Network: noun; a group or system of interconnected people or things
Network is a word that’s synonymous with franchising. And rightly so. Many people choose to become a part of a franchise network for the support such a structure can provide. Often, prospective franchise partners are looking to supplement their own skills gaps and seeking reassurance that vital industry expertise exists within the collective. It’s a smart way to ensure their own success. Put simply, it’s about what the network can do for the individual.
But what if a network could be more than that? What if, ‘network’ could still embody support but also bring prosperity, business diversity and strengthened service offering? What if those within it put as much emphasis on what they put in as what they get out?
You’ve heard the saying one for all and all for one? Well, there may not be any Musketeers involved but the sentiment within ERA is no less potent! Far from a group of people united simply by a brand or by a desire to access a support system, a glance into the network reveals a group of interconnected business owners working towards a common goal. Dedicated professionals who believe that the success of the collective is just as important as the success of the individual.
“People often talk about franchise networks being like family and that’s certainly true for ERA. It’s why we set such high standards for the people looking to join us. The momentum and drive from within is a testament to the fabulous people we have in the business – from my team here at head office to our franchise partners themselves. The support, communication, openness and interdependency within the network is really where our achievement lies. I truly believe that our success is not down to any one individual but down to us all working as one,” explains Rob Allison, UK Managing Director.
ERA franchise partners do much more than support one another, they strategically align to contribute to each other’s business growth. The unique structure of the franchise sees Business Development Managers, Client Relationship Managers and Cost Centre Specialists co-exist in a climate of mutual benefit. Analytical experts and those with decades of niche sector knowledge promote their expertise to those who excel at sales and business development. Whilst those with unrivalled CRM and BDM skills utilise the wealth of experts in the network to allow them to target clients in virtually any sector or industry of any complexity.
Far from working in competition or even isolation, the ERA network thrives on active, deliberate and planned collaboration. It’s the life-force of the franchise. But it’s not until you see it in action that you truly appreciate the strength of the relationships and bonds of mutual respect and friendships that have been built over months and years.
“People often talk about franchise networks being like family and that’s certainly true for ERA. It’s why we set such high standards for the people looking to join us. The momentum and drive from within is a testament to the fabulous people we have in the business – from my team here at head office to our franchise partners themselves.”
Soon-to-be franchise partner, David, both embodies this super-culture and caught a unique glimpse of it when he attended ERA’s annual conference just a few weeks ago. David doesn’t train and launch his franchise until January 2018; as a C-suite executive, his corporate responsibilities will take six months to fulfil. But David is so certain of his future with ERA that he’s already signed his franchise agreement. What’s more, he emphatically believes in the power of the network and aims to become a valued member, known for his knowledge, enthusiasm and considerable skill, well in advance of his launch:
“What attracted me most to ERA was the sheer strength of the collective network. The knowledge and power ERA commands as a procurement entity is internationally renowned; and it’s each individual franchise partner’s ability and willingness to both leverage and participate in the grand scheme that makes the business so successful.
“Naturally, I’ve been to Head Office and spoken to many people over to phone to start making myself known. But the opportunity to attend the annual conference and meet almost every single consultant under one roof was one that I wasn’t going to miss! Even though I already knew it would be there, the buzz over the course of the day was infectious. Business being done in every corner, over every coffee – and with a genuine sense of camaraderie and fondness between colleagues. I’m more excited than ever to be joining this extraordinary group of professionals.”
This forward-thinking culture hasn’t come about by accident or through any happy coincidences. It’s always been the strategy of ERA to empower individual franchise partners to increase the turnover and profitability of their own businesses in order to grow the franchise as a whole, rather than by adding endless numbers of new business owners to network. By focussing on quality, passion, drive and a desire to be part of something ‘bigger’, the franchise has maintained an integrity and an identity that sets it apart the world over.
And the status quo today is the result of twenty years’ dedication and commitment by the Board of Directors the head office team and the franchise partners themselves to building that reality. With close to a 100% turnout, the ERA annual conference is proof, were it needed, that when a franchisor truly engages with its network, individual goals align to become a powerful company vision.