term brand vision of becoming the Starbucks of the moving and hauling industry, and declared our long-term vision to "Move the World" by bringing back the American Dream and becoming a launch pad of entrepreneurship. We also conducted Jim Collins' "mission to mars" exercise to determine our company's core values, which we use as a filter for our hiring and firing decisions. By developing a vision and set of core values, we were able to attract talented, motivated, and loyal team members which further contributed to the company's rapid growth.
Lastly, we focused on our customer service experience. Because our business is primarily transactional (i.e. not subscription based), we rely heavily on word-of-mouth, repeat and referral business. Our moving and hauling industry is a very large industry, but it is one that is very fragmented, which makes it rife with opportunity. Most service companies assume that customer service is "common sense," but we made it a primary focus of training as well as an ongoing rewards and recognitions effort. As a result, our customer "Net Promoter Score" increased to well above "world-class" status, surpassing even Apple's.
By focusing on those three areas, we increased revenues and profitability. New franchise locations, as well as better financial performance of our franchisees, led to 324% revenue growth. The roll-out of multiple services, which include junk removal, as well as full-service moving and labor services, are among the reasons our franchisees continue to see remarkable success. But by focusing on our franchisee satisfaction and profitability, our internal company culture, and our client experience, we were able to generate more business and therefore more revenue that landed us on the Inc. 5000 list once again. Most importantly, it lays the foundation for our continued growth.