Why is it important to network within your franchise industry, among fellow franchisees and your community or market? Because networking plays a crucial role in franchise growth and development.
When you network, you gain valuable resources, knowledge, wisdom, support, experience, and advice. In most cases, what you put in to networking relationships-you get out of them. Networking in your franchise community and industry can help a franchise grow tremendously. Discussing goals, financial and revenue targets, and finding solutions to problems from seasoned franchise owners, allows franchisees to develop open-minded and creative problem-solving skills, increase their competitive drive, and establish a support group to help cope with the ebb and flow of starting and owning your own business.
Regardless of your business model, failing to network, or restricting your network opportunities and relationships, limits yourself as a franchise owner, and your ability to grow and stay innovative. New contacts equal new, fresh ideas and perspectives, which in turn creates a healthy franchise business that stays active within its industry, and is proactive in terms of industry changes and trends.
There are several other benefits to cultivating your network relationships. For instance, when it comes time to grow your franchise team, your franchisor will help you with the screening and hiring process, but often you can find the strong employees you are looking for through fellow franchisees or contacts you’ve networked within your franchise industry and community. Networking can also provide you with sponsors, coordinators for community events your franchise participates in, and the chance for special promotional opportunities.
Types of Networking Opportunities
The amount of networking opportunities available to franchisors and franchisees is endless. On a local and regional level there are career fairs, trade shows, community fundraisers and events (i.e. marathons, 5ks, walks/runs), sponsorship opportunities for local sports league teams, and community meetings. The more people you know within your own market, the better connected you will be, and the stronger your brand and business will be. Moreover, new and/or additional employees for your business seem to come to you naturally, without much effort on your part.
Networking within your franchise system is a powerful strategy that should not be overlooked. Some of the best franchise ideas and mentors are found right in your franchise family. Make it a point to stay connected to a select group of franchise owners. Set scheduled calls/meetings with franchise owners in your region, with similar backgrounds or tenures in the system, etc. A simple “touching base” call to another franchise owner can lift you up if you’re having a bad day or week, or provide you with your next great strategy for your business.
From a national or even international standpoint, franchisors and franchisees both have annual events like the International Franchise Association (IFA) Annual Convention. The International Franchise Expo is a huge opportunity for both franchisors and franchisees in terms of networking. Meet other franchise professionals who have gained excellent knowledge and understanding of owning and operating a franchise, as well as franchise professionals who are in the same or similar developmental phase as you. Vendors, advanced system software, new technology, innovative methods and tools to help your franchise system grow, can all be found at these industry events. There are also quarterly meetings presented by The Women’s Franchise Network and the Franchise Business Network. These groups hold meetings around North America each year to provide a sound resource for franchise owners to network and discuss opportunities, concerns, and upcoming events in the franchising world.
As a franchisor or franchisee, never underestimate the power of networking. The franchise industry contacts you acquire provide you with additional knowledge, new perspectives, innovative technology, tools, and methods to implement in to your franchise system, as well as supply you with reliable candidates for employment and potential franchise owners for the future.
Interested in owning a franchise? Have you considered the booming home healthcare industry? Check out FirstLight HomeCare’s franchise opportunities we have available by visiting our franchise information page and downloading a franchise information kit. You can also give us a call anytime: 1.866.985.5348. We are happy to answer any questions you may have in beginning your search for the right franchise to own.