When people buy into a franchise, they do it after a great deal of consideration of all the pros and cons.
When people buy into a franchise, they do it after a great deal of consideration of all the pros and cons. Over the months I’ve often written in this column about what I think are many of the advantages of franchising, but to me, one of the major benefits is being able to connect and network with other people who are working in the same business as you, but with who you are not in competition. This networking opportunity provides a safe platform to exchange ideas, ask questions and take full advantage of the experiences of others who have already tried and tested new initiatives to help improve your business.
At Belvoir we have a National BNG (Belvoir Networking Group), and we also have Regional BNGs. The regional meetings are chaired by an elected franchisee who will organise quarterly meetings, contact attendees, sort out a venue and report any ideas or concerns to the National BNG. It’s a system that has proved incredibly successful over the years.
Recently the National BNG voted to invest more funds into regional meetings to help make them even better, with the aim of making them just as appealing and useful to our franchisees as the Annual Conference. The additional funds will be used to book aspirational venues and provide everyone who attends with a really good lunch, and refreshments during the break. Many franchisees have to travel quite a distance to attend meetings and so being able to look forward to a nice lunch on arrival, as well as the enhanced social interaction that takes place during the meal, all helps set the tone for a productive meeting. Although BNG meetings took place during lockdown via Zoom, and were welcomed, and very well attended, I think we have all learned that there really is no substitute for face-to-face meet ups. Agendas are usually set by the franchisees, and a representative from Belvoir’s Central Office always attends. Their role is to answer any questions that may be raised, as well as informing franchisees of any new updates or initiatives that are in the pipeline.
When you are busy running your franchise, it can sometimes seem like a bit of a chore to take time out to attend a networking meeting, but in reality, franchisees who feel they are just too busy to come along are probably the ones who need it most. It is no surprise that the most successful franchisees in the Belvoir network are those who take full advantage of everything the franchisor offers, and I would recommend that you do the same within your chosen business. Nothing that is on offer should feel like a waste of your time. Adopt an open mind and be willing to take an active role within your franchise. As with anything in life, the more you give, the more you will take away, and the more successful you will be. This is important, because within a franchise network, all business owners are keen for everyone else to succeed. The better that every office performs, the more it enhances the national brand, and the better it is for the entire network, which can only be helpful to everyone.
Glenn Broadwell, owner of Belvoir Leeds North and Belvoir Leeds South, is Chairman of the National BNG, having run the Northern Regional Group for several years prior to that. He is also a former Belvoir Franchisee of the Year, and attributes much of his success to the ability to learn from others. Here’s what he has to say: “The BNG has benefitted my own business so much in the past and continues to do so to this day. You might just come away with one small idea that gives you food for thought, but it could be that one thing that makes a massive difference to how you operate, whether that is saving you money, being introduced to a new supplier or discovering a new business practice that will make you more effective and enhance levels of customer service. There is always something to learn. Networking is a great opportunity to chat with colleagues, share your views or concerns and ensure that you are getting value for money for being part of a national franchise.”