Outdoor Living Brands franchise recruitment

The home that Lisa and Steve share with their family is on one of the busiest thoroughfares in West Des Moines. But in their newly configured and private backyard, the rest of the world seems light years away.

“We wanted a space where our family could spread out and live, along with an enjoyable place to entertain,” Steve explains.

The couple opted to work with Harold Cross of Archadeck of Central Iowa to complete the transformation. Cross, who normally comes up with the plans for such projects, had a surprise when he met them “Most often our clients have a general view of what they want but aren’t down to specifics. Steve and Lisa, however, were extremely detailed in what they envisioned and already had created plans for the project.”

Their plans for their backyard meshed into an overall design scheme, which created their version of an “outdoor room.”

Cross says he tweaked a few details but primarily worked with the couple’s plans. “The two-level outdoor living space with the pergola and stonework really breaks up the space and gives it energy.” He started working with Steve and Lisa in February, when there was still snow on the ground, and started construction in July. The detailed project came to completion in October.

“With this project, the whole focus of our home moved to the back,” Steve points out. The cedar pergola will be allowed to age naturally to a silvery patina, he says. Just for fun, there’s lighting under the seating, providing soft, indirect light on the deck surface, which glows for evening gatherings.

Another low-maintenance aspect is the stamped and colored concrete on the lower-level patio, an aspect that Archadeck is incorporating into more of its designs and projects.

“We really wanted to avoid having a big open deck space,” Steve says. “With this angled configuration outside, we feel we have added visual appeal and usable space.” Inside, the family has added touches of the Arts and Crafts influence, which they appreciate. Steve laid subtle textured and plain carpet tiles in a checkerboard pattern to give interest, but also practicality, underfoot. To read more, see full article


As the leader of an outdoor living franchise company, we are always looking for qualified and properly capitalized franchisees to join our franchise systems – Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad.

I am delighted to announce a record setting new class of Mosquito Squad franchisees will be starting their initial training in Richmond on December 7, 2009. This is the largest training class ever for Mosquito Squad and Outdoor Living Brands; it completes our efforts to more than double the Mosquito Squad franchise system in 2009. The new franchisees will be preparing to launch their franchise operations in 2010 and will start protecting families from both the annoying bites and the dangers of insect borne diseases next spring. 

MSF 3560 December 2009 Record Training Press Release – Final

I (and our entire team) look forward to supporting these new franchisees to help them to reach their personal, business and lifestyle objectives that led them to invest in and launch their Mosquito Squad franchise businesses!

Wow, we are experiencing some strong building momentum with our Mosquito Squad franchise business, part of Outdoor Living Brands!  Since acquiring the company in the first quarter of 2009 with approximately 17 franchise locations, we will more than double the company by the end of the year – in fact, we are likely to have more than 40 franchise locations at the beginning of 2010. 

Despite the economic climate, 2009 was a very strong season for the Mosquito Squad franchise system and demand is running extremely strong from individuals seeking to join this rapidly growing franchise system.  We are working on finalizing plans for a very large December training class and expect continued rapid expansion in 2010.  It is fun and rewarding to be part of a dynamic growing franchise system that is helping our franchisees to reach their personal and business goals.

Without the risk of failure, many people would likey take more chances in an effort to achieve their personal and business goals. However, unfortunately, eliminating the risk of failing is just not possible.  Failure is a natural part of life.  Everyone fails during their life, sometime many times over. 

However, out of failure comes learning.  Out of failure comes personal growth.  Out of failure comes innovation.  A recent study of large company CEO’s revealed that many had gone through bleak, rough patches in their careers. These leaders didn’t see these experiences as “failures”, rather they saw them as opportunities to learn and get better in their lives and business careers. 

Fear of failure can cause dangerous paralysis – it can lead to inaction and a perpetuation of the status quo.  Feal of failure can lead to inaction which will ensure you don’t achieve the change (for the better) in your life and career.  However, as has been said many times, insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 

If there are changes you are considering in your career to reach your goals – go for it.  whether it is a new job or investing in a franchise – make it happen.  What do you have to lose except the status quo?  What do you have to lose except the opportunity to reach your goals!

Last week, our senior leadership team at Outdoor Living Brands met for two days offsite in a board room at the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University for a strategic planning session.  As the franchisor of Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad, we are regularly encouraging our franchisees to “work on their business, not just in their business”.  After all, how will any of us reach our business goals if we don’t first spend time to plan our desired future, then actively managing our progress against the key intermediate metrics in our plan? We “preach” this message to our franchisees, but we are also putting it into action in our organization!

We have spent time this year working with the franchise leadership groups in the Archadeck and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Systems to discuss where we want these businesses to be in 3-5 years. As always, we get great ideas from our dedicated franchisees that serve on the front lines of building their companies everyday! Last week, we began to rollup this information into a long-term strategic plan for our entire organization and franchise systems. In addition to building off the input from our franchisees, we involved both our entire senior leadership team and our board of directors/shareholders. Our efforts were guided by an outside expert that has assisted many companies through a strategic planning process.  

Now, the real work starts!  As our facilitator said, success is 1% strategy and 99% execution. As the company’s overall leader, it is my responsibility to make sure we have clear alignment across our leadership team and organization with our business goals. Once we do, based on the talent we have in place, execution will follow. We are now working to clear set the short- and intermediate-term goals in order to stay on track with our longer-term goals.

While our efforts have been at the corporate level, the process applies equally well to one’s personal lives. If you are not where you want to be from a personal, career or financial perspective, have you set short- and intermediate-term goals for yourself?  Can you reach your goals without making changes in your life and career?  As you ask yourself these fundamental questions, I suggest that you explore if investing in a franchise could be a vehicle for you to reach your goals.  Whether it is one of our franchise concepts or not, franchising is a wonderful way to get into business for yourself, but yet have the support of a proven franchisor and network of franchisee peers to improve your chances of success.  If you want to make positive change in your life and take control over your career and future, I urge you to explore franchising.

One of our employees at Outdoor Living Brands said something this morning that made me smile!  In a dialogue with some of our valued franchisees, he pointed out that if we are afraid to fail, we won’t grow. He said we can choose to do nothing and be immune from ever making a mistake (of course we might die from stagnation and/or decline) or we can choose to implement new things.  Sure, new ideas, new services and new programs (or a new career if you are thinking of investing in a franchise), may not be perfect immediately. However, if we make perfection our standard, we’d never move forward. Strive for it, but understand it’s unachievable.

This was pointed out by a member of our team in the IT department. As the overall leader of the business, this is an extremely gratifying sign that we have a team and a culture dedicated to growing and improving our businesses for the benefit of our franchisees. It brought a huge smile to my face and makes me quite proud of him and our team. There is a lesson for all of us in his statement – we must make the changes necessary to create the outcomes we want in our personal and business lives.

As the leader of a multi-branded outdoor living franchise company, I have a lot of demands on my time – setting the corporate culture, guiding operations, strategic planning, franchise recruiting, franchise relations, shareholder and lender relations, employee issues, and, of course, responsibility for the financial performance of the overall enterprise – all of these activities require regular attention.  Most days, there are simply far more demands on my time than I have time!

This can be frustrating at times.  I’m a perfectionist and want to do it all. However, as a leader, I am learning to force myself to allocate time to the activities that will grow our company.  This takes discipline and constant evaluation of whether my activities and time are focused on the “right things” that will drive the long-term growth of this organization.  It is simply too easy to get consumed by the daily operational and administrative demands of the business.  However, leadership means responsibility – to franchisees, employees, lenders and shareholders.  Leadership also means being accountable.  

I’m working to be accountable to myself each day in an analysis of how I spent the day – did I focus on the right activities that will drive this organization forward over the next 5-10 years?  While the discipline can be hard, it’s not a difficult process.  Just stop before you leave the office and think about how you spent the last 10-12 hours.  If it was not on the right things, then re-set the priorities for tomorrow!  Every day bring a fresh opportunity to get it right.

It is also an exercise in trusting the people around me.  We are fortunate to have an exceptionally strong leadership team.  I trust the team to accomplish the operational priorities and try to stay out of their way to let them achieve great things.  It is also necessary from time to time to hold them accountable to solve issues and challenges without having them “bubble up” to me.  If too many issues reach me, I’m placing a constraint on the long-term growth and development of the organization and our people.

As you assess where you are in achieving your personal, financial and career goals, I urge you to do the same thing I do everyday – challenge yourself by asking if you have focused every hour of everyday on doing the things that will allow you to reach your goals.  If not, make the changes in your daily routine that will allow you to successfully reach your goals!

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