George Cohon, renowned businessman and founder of...
As a franchisee, you are a small business owner. Of course, you have the backing of an established brand, which is a significant advantage over an independent small business, but you are still a small business owner. It is your efforts that will largely determine the success or failure of your business.
Small business owners face challenges that big chains do not, especially when it comes to getting the word out about the location to the community and other businesses. This is where networking comes in. You should be prepared to network as a franchisee and small business owner. With networking, you can learn even more about your industry, the franchise and your local market - the local business leaders in your community have a lot of wisdom to offer.
Stay current on local events
Check out your community calendar to see what events are coming up and if you can attend. At the very least, you'll be able to connect with other business owners in the same area and learn from them. Attending or taking part in local events is also a great way to get your name out there to the community.
Sponsor some local events
Once your franchise is established, you can start sponsoring local events. This is a great way to give back to the community and reach out to new customers at the same time.
Look for networking groups
There may already be a networking group or groups made up of local business owners that you can join nearby. If not, it's time to organize one yourself. Keep in mind that you don't need to have a group made up only of owners with businesses in the same industry as yours. You can learn from owners across multiple industries, especially ones who are operating in the same community as you.
Consider what you can do for others
Networking isn't just about what others can do for you. It's also about how you can help others. Do not get stuck on just selling your brand or yourself when you are out networking. Consider how you may be able to help the people you are connecting with as well. This is going to be a two-way street, and if you don't hold up your end of the deal, you may find yourself struggling to make real connections.