Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa, explains why it’s more important than ever to contribute to your network
One of the most appealing aspects about joining the franchising industry is you will not be alone. Franchises are built on networking and without it, they wouldn’t be successful. Franchise-wide communication ensures people can learn from one another, overcome hurdles and obstacles with the help of each other and have somebody to talk to. This support and advice is extremely comforting. It’s also professionally enriching and helpful in implementing the best practices and some of the many reasons why franchises have such a high success rate – far greater than startups that go it alone.
However, don’t just take my word for it but see what a couple of franchisees told me about why they believe being a part of a network has contributed to their success.
Why is networking important?
Neil Hatt, franchisee of InXpress, a courier service, is certain being part of a franchise has helped him succeed in his business. Having recently won the award for Networking Contributions at the 2018 bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, he stresses the importance of working together network-wide to ensure you learn from one another. “Contributing back to my franchise network was of great importance to me from day one,” Hatt says. He explains that not only did being part of the network help him feel part of a team even though he was running his own business but speaking with the other franchisees also helped him maintain a high standard. Moreover, Hatt argues it helped him “get closer to the centre of the spider’s web – the business – and then be involved with and understand many different strands.”
Helping the business expand
Jeff Longley, director of Mr. Electric Birmingham North and a finalist for the Networking Contributions Award at the 2018 bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, understands networking is essential for business growth and staying relevant in the market. “A strong and expansive network gives you insight into trends in your sector as well as insider information on movement within the wider network of brands and your franchisor,” Longley explains. “The support and guidance from your franchisor is equally as important and the Dwyer Group has enabled me to not only form new relationships with like-minded people but also expand my business into new areas.’’
Helping you get into franchising
Darren Barley is relatively new to franchising, having been the franchisee of Mr. Electric Wolverhampton for just over a year. Even so, he explains being part of the network has helped him find his way from day one. “Networking has been crucial for me on both a professional and personal level, particularly in the early phases of running my new business,” Barley says. He’s particularly glad to being able to draw on the experience from his fellow franchisees and franchisors. “It's very rewarding to know that I can pick up the phone and speak to anyone in the network or the franchisor about anything – this has really boosted my confidence and morale.”
There’s a reason why the bfa has a dedicated award for network contribution. Communication and sharing ideas is the cornerstone of improving procedures and making sure the environment is ideal for making the most of your franchise.