How to Have Fun and Get More Done—Angela Coté, CEO, AC Inc.

Are you having fun running your business? Is your team having fun? Do you show it? Today’s guest, Angela Coté shares how she makes sure her team and clients are having fun while getting things done!

Today’s 3 Key Takeaways:
1. Have a simple template to enhance your coaching and support.
2. Gain buy-in with your coaching and support.
3. Create a brand foundation by clarifying what your company stands for.

Today’s Win-Win: 
Get More Done While You’re Having Fun! 

Show Links:

Angela Coté, the CEO and visionary behind AC Inc, grew up with M&M Food Market, the iconic Canadian brand which she helped grow to almost 500 franchised locations. She has done everything from dressing up as “Kelly Kabob” as a child to helping train franchisees. As the boss’s daughter in the field, Angela learned a lot about what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to getting franchisees engaged and motivated to grow their business.

After many years on the franchisor side of the franchise relationship, Angela successfully brought the M&M Food Market brand to Vancouver Island, opening the first 3 franchises in less than 1.5 years and building them into a combined asset valued at more than $1.5 million.

Angela eventually launched AC Inc and began working with early staged franchisors who needed help with where to focus their time, energy, and money for streamlined growth. Angela’s strong vision for disrupting the franchise industry with actionable, simple, and effective advice from people who really ‘get’ it has created a motivated and inspired team.

If you are ready to talk about franchising your business you can schedule your free, no-obligation, franchise consultation online at: https://bigskyfranchiseteam.com/ or by calling Big Sky Franchise Team at: 855-824-4759. 

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:01):

You’ve worked hard to build your business and now it’s time to grow. Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team and a serial entrepreneur. We have such a fun guest with us today. Her name is Angela Cote and to get things started with our question of the day is what are you doing to have more fun in what you do every day? Are you creating a fun environment for your staff, for your team, for your people that are part of what you’re building? Well, Angela Cote, our guest today talks about this in our interview and she talks about the idea of getting more done while you’re having fun. In fact, it’s one of her core values. It’s really cool. Angela is the CEO and visionary behind AC Inc. She grew up with the M and M food market, which is an iconic Canadian brand, which she helped grow to almost 500 franchise locations.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:06):

She’s done everything from dressing up as Kelly Kebab, as a child to helping train franchisees. As the boss’s daughter in the field, she learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to getting franchisees engaged and motivated to grow their business.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:23):

Now, she also built in and grew her own franchises in the brand as well into thriving enterprises. She has now launched AC Inc, where she works with early stage franchisors who need help to focus their time, energy, and money for streamlined growth. Angela’s strong vision for disrupting the franchise industry with actionable, simple, and effective advice from people who really get it, has created a motivated and inspired team. Angela is full of energy. You are going to want to listen all the way through. Her enthusiasm is contagious. So, please enjoy my interview with Angela Cote.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (02:05):

My name is Angela Cote and I am a franchise growth catalyst and my company is Angela Cote Inc.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:11):

Tell us about Angela Cote Inc and what you’re doing.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (02:15):

Sure. Well, first of all, I have to say, it’s always really funny when I go to conferences and then people look… Well used to go to conferences, virtual now, but in the past with the name badge, people would sort of look at my name badge and go, and who are you with? I’m like, “I’m with Angela Cote Inc.” So, I’d have to explain it. So, yeah. I can give you a little bit of background. I think I’ll go all the way back to 1980 if that’s okay. So, yeah, I grew up with a franchise company that my dad founded back in 1980, called M and M food market. So, I was five at the time when he started it. I sometimes feel like a broken record when I tell this story, but I can’t change it because it’s the history, it’s the past, and it’s the story that I have.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (02:57):

So, growing up as the daughter of a franchisor my dad was really gung ho about expanding and he even had me do crazy things like dress up as Kelly Kebab at grand openings just to attract attention. We were really big on community marketing and just creating a buzz and getting attention. So, I spent a lot of time just, you know, child labor following my dad around. In the late nineties, you can only imagine this, I was the female, bosses daughter, 20 years old, showing up to teach older male franchisees how to grow their business. You can only imagine how that went over.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:40):

Yeah. Well, I was going to ask, how did that go over?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (03:43):

Yeah, so I would show up and my role was to help them understand the importance and the value of following the system and help them stay energized to grow their business. You know, I remember showing up and they would be like a 60 year old male and here I am a 20 year old female, bosses daughter and they’re wearing blue jeans and I’ve got to try to convince them that that’s not part of the uniform. So, I will say it was not easy all the time. I got put through the ringer, but that is definitely the time that I learned the most about franchising. I didn’t realize how much I was learning about the unique relationship in franchising and how much I use that today. You know, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but definitely tough times then, but good times. Also would go in and help franchisees get up and running, work with their staff back then when joint employer, employer, wasn’t so much of a threat. We weren’t talking about that back then.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (04:37):

But then I became a multiunit franchisee, myself. We, were ready to put stores on Vancouver Island. It was the last place in Canada to expand to. It looked like a difficult market. My dad was like, “Hey Ang, it looks like a tough market, but we’re ready to go there. If anyone can do it, you should be able to do this. Do you want to go do this? So, all right, I guess that sounds kind of like a good challenge. Go get the market up and running. Went over to Vancouver Island, opened three stores in a year and a half, surpassed a bunch of records for the company. I like to pretend it’s because of my awesomeness, but it was because the market actually was ready.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (05:20):

We opened store number 300 and then a couple after that. So, that is the value of brand awareness. So, that’s the history that I think is relevant probably to the audience here. So, now what I’m doing now is I’m really on a mission to use what I learned over the years and help franchisors with these how to get these relationships right so that everybody can grow and thrive. I like to say that my team and I are on a mission to create transformational growth in everyone we work with while having fun.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:58):

I love the having fun part of that because if you’re not going to have fun, then why are you doing this anyway?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (06:04):

Yeah. Well, we even have a core value that is we get more done when we’re having fun. It’s true, right? When we’re having a good time, we’re in a good mindset, good spirits, we’re more productive. So, that is definitely a key part, but we are really just trying to… When I say transformational growth, a lot of people are trying to go out there and sort of inspire people. I’m like, “I want to go beyond inspiring people. I want to help people take the action steps they need to take to actually transform and grow. Not just kind of make little differences, but by doing the right steps, you know, hit that transformational bigger growth.”

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (06:45):

Well, I love that. I know from the first time we met here, maybe, what… A year or two ago, when we first connected and your enthusiasm and your just fire and passion and excitement about it is contagious. Hearing you describe that, our company purpose statement, it’s no wonder we seem to click well to inspire and foster greatness. So, it’s not just the inspiration, but it’s also, how can you support that long-term? So, I love… You know, that’s music to my ears for sure.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (07:19):

Cool. That is so awesome. Yeah. I love that. I mean, even the name of this podcast, Multiply Your Success and growth and I’m I’m yeah, this is the kind of thing I love to talk about. By the way, did I tell you I’m a sucker for podcasts?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:31):

No.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (07:32):

I appreciate this so much and I just love the opportunity to share the insights and things that I’ve learned over the years. So, I really appreciate you having me here.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:41):

Yeah, absolutely. And a quick plug for your show, what’s your podcast?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (07:44):

I’ve got the Franchise Growth Catalyst podcast. So thank you for that. Yeah, I just share lots of content. For the most part so far, it’s been me just rambling because what I’ve been told, I started initially doing a couple of interviews and a lot of people said, “We just want to hear your content for now.” Like I actually had people ask for that. So, for now it’s just me sharing tips and tricks and things like that, and trying to inspire people to do good things.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:12):

Well, I love it. I love it. Well, and look, I’m one of those people who likes hearing you talk about your expertise. One of the things that I was hoping you could share with our audience, and we talked about this a little bit before we started recording, was this idea of franchisee support and coaching. That was a really interesting way to view it and talk about it and I think it’s relevant for any business, even if you’re not a franchise. It’s relevant for your employees, it’s relevant for your support staff or contractors working for you. So, would you mind sharing with our audience here a little bit about what you were talking about, support and coaching and how all of that works?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (08:52):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, and you’re so right. This applies beyond franchising. You’re so right, at like for any team, anybody that you’re working with. So, what I learned when I started working five, six years ago with different franchisors is that there were franchisors that thought they had great support and when I lifted the hood and went in to see what that was, it was like, we’ve got a great operations manual, we provide them with the graphics for their social media, we have brand guidelines and we give them the logo and all these things and then they have our number, they can call us if they need us. You know, you’re a franchisee, I’ve been a franchisee, like that is not enough. So, the good franchisors, the ones who have the franchisees that are really growing and thriving, have a coaching program for their franchisees.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (09:45):

There’s different ways that I’ve seen. Lots of different ways, actually that that can be and different approaches I guess, and different frequencies. But what coaching is, and what’s different about coaching is that you’re getting in there and you’re spending time with the franchisee and looking at their metrics with them and actually even before you go to metrics, I think it’s just important to check in on the franchisee and see where their mindset is at. Because if their mindset’s not good, it doesn’t even matter if they’re hitting their KPIs. You got to fix that mindset first. So, it’s having that frequent, that regular connection coaching session with them. I personally like once a week, but a lot of franchisors object to… You know, they’re like, “Well, we can’t do that.” Or, “We don’t have the resources.” I’m like, “Yeah, but the royalties and everything will go up because the franchisees will be thriving.”

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (10:38):

But if you can’t figure it out, at least every second week. Now, sometimes the more established franchisees don’t maybe need that quite as often anyway, but whether it’s weekly, biweekly, or once a month to have that coaching relationship where we’re like a partner with you in your business.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (10:57):

I know companies, I’ll give a shout out to Tutor Doctor who they have a very well-developed coaching program. They actually got to a point where they said you can opt in or you can opt out because not everybody was showing up for the coaching. They said, “Here’s the thing. We’re not going to charge you. It’s part of your royalties. But if you’re in, we’re going to hold you accountable and you better be there. We’re going to work together and I’m going to be accountable as your franchise business coach, and you as a franchisee, we’re going to be accountable to each other, we’re going to be accountable to your goals and working together.” So, it can’t be taken lightly and I believe right now, I might have this a little bit off, I believe they have like 63% of their franchisees opting in, which I think is really good. So, yeah. Does that answer the question?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:50):

It does. Yeah. That’s really interesting. Almost two thirds have opted in. When you were telling that story I was thinking, “Oh boy, is it one out of four, one out of five that are going to opt in?” So, I’m happy to hear a high opt-in rate. Just hearing the presenting to them, we started a book club at our company here this year and it’s totally optional. We opened it up to anyone who wants to participate. Said, “You know, we’re just going to do a book club. Here’s the book. We’ll send everyone a book and we’ll meet at this time. Feel free to participate.” You know, you can… I love how you said it. You can opt in or you can opt out and it’s up to you, but if you opt in, we’re going to do it and we’re going to commit to it.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:35):

I really like that option to put the onus back on the franchisee because you’re right, a lot of franchisees and just business owners in general, they’re not ready for coaching. They’re not ready for that accountability or they don’t want it, or they don’t maybe see the value in it yet.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (12:52):

Yeah.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:52):

So, that’s a brilliant approach. One of the questions I had in what you said there, Angela that I wanted to ask was about how you saw some of the support and coaching change in the midst of the pandemic here and what you saw change and kind of where you see this going in the coming years ahead.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (13:16):

Yeah. Great question. I guess one thing to first note is it was… Well, actually one thing I should throw in here, when the pandemic hit March 16th, my clients and people in my network, I had had meetings booked, everything was getting canceled and I was like, “Hmm, this is kind of weird.” Remember how weird it felt when it first was hitting. So, I realized, “You know what? Why don’t I just bring people together?” So, I started some round tables to bring franchisors together to problem solve and work with each other. In that time, what I was hearing a lot of was like, “How much should we support our franchisees?” Most… I should say like… Not most, but the more established franchisors, I think they knew it was like, we’re going to do anything we can, it’s all hands on deck.” So, I think the support and coaching and anything that they could do went way up for most franchisors.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (14:10):

But I remember franchisors asking at the time each other and myself, “Are we creating a problem here because are we creating a dependency? What are we going to do? We don’t know where this is going to go, but whenever it is that they don’t need us as much how are we going to kind of back our way out of this?” My recommendation to anybody that asked me that was like, “We’ll worry about that later. Let’s just get them through.”

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (14:36):

So, definitely overall it was incredible to see the amount of support go up and by support, everything from helping them get their financing, the equipment they needed, mental health challenges, how to deal with… You know, yeah. People that weren’t showing up, in roundabout ways trying to help them with what to do about their employees and that sort of thing. So, it seems to have leveled off, but definitely so many franchisors that I’m hearing from on round tables and things are like, “Why didn’t we do more of this before and why didn’t we take advantage of Zoom and why didn’t we do this before?” So, they’ve maintained more collaboration, like collaborative… A lot of franchisors, that prompted them to start doing monthly collaborative calls, which I had been trying to get franchisors to do long before, like bring people together virtually but I guess it’s just sometimes you have to go through it to get it going.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:38):

Yeah. So, sometimes unfortunately it takes an extreme deadline or impact for all of us. You know, case in point, right? If tax day wasn’t April 15th, we would probably just wait until the absolute last minute, which is so often the case. Without a deadline, it just doesn’t happen.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (16:02):

Yeah. So, yeah. I would say then just overall that it snapped a lot of franchisors into kind of a better version of supporting coaching, but there’s still a lot out there that are trying to figure it out. So, yeah.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:17):

Yeah. Well, great lead in because this was my next question that popped into my head is for those companies that let’s say, maybe haven’t snapped into this. I would say just for a coaching support program for a franchisor, maybe even just something for someone to offer to their employees. I think, like you said, this applies to all. What would you recommend for someone or an organization or a leader here to implement in their organization? Are there maybe a couple of steps that you would suggest as a starting point?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (16:48):

Absolutely. I think buy in is key and people don’t… If they don’t… You said earlier with the third or so at Tutor Doctor that are not opting in, it’s because one of the things is they might not see the value. Right? So, I think you’ve got to get the message out there that there’s value in this.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (17:06):

So, what I would recommend is if you haven’t started some kind of coaching or regular connection like this, I would recommend starting with a few franchisees who are the more open-minded maybe your middle or higher performers, like middle to high performers that would benefit from it, that you would actually see results. The top performers might be a bit tough because they’re already up there, but if you could see a couple that if you coach them, their sales would go up and then show the data on that, show the return on investment for that, for their investment of time as a role model.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (17:41):

So, that would be a starting point. But when I say to start, what I would actually do is, you know, assuming you’ve got the buy in from a handful of franchisees, is meet with them on a Zoom call once a week or once every two weeks and I would create probably a pretty standardized template. Something that I use… My whole team actually uses with each other and with our clients is just a simple… Like a Google doc with a template that says what’s going well, like what are your wins, what are your roadblocks right now, and what should we work on today? Ideally have them fill that out the day before you meet so that they can think of anything. Then definitely… I mean, even kind of more important than that is a KPI check, like one or two of the most important KPIs that are showing whether the business is hitting targets and whether it’s growing, and making sure that the franchisee has the actionable steps. What do they need to do to fix the KPI if they’re not hitting it.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (18:46):

So, you might say, “Okay, this week, I know that going out and putting lawn signs, you know, I need to put out I don’t know, 20 lawn signs or something.” Then when you meet next time, it’s like, “Okay, how’d that go?” It’s not like… It’s so important to not be micromanaging but to be motivational about it like, “Hey, I’m your partner here. How did it go?” “Oh, I didn’t do it.” “Well, what happened? Let’s talk about what the roadblock was. How can we help you? Or should we pick a different activity or action step that’s going to help you hit that KPI because clearly you’re not going to go do that.” Like for example, some people hate networking and that might be the best way to build the business but if someone’s never going to go to do their networking, then let’s make their action step be something they’re going to do, or an easier way of networking. Then so every time you meet you check in on these things, like, “How’s that going? Are you hitting the KPI and what roadblocks are you hitting?”

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:45):

Well, that’s fantastic advice. Simple yet so effective. As the leader of the organization or the person actually doing this coaching, what you laid out is great for one meeting, but would you have a suggestion on tracking, storing? I mean, I could even see someone printing a Google doc out and just keeping a folder. I mean, as archaic as that might sound in today’s world, how do you suggest to your clients or franchisors to do that?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (20:20):

Yeah. Well, I guess I would even go a step back from that and highly recommend the traction model EOS… [inaudible 00:20:33] Whitman’s Systems? So, if anybody hasn’t checked that out, make sure you check that out and maybe you can stick it in your show notes for everybody. I think it’s a fantastic… It’s like a how-to book on how to run a successful business internally and just how you bring on the right people. I think it’s so important to start with the goals in mind.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (20:56):

Actually, this is a key point, I probably should have said this before. When I say the actionable weekly thing that you’re going to do or every two weeks, before you even go there you need to talk to the franchisee if you haven’t done this and I can’t tell you how many franchisors haven’t. It’s not their fault, they just haven’t thought of it. So, hopefully they’ll hear this, but start with what is your franchisees why, and what is their why that gets them going and gets them out of bed, and what’s their tenure, like their big hairy audacious goal? You need to know what that is and tap into that, and then work backwards to figure out what are their three-year goals and their one-year goals.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (21:33):

From there. I think as far as a tracking system goes, I would say it needs to be something that’s very simple, and it needs to be something that resonates with the franchisee themself. I’ve seen franchisors… You know, often franchisors are… They’re more comfortable with numbers and the reason a franchisee, often a single unit, especially, you know, new franchisee might become a franchisee, is because they don’t have that business experience. I’ve seen franchisors whip out this giant spreadsheet with like 30 metrics on it and they’re like, “Imagine if we knew all this information.” I’m like, “You are overwhelming the franchisee, like we need to simplify this.” So, whether that’s just a simple spreadsheet, or like you say, printed out, hand-write, like whatever resonates, that’s what I would do. There’s so many different software program and things out there, but I think it comes down to finding this thing that people are actually going to use.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (22:31):

Yeah. No, that’s great. I appreciate that. Yeah, the EOS model is great. We use that for our business and we really enjoy EOS. I think it’s a great model. As you said, if you don’t have one to follow it at least gives you something to start with. Well, this is a great transition point for us, Angela, where before every guest is able to leave, we ask the same questions to every guest. That is, we talk about the idea of misses makes and multipliers. I love how you shared on the sheet or the form, simple form to have as a coaching guide with your franchisees. You talk about your wins, your roadblocks and where you can help today. Well, we just rephrased it I guess. Pretty similar here. So, we’ll start… We’d love to talk about… We start with a miss first, if there’s a miss or two that maybe happened in your career that you wouldn’t mind sharing and something that you learned from it.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (23:28):

Sure. Okay. This question I have to admit, I always find it kind of difficult because, I don’t mean like, this might sound cliche, but every time I think of like… When I rack my brain for what are my misses, and I’m saying this to hopefully inspire other people to think the same way, when I think about things that I missed on, I instantly think though how it benefited me. Then I think about it being a lesson, right? I think, you know what, actually but look what I learned from that. So, it’s not really a miss because it needed to happen so I could learn that. So, I do struggle sometimes with like, what did I actually miss on because I’m just sort of always thinking that way.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (24:12):

But if I really dig in, I think one thing, and this is going to sound a little bit general, but it would be not listening to my intuition. One thing that’s been really helpful for me in my growth is really getting clear on who I am and what’s important to me. There’s been times where I’ve had somebody approach me who wanted help as a franchisor and I allowed them to hire me, if I put it that way, even though I shouldn’t have, because we weren’t a cultural fit. It’s hard to get that success when we’re not a cultural fit and we’re not aligned. So, like I … Did we say this on this podcast or was it before that we… About the fun? Yeah, we said it here. We get more done when we’re having fun.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (25:04):

If I talk to a prospective client for myself that is very serious or even negative, I spot that right away and I’m like, “I just know this isn’t going to work because we at AC Inc, we like to have fun and get a little silly.” So, I think earlier on I didn’t know that enough and I didn’t listen or didn’t listen to my intuition enough. That ended up being a miss because I worked with people that I couldn’t help. If you were to talk to those people, I don’t know if they would say… I mean, they might say, “Yeah, she kind of helped us,” or I don’t know what they would say, but I think that’s one of the bigger things.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (25:39):

Then also just not believing in myself sometimes I think. People probably… Sometimes people think that I’m so confident and bold and all this, but authentically I’m human and I have my limiting beliefs at times and sometimes not believing in myself. Then it ends up… You know, you don’t grow. You just… So, I’ve like brought in other people to help me with things that I didn’t know I could do and missed on those learnings. So, those would be a couple of misses. I know they’re not like… I can’t tell you I have a big failure story because I’m just not thinking of something right now.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (26:18):

No, I appreciate that. Those are great. I mean, I think that that’s something that so many business leaders just struggle with, especially when you’re running your own enterprise, you’re the leader of an organization, it’s so easy to fall victim to self doubt. It’s easy because who do you share that with? Who do you talk to regarding it? It’s cliche to say, I guess, it’s lonely at the top, but there’s truth in that. So, it’s easy for that to set in. I definitely understand that and I know that that’s a regular struggle for owners and business leaders.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (26:56):

Yeah. It’s so important to catch it.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (26:59):

Yeah.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (27:00):

In my office… I’m not at my regular office right now, but I have a mindset is everything canvas behind it. It’s got a fish, you might remember because I think we chatted there before, with the little shark fin on it. That’s how we often feel, like we’re like a little goldfish pretending to be a shark. We sometimes have to do things that push us out of our comfort zone. So, I try to remember that and check myself when I have that self doubt.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (27:23):

Absolutely. Well, let’s flip it on the other side. Let’s talk about a make or two along the way and something you learned from it.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (27:32):

Yeah, sure. Yeah, that’s another question that it’s very… You know, it gets me really pondering I guess. I think the best thing for me to talk about here that hopefully again, is inspiring to the listeners, is really where I’m at now. I’ve tried a few different things over the last few years to get to a point where I could successfully help franchisors with their growth, with understanding how to support and coach their franchisees and all these things.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (28:03):

I realized I couldn’t do it as a one woman show. I don’t have all the skills they needed and I had to try a couple of different things to get there, but where I am now, I feel like it’s just the perfect place because I’ve been able to attract people to my team to work with the clients, delivering my content, my knowledge. We’ve got what we… We created… Well, this is actually a win. This is a big win for me personally. I’ve got a really cool mind map. I think I showed it to you actually, it’s red now. We’ve rebranded it. It’s got all the components of what you need to do when you’re a franchisor from the beginning to exit. For the longest time I would use that and just all the content behind it was in my head. But in putting a team together, one of the things that they’ve done is they’ve pulled that content out of my head and made me sit down for like two, three hour sessions twice a week during… It was from kind of May, June, July, and get that content out and we’ve created the AC playbook. So, the playbook is, again, all these things setting up a field support team, how to do all these things.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (29:21):

So, I feel like the win is that I’ve gotten that done. I’ve begun to build a team. I’s going to grow, I know that. But to be able to attract the right people to my team, feels like such a win. Being able to use this content and be doing what I’m doing right now and using my gifts and talents in the way that I believe I’m meant to use them rather than putting a square peg in a round hole, which is what it felt like I was doing prior to this, where I was trying to help people with things that weren’t my area of specialty. So, I really let… Yeah. I’d really reflect on where I’m at now, feeling like a win. How does that sound?

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (30:01):

I love it. No, that’s phenomenal. I appreciate you sharing that and this idea of a multiplier is the next question we like to ask. You’ve been in franchising for basically your entire career, most of it.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (30:15):

Whether it like it or not.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (30:18):

So, franchising is a natural multiplier, but would you mind sharing anything that you’ve used throughout your career personally that was a multiplier for you?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (30:26):

Absolutely. I think this can be related to any business, whether you’re a franchise or independent carpet cleaning, window washing, anything like that. One of the things that was huge for me and it’s something I still work on, is my brand foundation. What do I stand for as a brand and getting really clear on that and then that has helped me attract the right people to my team. So, that’s multiplying and be able to attract the right clients. I sort of alluded to this earlier of course, when I said we’re attracting the not right clients for me. So, brand foundation. When I say that, I’m not talking about a logo or a tagline. I’m talking about understanding your… What is your mission? Your why and your purpose and what are your core values?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (31:18):

When I say core values, I don’t mean just integrity and respect. I mean, like at your core. Like I said, we get more done when we’re having fun. That’s really important to me. Another one is action equals growth. We believe that doing something is better than doing nothing. Let’s not make the video perfect or if I say um a few times I’m not going to edit that because it’s better to just get it out there. So, I think really getting clear on what your core values are. In one of my podcasts episodes I talk about how to do that because a lot of people get roadblocks and are like, “I want that. I just don’t know how.” So, it’s getting clear on that foundation I think that is a really key thing for brands and yeah, just really exponential.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (31:59):

Another thing is that I really… I believe multiplies our business is getting over ourselves and putting ourselves out there. You’re great at this too on LinkedIn, you’re doing a lot of great content. So, coming from a place of education, which again we’re doing it right now, you do a lot of this, education over promotion of course and really understanding the value that you bring. I can’t tell you how many people tell me now, they’re like, “I love your content.” I’m like, “What? You actually noticed it?” You don’t know that people are actually looking at it, but they are. Yeah, so brand foundation I would say, you know, another multiplier. Putting yourself out there and then understanding what leadership means. I won’t go deep into this because that could be like another whole episode, but understanding in business what it means to be a leader.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (32:53):

I talk a lot about this, that it’s not about being authoritative and being in charge and being in control. I believe in being vulnerable and authentic and transparent and having empathy. That might sound cliche, but if you dig deep into that stuff, it’s really what works. So, those are a few things that I would say have helped me multiply my business, and I guess with leadership, understanding that we have influence and whether or not you’re in a position that’s called leadership, or you’re an employee in a business, you have the ability to influence and you can be a leader. So, for people to understand that is I think a big multiplier.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (33:30):

Oh yeah. That’s great. Thank you. We were talking before we hit record earlier, I follow your social media and I track you. I was talking about how I shared some of your content with our team and said, “Hey, look at Angela’s doing great stuff. Look at what she’s up to here. This is really a great inspiration.” So, thank you for that.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (33:51):

Well, thank you for saying that. I can’t thank you enough, because you put it out there and you don’t know what’s happening with it. You don’t know if it’s having an impact. So, that means so much to me that you tell me that and that you did that.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (34:01):

Yeah. Well, and I think to your point, I mean, that’s kind of what you’re saying here. You don’t know what you don’t know and you don’t know those people that you’re helping or supporting or influencing in some way shape or form that otherwise wouldn’t have been. So, I’m grateful for the content that you put out and I follow and pick up on. So, I appreciate that.

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (34:23):

Thank you.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (34:24):

Yeah. The final question we like to ask everyone is what does success mean to you?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (34:29):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I love this question. I think it’s so important to listen to different people’s responses on this. It really does fluctuate from person to person. For me, success is being in a place where I can use my gifts and talents, or I like to call them super powers, we all have. We all have our super powers or our genius, you know? So, being in a place that we can use our gifts and talents to bring value not only to others, but to ourselves as well. I’m not trying to be all like altruistic. I do like money. Money’s good, and I do need to make money, but I think being able to figure out a way to use those gifts and talents. I think so many people are in positions, whether it’s a job or whatever they’re doing, and they feel stuck and they don’t realize that it’s because they’re not tapping into their gifts and talents and their purpose. If they would the time to do that, which is… It’s a lot of work, but it’s so worth it, that’s success to me.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (35:42):

Oh, I love that. Yeah. That’s great. It is. It’s hard when you do that deep internal soul searching intrinsic thinking. It’s really, really… You have to take the time and it can be scary because you’re thinking internally. There’s so many external distractions that are always out there. So, yeah, thank you for sharing that. Well, Angela, is there anything you’d like to share with us that you haven’t had a chance to say or communicate to the audience?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (36:17):

I think just really watch… Be introspective, watch your mindset when you’re going about your day. I think that’s one of the things that I’ve worked really hard at and has really helped me to stay positive, to really be able to put myself out there and feel confident is just really keeping an eye on my mindset. Self-doubt, we talked about earlier and negative thoughts can really creep in. So, watch that mindset. I guess my final thing is my typical [inaudible 00:36:46] is go be awesome.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (36:48):

Go be awesome. What a great way to close this out. Well, how can people get ahold of you? What’s the best way for them to reach you if they want to learn more about your company, or maybe see about your coaching programs that you offer to support franchisors or growing businesses?

Angela Coté, AC Inc. (37:02):

I would love for people to come and check out my website. It’s just AngelaCote.com and love to connect on LinkedIn or any other social media platform. But like you, I love LinkedIn. I’m on there a lot. So, love to connect with people there.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (37:15):

Angela, thank you again so much for being here. It was so great to have you on the show and we’re so thankful for your time.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (37:23):

So, let’s jump into our three key takeaways. So, number one that really stood out from what you said for coaching your team, your franchisees is to create a simple one page template to find out what’s going well with your team, what are their roadblocks, what should they work on during the call and use technology that’s available for teammates, team members, franchisees that are in other markets or not right next door to you.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (37:54):

Number two, gain buy-in on using the system. So, take that simple regular check-in sheet and gain buy-in by implementing this with some of your mid to mid high performers initially in your system. So, get those folks using it, see some results, and then be able to go back to the rest to showcase those results. I thought that was a phenomenal, phenomenal takeaway.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (38:20):

Number three, build a brand foundation and have clarity on what your business stands for. Angela, I think you are a great example of someone who is living out that to its fullest. Your branding, your messaging is very consistent and it exudes exactly what you stand for and what kind of a business you’re leading. So, I appreciate that. Thank you.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (38:46):

Now it’s time for today’s win-win. So, today’s win-win comes from the interview and also from one of Angela’s core values, which I just love, which is get more done while you’re having fun. What could be more fun than that? Get more done while you’re having fun. Life’s just more enjoyable when you have a smile and work shouldn’t have to feel like work. It should be fun. So, enjoy it. That’s our episode today folks. Thanks for tuning in and as Angela put it, go be awesome. Please like, please subscribe, please share this with anyone in your network that you think could benefit. Have an awesome week.

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