Multi-Dimensional Management: Shirin Kanji is the 2023 Multi-Brand Leadership MVP
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Multi-Dimensional Management: Shirin Kanji is the 2023 Multi-Brand Leadership MVP

Multi-Dimensional Management: Shirin Kanji is the 2023 Multi-Brand Leadership MVP

Name: Shirin Kanji
Title: CEO, President
Company: Impact Holdings
Units: 79 Rent-A-Center, 7 Neighborly brands (15 under development), 2 Marriott Hotel, 1 Hilton Hotel, 1 Hyatt Hotel
Age: 43
Family: Wife, Swathi, children Serena and Reya
Years in franchising: 17
Years in current position: 8

Shirin Kanji is the 2023 Multi-Brand Leadership MVP (Most Valuable Performer), awarded for achieving brand leadership with multiple brands (tie).

In his quest to build a multi-brand franchisee organization, he thought it made sense that a good manager in one industry could, with some extra training, become a good manager in another. So, rather than searching for managers from the outside, he decided to take advantage of the talent he already had working for him. 

It’s not only worked out, it’s worked out spectacularly well. Last year Impact Holdings recorded $130 million in revenue. With holdings that now include rental centers, hotels, and a multi-home and residential services group, Kanji wanted his managers to be multi-dimensional. “You need a blend of people,” he says, and relies on the strength of his training programs to pull this off.

Kanji says he looks for people who know how to connect with others and motivate them. “You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in a certain industry like food or retail,” he says. In a tough labor market, he says it’s an advantage to his group that, “as we add brands, it provides a fun path forward and growth opportunities.” Beyond the growth of his multi-brand company his approach has resulted in improved employee satisfaction and reduced churn.

MVP QUESTIONS

Why do you think you were recognized with this award? It was a surprise to receive this recognition, given how many great stories there are out there in the world of franchising today. We have been fortunate to achieve strong growth for our company across multiple brands in the past 5 years in particular. It’s a big challenge to learn a single franchise business model and execute it consistently at a high level across multiple locations. It’s another to do that for multiple franchise models across a large network of locations. This award is a testament to our corporate support team in Tampa and Atlanta, along with every team member in all of our locations across our portfolio.

What core values do you think helped you win this award? Our mission is to make an impact in the lives of our team members and customers. We embrace a mindset and value system that nurtures positive relationships and customer experiences. One of our key core values, customer focus, enables us to leverage shared lessons across brands and locations to deliver the best experience for all of our customers, both internal and external.

How important is community involvement to you and your company? It is a big part of what we do as a company. We encourage all of our team members to participate in their local communities and bring forth any ideas where we can better support these causes and leverage our scale and resources appropriately. This can range from supporting local charities and community organizations to hosting back-to-school supplies giveaways and fundraisers in our stores. Some of our best community involvement ideas have come from our field-level team members, and we love participating in these events.

PERSONAL

Key accomplishments: Diversifying our family business holdings over the past 8 years to better withstand the ebbs and flows of the domestic economy and other external factors such as Covid.

Best advice you ever got: “Time is the coin of life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

Favorite book: I recently reread Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, which is perfectly topical for today’s volatile market conditions. I also read Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. It’s a great read on how to prepare and execute high-level presentations for any circumstance.

What’s your passion in business? Watching careers develop and flourish within our company. There is nothing more satisfying than someone achieving their goals and ambitions professionally and financially.

MANAGEMENT

Management method or style: At Impact, we strive to give our team members the tools and resources they need to succeed and then get out of their way. Trust in the process.

Greatest challenge: The consumer expectation for any product or service has moved so quickly the past few years. At the exact same time, our unit-level labor model has experienced its greatest challenges since I have been part of the business. Figuring out how to meet consumer demands while finding the right blend of technology, along with a high personal-touch customer-service model, will, I feel, ultimately win. It can’t be either/or, but a blend of both if we are being realistic about the future. Getting there, however, is the challenge for us all to figure out.

How close are you to operations? As a family business, we like to stay close to operations and ensure we are providing the right level of support and guidance to our leadership team, who do a great job in the day-to-day execution across our brands. With certain areas, such as business development, marketing, and risk management, we tend to take a more proactive role in the operation.

How do you hire and fire, train and retain? Our recruitment philosophy has evolved over time. We now focus more on aligning candidates with our company mission and brand-specific core values. We have found greater success hiring for attitude and training the skills versus hiring based on experience. When it comes to retaining and training, we have had our fair share of challenges, as many have in today’s labor environment. But we have worked hard to improve our benefits offering, the scope and depth of our training programs, and to provide clearly defined career paths to produce the best place to work in each of our industry segments. 

BOTTOM LINE

Annual revenue: $130 million.

2023 goals: 10%-plus same store sales increase at portfolio level.

Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? Same store sales, net profits, and unit count.

Vision meter: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? In 5 years, I would like for us to be double the revenues we are now, and in 10 years, double that.

What are you doing to take care of your employees? Recently, we have taken a more proactive approach to developing a strong leadership and management team across brands and locations to enable them to develop their careers within the company. This has entailed investing significantly in various training and certification programs, backed by a commitment from company resources, to further support our team members’ continuing education and certification course ambitions.

What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? I am fortunate that an exit strategy is not something we have to really think about in our family business setting, but it does enable us to allocate resources and efforts across a long-term mindset for partnership and growth with our franchisor brand partners.

 

Published: September 22nd, 2023

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