With a Targeted Networking Strategy, Franchisors can Attract Diverse Candidates
Although the franchise industry has made great strides to promote and foster minority franchise ownership, there still is a long way to go. The good news is that franchising provides more opportunities for minorities to succeed compared to starting a business from scratch. According to a Black Enterprise magazine article, Black-owned franchises earn, on average, over two times more than Black-owned independent businesses. And there’s more minority business ownership in general in franchising. The article suggests that roughly 26% of franchises are owned by people of color versus 17% in independent businesses.
Initiatives like the Black Franchise Leadership Council and the Hispanic Latino Franchise Leadership Council pave the way for diverse entrepreneurship. Still, many minorities are unaware of the affordable and accessible opportunities that exist in franchising. As a Black franchise owner, I believe there is so much more we can do as the U.S. becomes even more of a melting pot.
Barriers to Minority Franchise Ownership
What are the barriers to entry for minority franchise ownership? The most obvious, of course, is lack of capital. The less obvious is a lack of awareness. For over 25 years as an entrepreneur, I thought franchising was just about chicken, burgers and storefronts. I knew about hotels too, but they were out of the question for me. I had no idea about part-time, home-based franchise opportunities in hundreds of industries until I was introduced to my franchisor and attended my first IFA Annual Convention in 2022.
The franchise industry must take a proactive stance to actively look for diverse franchisees. Let’s face it; the U.S. is becoming more and more diverse daily. If franchisors don’t tap into those markets, they risk stunted growth.
As a franchisor, ensuring your system has a diverse franchisee base is important. Why, you ask? Because it can help you reach new audiences, expand your customer base and foster an inclusive culture within your brand. But how can you attract diverse franchisees? One of the best ways is through targeted networking. As an owner of a networking franchise and speaker/trainer on networking, here are some tips to help you get started.
Targeted Networking Strategies for Franchise Recruiting
1. Leverage Your Network
Reach out to your existing network — friends and colleagues, industry associations, and other networking groups — and let them know you’re looking for franchisees. Ask them to spread the word and refer potential franchisees. Additionally, reach out to past and current franchisees and ask them if they know anyone who might be interested in franchising.
2. Attend Networking Events and Business Conferences
Get out there and attend different networking events and conferences where you can connect with potential franchisees. Look for those tailored towards diverse groups, such as those targeting women or entrepreneurs of color, so you can meet more eligible candidates. Focus on forming meaningful connections with people who could become part of your franchise. Take a team member or franchisee of the same culture/race as the audience.
3. Develop Partnerships
Seek partnerships with organizations that focus on encouraging diversity in business ownership. This lets you get your name out there and attract qualified franchisees from different backgrounds. Showcase the success of your current franchises with images of those who look like your prospects, tell the stories of your diverse team, and create content that will appeal to a wide range of audiences.
4. Provide Support and Sponsorships
Once you’ve connected with potential franchisees, it’s important to provide them with the resources and support they need to make their decision. Offer financing options, provide helpful information on the franchising process, and ensure they feel valued and encouraged.
5. Create Strategic Alliances and Connect with Centers of Influence
Seek out the people and organizations with diverse prospects. For instance, check out the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, the National Black MBA Association, the Cultural Greek Leadership Conferences, 100 Black Men of America and so many other independent groups (you would be surprised how many there are!) You can even ask AI ChatGPT to show you ethnic organizations in your city and get a list. Once you identify the groups, find their leadership, use LinkedIn to reach out, and show up!
Creating a Culture of Inclusion
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that when you want to attract diverse franchisees, it’s not just about finding individuals who will represent your franchise well, but it’s also about creating a culture of inclusion. Take the time to get to know potential franchisees from different backgrounds, understand their values and goals, and be supportive of their needs. There are so many simple ways to foster diversity in franchising.
Leveraging your existing network, attending relevant events, and developing partnerships are great ways to open your franchise to a broader audience and attract more diverse franchisees. By taking a targeted networking strategy, you can foster amazing relationships that open doors to communities of people who did not even know franchising was possible for them. With the right approach, you can create a more inclusive, profitable and successful franchise brand.