One of the benefits of being a franchisee is the community you’re a part of; you’re connected with the other franchisees in your organization. But most of those franchisees will be in other territories or markets. Connecting with other members of the business community, at the local level, is a great way to build connections and grow your business. For starters, it can help new customers find you, it can be a learning resource, and a way to meet new people who experience similar challenges. Below are a few ideas for how to start establishing these crucial B2B relationships in your community.
Join Your Chamber of Commerce
Chambers of Commerce can serve as business advocates on a city, county, or state level. Chambers generally have their pulse on the issues and policies that affect the local business community. Being a part of a Chamber will allow you to have a voice in an advocacy organization, along with getting to know other local business leaders. Your fellow Chamber members can be great resources for advice, mentorship and even client referrals.
Turn to Tech
These days, there seems to be an app for everything. Business owners can use online and digital resources to connect with other members of their local community. LinkedIn Groups are a way to connect with other business owners based on industry or location. This way, you are able to communicate and learn from members of your business community without scheduling around events during the business week. It can be as simple as refreshing your LinkedIn app once a day.
Traditional networking doesn’t always have a positive connotation. It can inspire thoughts of drinking cheap wine and making small talk while you pass out business cards. But with technology, it can be so much more! Popular app, Meetup, recommends groups to users based on location and there are often several options for networking groups. Groups are encouraged to meet up and network in-person. They can be for business owners, based on minority groups, or based on industry. Because you already have something in common with the other members of the Meetup, conversation tends to be more natural than traditional networking events.
If networking one-on-one is more your style, there’s an app for that, too! Shapr is a way for professionals to meet each other. The app encourages conversation that will lead to meeting for a cup of coffee or an after-work drink. The app also allows you to declare your goals, like finding mentors, growing your business or hiring employees. This allows you to tailor the experience – and your potential matches – to your specific business goals.
Franchisees are a part of a nationwide brand which is powerful. But it is important that you are also connected in the community where you operate. Being an active member in your business community and utilizing different ways to network is a great way to build connections and grow your franchise.