6 Steps to Franchise Success in an Urban Area

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Karim Webb - Buffalo Wild Wings

For years businesses have been reluctant to move into inner city areas like South Central Los Angeles.

Concerns like: can we make a profit, will we need to deal with vandalism, gangs, and stealing, etc. have plagued these areas, with businesses ultimately opting to not try it. But those days are over.

Buffalo Wild Wings Franchisee, Karim Webb gives tips for not only opening a franchise in an urban area, but how to make it thrive.

1. Go straight to the politicians

Local politicians in under-served communities control a greater portion of available resources than other areas. This is due to a lack of job-providing, profit generating enterprises that would garner community support. Therefore, politicians are seen as the key to upward mobility and success.

So if you’re considering operating a Franchise in an “urban area,” first meet with local political leaders. You’ll find most of them to be welcoming to the idea of a new business coming into their district.

Even more so to you, because you went out of your way to seek him or her out. You would be surprised how many small business people do not take advantage of the leverage to be gained by engaging local governmental representatives.

By engaging you will learn about new commercial development plans (if any), tax credits if applicable, benefits to be gained by doing business in an “enterprise or under-served zone,” workforce development assistance and other potential cost saving opportunities. And with their backing you are already a step ahead.

2. Engage community leaders

There are usually a few stand-out non-profit organizations headed by recognizable and influential leaders in under-served communities.

Learn their causes, and begin the process of establishing a long-lasting relationship based on mutual support – you for their cause: them for your business. You’ll learn the decision making and mood of the community is shaped by these community leaders and elected officials.

3. Hire locally

Remember that hiring locally does not equate to having lower standards. It means being committed to interview as many applicants as it takes, from as many local resources as you can find to fill as many roles on your team as possible.

You may not be able to hire your entire team from local resources, but be mindful your credibility with elected officials and community leaders is at stake. They are interested in jobs for their constituents.

4. Be visible

Once you’ve established relationships, keep them. Be visible. Although operating your business effectively must be priority number one, make time to stay engaged. Attend campaign events for supportive legislators. Show up at press conferences coordinated by local organizations. Find a local cause you can support and be active doing so.

You’ll find support for your business almost every time you meet someone new. This is grass roots marketing while at the same time making a difference, showing up and being engaged. A win – win.

5. Coach them up

In your business, prepare to motivate your team to execute at a high level. Be clear and consistent about your standards. Tell your team members about the transferable skills they are learning. You are leading a team of which many are products of under-performing schools, less than desirable parenting and substandard living conditions.

You’ve got to develop your skills as a leader. Your team, just like the community you’re doing business in, needs inspiration.

6. Tell your story

If you’ve done 1-5 effectively, your business is probably successful. So tell your story.

It’s a story that will encourage others to do what you’re doing. Bringing more commerce to the area. Helping the tide to rise, lifting all boats.

Karim Webb is a partner in PCF Restaurant Management and a Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar Franchisee.

For more information visit:www.buffalowildwings.com