These insights on the power of relationships, in growing and sustaining a business, can allow you to bolster your business network for perpetual success.
Did you know that the franchising sector makes up 12 % of South Africa’s GDP? If this is the case, then it’s no surprise that the sector is rife with opportunity. Relationships within the franchising sector are fundamental to business growth and to creating business opportunities.
Here are five insights that can fast track you on the road to success:
- Establish a network
Good businessmen and investors are hard to find. They are certainly not just going to call you up; you need to go to them. Therefore, it is about making an effort to network in different ways and at every opportunity.
Actively track and attend events that are directly related to your industry.
Follow (via LinkedIn for example) like-minded individuals, business mentors and industry moguls and make sure you find opportunities to meet with them, hear their story and learn from their experiences. Don’t forget to share your experiences with them too.
Speak to as many people about your company’s journey or your vision for the future to gain buy-in and, more importantly, to gain exposure for your business to a larger audience.
Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone, in a queue, in a business meeting, at a dinner party; you never know who could become part of your network.
Treat everyone you meet as a potential investor, mentor or partner and stay connected to them.
- Be honest and transparent
There is certainly nothing worse than having a long conversation and spending an afternoon with someone whose words hold no substance. As such, to be authentic and believable means you need to remain honest and transparent.
Don’t only share your successes, share your failures. Overcoming such obstacles shows tenacity and strength so don’t be afraid to speak about challenges.
Be honest about the business’s vision and approach, as each business has a value offering, make sure your objectives are communicated openly.
There is power in communicating challenges, it opens up collaborative effort – even sometimes for people not invested in your business yet – and provides an opportunity to derive solutions.
- Stick to your principles
One of the worst traits a business person can have is letting the money do the talking. Your business can be a multi-million-rand business or a start-up, but if it is not backed by passion and ethics the bottom line means nothing.
Critical to building solid relationships means delivering on your promises. If you tell someone you will call them back, do it. If you tell them you will put them in touch with a supplier, contact, etc. – make sure you deliver.
Remain in touch with new contacts and old ones – make sure you are part of their immediate network. Keep the door open.
- Strike a balance: Give & take advice
Many times, in networking situations, individuals drive their own agenda – focusing on what they want out of the relationship. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. As such, it is key to strike a balance between your agenda and that of the person you are talking to.
Listen, listen and listen. Sometimes, when you just take mental notes, you gain far more insight into the opportunities that this person presents and where you fit into their network.
Everything is about balance. So listen, take notes and find the common ground; the thread that links you and talk to this.
- Support those that support you
In the end, it is all about giving back, showing people you have their backs and supporting them in return goes a long way in demonstrating the value you bring to a relationship.
If someone has given you a lead or advice that has worked, give them the same in return when the opportunity presents itself.
If someone within your own business has shown success, reward them by giving them first option on new business opportunities. For example, if a franchisee is doing very well and showing promise, l present new opportunities to them first. One hand always washes the other, but it is not about tit for tat, rather about supporting those that have the same vision as yourself.
Relationships have a knock-on effect. One good relationship can transpire into hundreds of business connections and a strong network of connected individuals – all telling your story, along with theirs. In fact, most good businesses are grown through word of mouth and so, it is imperative that businesses harness the power of networking, for tomorrow’s success.
About the author
Louis Germishuys is the founder and CEO of Galito’s, having started the business in 1996. Prior to this, Louis worked for Nandos – both in the central kitchen and as a franchisee. Today, Louis manages a business that supports 3 000 people, across 130 stores, in 14 countries. With over 26 years’ experience, Louis boasts strategic skills in business expansion, strategic development and management, marketing, sales and fast-casual dining operations. Louis’s vision for the business is to make Galito’s a truly global brand, with bold African roots.