Engagement is at the heart of what we’re trying to become as an organisation
We talk a lot about ‘engagement’ at the British Franchise Association. Last year, I announced my big three objectives, which were growth, promotion of franchising and engagement, so you can see it’s right at the very top of my list of priorities.
I thought it would be good to explore why this is so important for me personally, for us as an organisation and for the wider industry.
The reason engagement is such an area of focus for me and the association is that it’s key for all of us, both online and in real life.
Inviting feedback and engaging in dialogue is how you build and strengthen relationships.
Particularly in these times, where so many of us are working remotely, the building of an online community with shared goals can be incredibly powerful, from lobbying governments to crowdfunding investment. Now, more than ever, it can start with a click and end up changing the world.
We place so much value on engagement as a concept because it’s at the heart of what we’re trying to become as an organisation.
Our foundations are in standards and I believe that, while this was necessary for the industry and we will never lose sight of this core guiding principle, it’s time for the bfa to evolve.
As part of this organic transformation, we’re building on the way in which we communicate, whether that’s online, through the virtual events we’re holding and, when the time comes for us to return to them, through face-to-face events and meetings.
My vision for the bfa is an organisation that keeps a focus on all the important factors our members look to us for, but that actively invites a two-way dialogue.
I see us as a hub where the whole industry can share information and participate in meaningful dialogue.
I would like to pause for a moment and think about the word ‘meaningful’ too.
We recently posted an exercise we carried out in a team meeting around what each member would have as a topic at their own TED Talk.
The exercise was only a bit of fun, but we posted it on LinkedIn and it became a fascinating thread due to the contributions of others. Ideas have been shared and it’s sparked some exciting discussions about potential ideas for future content too.
Reaching out to non-members
We’re also making a bigger effort to engage with those outside our membership.
During the pandemic, we’ve been operating the Franchise Collective, a support forum on LinkedIn for all franchisors, not just bfa members.
We also run our Buy a Franchise seminars aimed at those new to the world of franchising and considering their options.
We will continue to expand these services. In the meantime, we warmly invite discussion, no matter what stage you’re at in your franchise journey.
Pip Wilkins is CEO of the British Franchise Association