Being a franchisee means more than just knowing how to run a business. There’s also talking to customers and working with them to solve their problems. Within your store, you’re working closely with employees so that they can help your store perform well. You also have to work closely with local and national suppliers of the items you need. In many ways, being a franchise owner is very much about being a people person. With this in mind, you’re expected to interact a lot with the community around you.
However, no franchise is an island. Just as much as people come to you for support on their needs, whether it’s auto repair, aftermarket accessories or other services, they expect you to come to them for whatever reason. More importantly, they expect you to be a participant to your city, town or county’s local activities. By being an active supporter of your local community, you become akin to an institution that people can feel comfortable around. You’re able to build relationships with your customers in this way. As a result, the Moran Family of Brands puts community service and contributions as a key aspect to its own franchising philosophy. Here are some ways that you can give back as a franchisee:
- Promoting other businesses as often as you can
Now you may think that working with other businesses can be a risky endeavor. However, communities grow and become stronger not through the individual actions of each business, but how they work together. Take the time to visit your neighborhood businesses as both a franchisee and a paying customer. It is through buying local that you’re able to develop a strong connection with the town’s businesses. Don’t be afraid to take things a step further by providing links on your website to them, or using social media to post information about them from time to time.
- Set up a collection jar for your favorite charity
A little collection goes a long way. With charity donations, you’re able to give back without having to worry about taking too long to do so. Picking a prominent spot to collect contributions from customers can be a major factor in showing you care about the community’s well being. You may also want to collaborate with your franchisor, since sometimes it has a charity that it favors. For example, Moran has worked extensively with the Alzheimer’s Foundation in the past.
- Having employees volunteer on a weekend project
A good way to show you’re giving back is to get involved in some community project. Your employees can play a major role in this. If it’s within reason, close the shop for a day while you have your employees work on some project, such as cleaning up a beach or repainting a building. If there was a recent natural disaster, providing relief support is also helpful. Doing these acts of community service makes you both visible and credible to those around you. This can be a great way build trust in your franchise.
- Sponsor a local kids’ sports team
In many towns and counties, there are organized youth sports that are played involving lots of families and teams. These teams often needs funding to get the equipment they need to compete at a local level and beyond, along with publicity to show they are a team to watch. By sponsoring them, you’re providing them with the funds that are necessary to complete this. In turn, you’re also getting some bonus promotion by having your franchise’s name emblazoned on their jerseys.
- Lend your skills
You may not think that your franchise has much to offer in the way of skills to the general community outside of business, but you’d be wrong. In fact, many businesses would love to take advantage of the services that you offer, even in auto repair stores such as Mr. Transmission and Milex Complete Auto Care. Providing a class on road safety to children, teaching drivers how to find out if something is wrong with their car and offering inspections can be one way of giving back to the community in certain ways.
- Build a house for a family
One of the greatest bonds anyone has to a community is the house they own, but not every family can afford one. This is especially the case after the Great Recession. However, many charitable organizations such as Habitat for Humanity offer built homes to families in need. These homes are usually built on weekends, and most of these charities allow you to organize your employees so that they can be involved. It’s a great way of really showing that you’re interested in the well-being of your community.
- Participate in “shop local” events
While you may be a franchise that is supported by a large brand name, you’re still a small business that’s based locally. Showing those credentials will make people in your locale more comfortable around you, and will be more likely to come visit as a customer as well as a supporter. Keep tabs on community events that encourage residents to visit and shop local stores. Small Business Saturday events can also help you achieve this goal as well. In being involved, you boost business, provide support to the community and improve the local economy.
- Sponsor an event
Speaking of events, your community often holds celebrations and ceremonies on a regular basis to bring people together. This can be something such as holiday parades, summer cookouts, local festivals and other activities. All of these require funding to function properly. By adding your name to the sponsors list, you’re providing communities a way to make these things happen. In return, your name will be found all over the place, providing some form of publicity.
- Create a scholarship
Higher education has gotten increasingly expensive for young adults and their families. However, there is one way you can help students: providing a yearly merit scholarship for students that need the financial support. Providing this can work even more to your favor by tailoring the reward so that it’s for aspiring students in your business field. For example, it could be for aspiring entrepreneurs or those looking to become auto mechanics. Either way, even a small reward can help pay for books and other expenses.
Looking for more ways to be a community business? Visit the Moran Family of Brands website!