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Act local: why franchisees should get involved in their local community

Written by Claire Robinson on Thursday, 11 August 2016. Posted in Insight

Whether it’s taking part in charity events or sponsoring local sports teams, giving back to the local area can prove invaluable for franchisees

Act local: why franchisees should get involved in their local community

Many people think of franchise outlets as being part of big, faceless corporations rather than local businesses and often franchisees don’t do anything to change this perception. However, to truly understand their local market and grow their business, franchises need to connect and get involved with their communities.

Understanding and giving back to their local area means franchisees get the best of both worlds, benefitting from the franchise’s established, national brand while still being seen as a local business that has a positive impact on the immediate community.

Increasing the value of regional engagement doesn’t have to be an onerous task. It can be as simple as being aware of and getting involved in local events. Towns often hold fund-raising events and local charities are always in need of a pair of extra hands. As an example, over the past year our franchisees have taken part in charity walks and marathons, attended coffee mornings in residential homes and volunteered for homeless charities. Even if you want to organise your own event, it doesn’t have to be something big to have a significant impact. We’ve previously organised a fundraising afternoon tea to help raise money for the dementia ward of a local hospital.

Many franchisees, especially those who operate smaller businesses, could argue that they don’t have the time or staff to volunteer their skills and that those commitments can only be made by big corporates. However, community engagement doesn’t require corporate-sized teams or budgets. Moreover, franchise owners need to keep in mind that the relationship between small businesses and the areas in which they operate can be mutually beneficial. Franchises giving back to their communities can rest assured that they will help support them in return.

Participating in existing local events is a great way to become more involved in your community and find out about the challenges it faces. We got involved in the activities I mentioned because they align with our business’s core values and beliefs but you can explore other avenues to give back to your community, such as partnering with other businesses or sponsoring local teams and organisations.

Engaging with your community will only benefit your franchise in the long-term. It could mean brand exposure, meeting potential clients or the development of partnerships. And cultivating relationships with the community certainly isn’t something businesses should do in order to look ‘nice’. Local engagement shouldn’t be seen as an add-on but as a central tenet of your business activities.

About the Author

Claire Robinson

Claire Robinson

Claire Robinson is the Managing Director of Extra Help, a home-help and domestic cleaning franchise network, and the CEO of the Approved Franchise Association (AFA). She also works as a franchise consultant, assisting business owners with every aspect of franchising. 

As the CEO of the AFA, a non-profit making organisation that provides accreditation and support for franchising businesses, Claire is the first, female franchisor to run a franchise association in the UK. 

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