President & CEO, Cathy Thorpe, discusses how Nurse Next Door has prepared for millennial franchisees.
Millennials in franchising — some welcome it, some are hesitant about it and some are trying to make sense of it. I am not overly surprised though that millennials want to buy franchises. In Dr. John P. Hayes’ article, he highlights that “millennials want to buy franchises — 15 percent of attendees at the 2015 International Franchise Expo were under the age of 30 — and franchising makes perfect sense for them, based on their values and skill sets.” Both have something to offer the other.
Franchising offers millennials the autonomy to run their own business, receive mentorship, and access to guidance and support. Franchising also offers choice. There are thousands of franchises to choose from. Whether it be helping people eat right, organizing homes or providing home care — franchising offers selection and the ability to define one’s purpose through their business.
On the flipside, millennials have a lot to offer to franchisors. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s report on millennial generation research, millennials are self-confident, optimistic, multi-taskers, tech-savvy, have a willingness to try new things and have an entrepreneurial mindset. There are some negative qualities noted in the report as well, but no group is perfect. This generation brings key qualities to the franchising table. What stands out to me is their pursuit of purpose, as noted in Karl Moore’s article. I can relate to this because before joining Nurse Next Door, I was in search of the same thing. Joining the team was an easy decision for me because I connect with why this company is doing what they are doing and I believe in its core purpose to make lives better.
We have an idea of why millennials in franchising work. We also know that millennials currently make up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce and are the next wave of franchisees. So, how are franchisors preparing for them? How are franchisors preparing to connect with them, support them and ensure that they remain engaged?
Over the past 18 months, Nurse Next Door has identified areas of opportunities in our system, learned from them and has taken on exciting initiatives to improve our relevance. Here is how Nurse Next Door is preparing for millennial franchisees:
Build a Strong Online Brand Presence:
Two years ago, Nurse Next Door’s online brand presence was minimal — we had 1,078 Facebook followers. We knew that we had to do a better job at showing our story and connecting with the online community. We focused on amplifying our social media presence through videos, blogs and visual content. Today, we have over 13K Facebook followers and growing. Whether you are selling burgers, home care or cleaning services, it’s important in today’s marketing space that your brand is digitally accessible. You need to show current (and future) clients and franchisees your relevance, which includes millennials who are expected to make up the largest online audience this year.
Leverage Modern Technology:
It should come as no surprise that millennials are tech-savvy. If you are not using what is currently out there, it will be hard to support a generation of business owners who are ahead of you in terms of technological usage and to remain relevant. At Nurse Next Door, we have been exploring ways to unify our technology and strengthen engagement. One way that we are doing this is through Google. We recently integrated the Google platform to connect our Leadership Team, franchisees and caregivers. Google will allow us to accelerate how we share best practices. It will also enable us to design user-generated content to equip franchisees and their caregivers with the best training. We consider this critical to our evolving business needs and in ensuring that our system is flexible, adaptable and advantageous.
Create Growth Opportunities:
Nurse Next Door’s Leadership Team wants franchisees to have a bigger stake in our brand and to increase alignment in brand standards. We want our system to be fully connected to who we are, help us decide what our future is going to look like and how we are going to get there. We are supporting this initiative by revamping our Franchise Advisory Council (FAC). The FAC is a forum made up of our most successful franchisees who work with our Leadership Team to foster system growth. Instead of just hosting four group calls each year, for the first-time ever, the FAC will help create our two-year strategic plan and contribute to something greater than themselves. To ensure that we have a diverse group of leaders on the FAC, we also asked two millennial franchisees to participate. We are excited about this opportunity because our franchisees will discover what is possible for themselves, their business and our brand.
Provide Adaptable Training:
We realized that we could do a better job at providing structured training materials to our franchisees to make their lives better. As a result, last fall we launched an eLearning program for caregivers. This program offers a flexible and convenient way to train caregivers. We received positive feedback about the program, especially because it saves franchisees time and effort that would otherwise be spent on repetitive training. We believe that eLearning is an attractive platform for millennial franchisees because it’s scalable and adaptable. As a result, we will develop more eLearning courses in sales, customer service, and self-leadership to build our eLearning library.
To date, approximately 10 percent of Nurse Next Door franchisees fall under the millennial umbrella, and we are seeing more interest from this generation. We believe this is a result of our brand, our purpose in making lives better and our ability to show, not just tell our story. Franchising can be an appealing option for millennials if franchisors give them a reason to be interested. Has Nurse Next Door done a great job at marketing to this generation? We have not, but we see this as an area of opportunity for 2017.
I for one am excited about what millennials can bring to the franchising table. Are you?
If you’re interested in learning more about our franchise opportunity, fill out the form to the right of this page.