For any franchise owner, maintaining a strong professional network is a key part of your business’s success. Yes, networking is about growing your business and sales generation, but it’s also about building new relationships, learning from other business owners and even other franchise owners. The real fun of networking comes from making a connection and realizing that YOU can refer business to someone else – the giving part of a relationship.
Whether it’s through community organizations, special events, social media or events hosted by your parent company, there’s plenty of ways to expand the relationships that can translate to increased awareness of you and your business. Here are a few ways to up your networking game and better yourself as a franchise business owner:
Finding the Right Opportunities
Building a robust network means meeting the right people. Finding an event that’s worthwhile and fits your schedule is important, and there are plenty of resources available to help you find the one that’s right for you. Online networking sites like Meetup, Alignable or LinkedIn provide easy and often local access to connect with other industry professionals, complementary and referral businesses and franchise owners.
But what about finding time in your busy schedule to network? Not to worry, breakfast or lunch networking events and after-work happy hours provide plenty of opportunities to interact with other business owners and corporate executives. Industry-specific speaking engagements, roundtables and workshops are a great way to learn new strategies and enhance your capabilities across business functions, such as social media marketing, insurance and tax considerations, etc.. In addition, most franchises host seasonal or yearly conferences and retreats for their franchisees to connect and celebrate their successes.
Making the Right Impression
The key to successful networking is making a positive impression, which simply requires that you are friendly and always be authentic. If your event of choice has a formal speaker/agenda, do some research before the event and come prepared. Looking up information on keynote speakers or the host can provide you with valuable insights into questions you can prepare to initiate conversations. Asking for advice is another great way to start a dialogue and offers plenty of opportunities for follow up questions to keep the conversation moving.
While it’s important to let the other person speak, make sure not to take up too much of their time. Suggesting you connect at a later time for breakfast or lunch or planning a follow-up conversation over coffee is the perfect way to politely end a conversation and ask for their contact information. When you’re ready to connect with your new contact, make sure to wait at least a day before following up and definitely take advantage of LinkedIn to establish an online relationship as well as the more personal one.
Most of all, it’s important to remember that building networking skills takes time and practice – everyone has days when they feel more or less social, but with these tips, you’ll be ready to make new business friends like the pro that you are!
Inspired but wondering how you can put this into practice for your new business franchise? Franchise Business Source can help. Contact or call us today at 614-768-3884 for a free consultation to discuss how you would use networking to grow your business of choice and help you decide if owning a franchise is right for you.