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Networking is a great way for franchisors to grow their connections, find potential franchisees and gain more business opportunities.

Yet it can also be a daunting experience, especially if you are unsure how to start a conversation with people you don’t know.

However, there are many benefits to meeting new people in your industry such as gaining business advice, getting referrals, making friends, having a support network and helping others to achieve their goals.

Here are some valuable tips to help you maximise each networking experience (and make it a little less daunting).

Join groups and associations: There are many groups and associations within the franchising industry, such as The Franchise Council of Australia. By joining these groups you will be invited to their events and networking opportunities to meet other professionals in your industry.

This is a great way to connect with other franchisors and franchisees, share experiences and build your connections.

Attend trade shows or expos: Franchising trade shows and expos are a great place to network as they are usually attended by franchisors and potential franchisees.

By talking to potential franchisees you can provide them with more information about your business and build a relationship with them. By continuing this relationship you can encourage them to join your franchise.

Trade shows also allow you to network with other franchisors to learn about their business, share industry news, gain advice and much more.

Hold internal networking functions: Many franchisors can encourage networking within their own franchise organisations, especially if the franchise network is quite large and dispersed.

By running a networking event for your franchisees you can encourage them to share their ideas, build connections and learn from each other. You can also gain valuable feedback from the franchisees and create a more cohesive franchise environment.

Network on social media: Social media is an effective tool to compliment your networking efforts and to find new connections. For example, LinkedIn allows you to find and connect with other professionals in your industry and start a conversation with them.

It’s also a good idea to join a LinkedIn group focused on the franchising industry such as the Franchising Australia, New Zealand and India LinkedIn Group. These groups allow you to discuss franchising issues, share your professional knowledge, gain expert advice and get to know other franchisors.

Promote your business: You can use a networking opportunity to promote your business to a room full of influential people or potential franchisees. You can do this by talking to other people about your franchise, handing out business cards to people you meet, asking the organisers to include your flyer in the gift bags or placing a flyer at the door.

However, the goal of networking is to meet new people, make connections and start conversations so promoting your business should not be your primary focus.

Here are some tips to help make networking easier.  

  • Go alone: Attend events alone because you will be more likely to talk to new people, rather than your friends.
  • Start the conversation: Don’t wait for someone to talk to you first. Make the first move and introduce yourself to a few people.
  • Ask questions: Ask questions to find out more information about other people. You can even develop some set questions beforehand and use them if you get stuck for something to say.
  • Swap business cards: Make sure you always take plenty of business cards to a networking event and hand them out to people you meet.
  • Listen: An important part of networking is to listen to other people. This will help you discover how you can assist them and vice versa.
  • Follow-up:  After the networking event follow-up the people you met. You could send them an email with more information about your business, ask to subscribe them to your newsletter or connect with them on LinkedIn. This will help you to build a relationship with them.

Remember, networking isn’t all about promoting your business or meeting as many people as possible. It’s about creating valuable relationships with others, building friendships and sharing your professional knowledge.

Start attending networking events in the franchise industry and build your connections today.

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Raffael Fernandes

Raffael Fernandes

Raffael Fernandes is Sales Manager at Franchise Business.com.au, the official online business directory of the Franchise Council of Australia, listing franchises and service providers. Owned and operated by Catch, an online division of Reed Business Information Australia, FranchiseBusiness.com.au provides a comprehensive central online source of franchise opportunities and industry updates and news.

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