4 ways to connect in a franchise group

Connection and communication deliver great value for both franchisees and franchisors. The benefits of them, just to name a few, include creating business relationships, staying up to date with innovations and generating new ideas.

Business relationships are not much different than any other relationship. They take time and persistency to grow. Follow up is essential in the business world. When you meet people you should keep in touch at least once a quarter. A simple greeting e-card every once in a while is valuable for your business relationships. 

Franchisors are responsible for the network engagement of their franchise partners. Communication is the cornerstone of a successful franchise business. In this article we will give you some ideas how to connect and communicate in the franchise group.

Connection is essential in a group of franchisees from the same franchise company.

Connection is essential in a group of franchisees from the same franchise company.

Online communication platforms: Various online communication methods are available to franchisors to use them in their advantage. You can create a business email system where franchisees can communicate with you from anywhere in the world. This convenient way to connect is at a relatively low price. To minimize costs you can use free customizable domain names provided by email hosting companies such as Yahoo! and Gmail. Make a list with the email addresses of all your franchise partners and send them to everyone in the group.

Another possibility that online communication platforms provide are corporate chats. Many companies have abandoned popular instant messengers and have created one of their own instead. Unlike general chats, corporate messengers could be highly customized to your business’s needs. You can add or remove features just by calling your messenger provider. Corporate messengers are also more secure and allow group conversations and teleconferences. 

Don’t forget about social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram. Each one of them has different purposes and provides different benefits.

Publishables: Publishables include any form of content that is suitable for publication, be it print or online. Bulletins and newsletters are a great way to send franchisees regular updates on corporate news. You can take it one step further and create an online bulletin board where you and franchisees can post ideas and leave messages for the rest to read.

A number of companies publish periodicals like corporate magazines and journals. They have a more featurey content compared to newsletters. Franchisees can submit entries like articles, letters, or pictures that could get published. This way, you are increasing their involvement and motivating them to be proactive by sharing their ideas. 

Publishables could be issued each quarter, once or twice a year or as often as necessary. They should have an effective content which delivers value and gains the interest of franchisees.

Annual franchise meetings: Annual meetings are probably the only place you get to meet in person so many of your franchise partners and they get to talk face-to-face with peers. At annual meetings franchisees usually expect to receive professional training from expert speakers, to generate new ideas and to be updated from the corporate office. However, meetings are most valuable for providing great opportunities for networking. Try to keep them socializing with new people or otherwise they can miss out great business opportunities. Think of activities that require group as well as one-on-one interaction that will involve all of the meeting participants. For instance, you can include short owner-to-owner mentoring programs on the meeting’s agenda that will allow franchisees to get to know each other better. 

Name tags are helpful in situations where people don’t usually know each other. Remind franchisees in advance to carry business cards at the meeting.

Leadership conferences/National conventions: At national conventions and leadership conferences franchisees meet with peers from other companies and industries. They receive trainings and updates at a broader spectrum than on corporate meetings. Franchisees and franchisors meet with industry suppliers and experts who update them on the latest industry developments. The International Franchise Association (IFA) holds a convention each year with educational sessions on a wide range of topics beneficial for franchisees and franchisors alike. It is the biggest franchise event of the year, attended by some 3,000 franchise professionals.