Read that advice again. We literally mean that you should think of yourself as a meerkat, continually popping your head up and scanning your environment. Without focusing on that metaphor round-the-clock, you probably won’t succeed.
We’re not over-egging the pudding here. There’s a vast difference between self-employment as a franchisee and the world of employment as an employee. You may have been used to being spoon-fed information and leads, whilst drawing your salary in your defined role that came with a fancy job description and perhaps even a company car. That all stops the moment you leave the world of employment. You will have to get used to that, and do that quickly.
Whilst your franchisor will give you some support along the way, and provide you with a business model that has been proven to make a franchise business work and blossom, it will be your responsibility to grow your business to the levels you desire and that takes work. You’re the one that needs to make the system zing, by getting your teeth sunk into the tasks at hand.
Being a meerkat is a great image to focus on.
You will have to spot the leads on the horizon and home in on them. Self-employment as a franchisee is not about working for yourself, or even for the franchisor, but about working for your customers. To do that, you need to seek and tease them out. Your franchisor should be able to show you how to identify your potential customer base and then engage with them.
If you’re truly hungry, you will go after potential customers with gusto and, let’s face it, you should be hungry. You’re not going to get a more-or-less guaranteed salary to live off anymore; you need to bring work in, to maintain and improve the amount of disposable income you earn. If you’re not prepared to demonstrate your hunger in practice, you will fail to achieve the targets that you could hit, if you really went for it. If there’s a famine on the customer front, that will result in failure for the business.
So how are you going to find these customers?
Well, scanning the horizon should lead you to discover possible referrers of business. It should highlight various groups that you could join or follow on social media and networking meetings that you could attend, to meet the right people.
It should also allow you to discover other marketing options – everything from sticking a poster up in your local newsagent’s shop, to creating a blog on your website that you can pack with keywords, to try to entice customers via the search engines.
Aspray’s keen-eyed meerkats also keep their eyes on the local press, noting where weather impacts might have caused property damage, or where there’s been a collision that has damaged a building. They look out for property owners and landlords, doing their research online, but also by scanning the streets they walk down, where they might spot letting agents or facility management companies via signage. They have a nose for where there might be a property insurance claim.
They also make sure their ears are as good as their eyes, listening out for clues to possible customer leads that are dropped into conversation in places as diverse as the village pub or the golf course clubhouse. People like to discuss mishaps and disasters. Meerkats are alert to that and listen out for it.
But take this on board too.
Meerkats live in communities and depend on one another for survival. Every single Aspray franchisee should be playing an active part in their community, getting their name known as someone that can be relied upon, who supports grass-root causes by giving their time, energy and even financial support occasionally, by sponsoring the local cricket team, or offering a raffle prize at a school fete.
The payback may not be instant, but long-term growth in the franchising “wild” comes through generating the word-of-mouth recommendation that can only come from getting involved with people, helping them when they are at their lowest ebb and going beyond the call of duty, knowing that this could produce the holy grail of franchising – a customer recommendation.
Unless you become that meerkat, sticking up your head up and out of the hole, you won’t get very far. Keep that imagery in mind and you should reach a position very high up the franchising food chain.
Further information about Aspray’s franchise opportunity can be found at www.asprayfranchise.co.uk or call 0800 077 6705.