When my husband Jonas and I startedAuntie Anne’s in 1988, we never expected or anticipated building an international pretzel franchise. It was the farthest thing from our minds.
In fact, the only dream I ever had was to be a stay-at-home mom and wife. For many years, I had the chance to live out that dream, but the tragic death of our 19-month-old daughter changed all that.
The path our life took led us to some of the darkest times in our lives and nearly caused us to end our marriage. Had that been the end of our story, it would be categorized as a sad saga. But our story didn’t end there.
We continued to push through and eventually found ourselves as the leaders of a fresh, new franchise that was growing beyond our wildest imagination. By the world’s standards, we shouldn’t have made it.
In the beginning, we had no education, no capital, and no business plan. However, rather than focusing on what we didn’t have, we focused on what we did have: purpose, product, people. I’ve come to call these “The Three P’s.” I believe that if you have these three P’s, they ultimately lead to the fourth “P” — profit.
When we started Auntie Anne’s, I had a purpose. It was simply to provide for my family and give back to our community. Jonas had a desire to counsel others free of charge, and so we needed an income. Our purpose has always been about giving back. It’s the foundation that Auntie Anne’s was built on and thrived at during my years at the company.
It’s so important for business leaders to discover what their purpose is. In the days when the business seems overwhelming or you aren’t certain you can continue, it is your purpose that will compel you to push through.
Discovering your purpose doesn’t have to be complicated. Look at what you do and why you do it. Is it to support your family? That’s your purpose. Is it to make a difference in your customer’s life? That’s your purpose. For us, it was giving. Maybe your purpose is to give back as well.
I think this goes without saying but if we didn’t have a “better than the best” product, Auntie Anne’s wouldn’t have been successful. Our product, the pretzel, was why we had lines all day long. Customers would buy the pretzel, take a bite, and want to know how they can sell these in their own town.
When we started Auntie Anne’s, our pretzel recipe was terrible. The product was bad. I was ready to give up. When you have a product you’re proud of, it will sell itself. What is your “better than the best” product? I encourage you to take a look at what you offer, whether it’s a product or service, and strive to make it the best out there.
I didn’t build Auntie Anne’s alone. That would have been impossible. From the very beginning we had a team around us that was exceptional. Our company was successful because of the dedicated people who worked for us.
As we grew, we knew it was important to surround ourselves with those that had experience and expertise in the areas we lacked. We looked for people who understood our culture, our philosophy, and worked hard. The employees built the company.
Bringing in the right people is so important to overall health of your organization. Surround yourself with a team of dedicated, purpose driven, employees. Don’t settle for mediocrity. There are plenty of willing and able people out there that can help take a business to the next level.
The combination of these three ingredients is what made Auntie Anne’s successful and I believe that if you apply the Three P methodology to what you’re doing, both in business and your personal life, you will be successful. In business, that means more profit.
Did we always do it right? Absolutely not! However, our passion carried us through. Our product kept us going, and the people we had on board worked hard to be successful.
Watch the full story of Auntie Anne's on "How I Made My Millions" Monday, July 23 at 9 p.m. ET, with a re-air at 12 a.m. ET.
Anne Beiler founded Auntie Anne’s Pretzels in 1988. Today the company has over 1200 locations worldwide. Anne and her husband Jonas sold the company in 2005 to open a Community Center that is geared towards helping families and individuals — mentally, spiritually, and physically. Today, Anne travels as a public speaker encouraging and inspiring audiences across the globe. For more information, visit www.auntieannebeiler.com.