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Wild Birds Unlimited’s Year of Implementation: How 2019 Will Be the Franchise’s Year of Strategic Change

The backyard bird feeding brand utilizes business coaches for effective implementation of system-wide initiatives.

By Katie LaTourStaff Writer
SPONSORED 5:17PM 03/05/19

In a changing retail landscape, backyard bird feeding and nature franchise Wild Birds Unlimited knows that the pathway to success is all about innovative initiatives and franchisee support.

In the interest of both, Wild Birds Unlimited’s leadership leveraged its business coaches last year to identify a number of initiatives that position their franchisees for success, streamline operations and strengthen the customer experience. The Wild Birds Unlimited system is now in the process of implementing those initiatives, but in a way that centers the franchisee-franchisor partnership.

“We knew that we had a lot of big initiatives for 2019,” said Christa Anderson, Enterprise Business Coach & Operations Development Manager.  These system-wide initiatives presented to Wild Birds Unlimited franchisees “are intended to provide owners with the tools and support to remain competitive in a changing retail landscape.”

One of these initiatives relates to the continued implementation of Wild Birds Unlimited’s online retail platform, MyWBU.

“For our franchise owners, MyWBU provides the technology framework and franchise support to succeed among the online competition and allows our customers to shop our stores 24/7,” Anderson said.

Another change in the Wild Birds Unlimited system will be the integration of a new point-of-sale (POS) system.

“[This] will enhance many aspects of ownership and operations of the business,” Anderson said. “It will be a cloud-based system, so it will be much easier to study and understand customer behavior and trends. While an exciting venture, it will be a complex transition.”

To support franchisees as they implement, Wild Birds Unlimited will also offer their franchisees “the 2019 Annual Coaching Plan,” or ACP.

According to Anderson, the plan will “assist owners in creating the strategy and structure necessary to navigate these big-impact changes, run the day-to-day operations and improve sales and profits.”

“The team of WBU Business Coaches work in partnership with owners to achieve their business vision and aspirations,” Anderson explained. “We accomplish this through the 2019 Annual Coaching Plan (ACP). The ACP guides an owner through vision planning, goal setting, and execution of priorities for the year.”

Components of the ACP that contribute to keeping system-wide implementation on a timeline are the One-Year Plan and ACP Coaching Timeline, Anderson said.

“The One-Year Plan is store-specific and outlines goals and priorities that the owner determines and will execute within the year. The ACP Coaching Timeline identifies monthly topics and focuses that are time-sensitive and assists in determining priorities and deadlines,” according to Anderson.

Wild Birds Unlimited franchisee Susan Maranhao of Sudbury, Massachusetts, felt that the 2019 ADP helped her immensely, both personally and professionally.

“I think for me, it brought the planning process to the next level—it provided me with not only a plan for my business but also a plan for my personal life,” Maranhao said. “I am in my 29th year of ownership and this exercise made me think hard about what my end game is going to be. This vision exercise made me think through my exit strategy and ask myself the hard questions, including what do I want my life to be like once I am no longer a part of Wild Birds Unlimited,” explained Maranhao.

In addition to laying the groundwork for tailored coaching plans, Wild Birds Unlimited takes care to also offer structural channels of support for franchisees as they work through implementation.

“[We offer] monthly coaching calls, on-site visits from coaches, market meetings led by store owners with Franchise Support Center oversight, topic-driven committees and the annual Enterprise Leadership Conference,” Anderson explained.

Anderson emphasized that as franchisees navigate the process of implementation, they are encouraged to reach out with any questions or concerns they may have.

“Part of [the benefit to] working with a business coach is that we have a 24-hour-or-sooner response time,” Anderson said.

That means franchisees can rely on Wild Birds Unlimited’s business coaches for help on everything from prioritizing to troubleshooting to executing their selected initiatives, aiding them in their ability to soar to new heights in 2019.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.