Every business has had to rethink the way they operate in the past year-plus, no matter their size or their location. That has certainly been the case in franchising, as brands spanning across the nation had to monitor various best practices based on differing guidelines from state to state. For many brands, franchise support is among the most important selling points, and that was never more important than during the pandemic and its resulting uncertainty.
At Wild Birds Unlimited, support has always been paramount to their success. This allowed the Franchise Support Center, based in Indiana, to react quickly in its mission to guide franchisees across the U.S. and Canada to sustain their success and set themselves up for the future.
Now, that future is the focus.
Hearing Your Voice
This past spring, Wild Birds Unlimited set the tone for the coming period of post-pandemic business with “Town Hall” meetings, allowing franchisees the chance to inform the Franchise Support Center what was working and what further support was needed.
Eight virtual town hall meetings were held – split up by region to offer more localized support – allowing the franchisor to clearly communicate with the business owners about day-to-day efforts and challenges. Across those eight meetings, attendance showed the importance and timeliness of the town halls with roughly three quarters of all franchisees present.
Regional Coaches worked with the Communications Department and FAC members to determine the most important topics that franchisees wanted and needed to address. Those franchisees had a chance to discuss a variety of Wild Birds Unlimited operations, including:
- how the franchise addressed supply chain issues during the pandemic and fixing for the future;
- the usefulness of the “MyWBU” online commerce platform and its use moving forward;
- marketing strategies now that pandemic-specific communications are waning; and
- the roll-out of WBU’s new point-of-sale system.
An Effort Worth Continuing
With communication top of mind, Wild Birds Unlimited was committed to providing its franchisees a voice, not only during the town halls, but post meeting to learn what was most useful from the event. After each conference, franchisees participated in a survey and provided commentary on how the town halls aided them or needed correcting in the future.
The overwhelming majority of responses were positive, with 83 percent of survey respondents indicating the events improved their knowledge on the topics covered and 92 percent saying they plan to attend future town hall meetings. Written comments included a wide range of positive feedback and suggestions for future town halls. The most common included appreciation for the opportunity to be able to ask specific questions and get real-time, personal answers. Common suggestions included a desire to provide breakout rooms to offer a small group discussion on topics to be even more specific when needed.
Commitment to Support
When franchises speak of support, they often do so with fixed systems in mind. That support is often a blanket term for buying power, customer support, and technology. At Wild Birds Unlimited, those areas are covered with the addition of a franchisor dedicated to constant reevaluation.
These town hall meetings and other conferences are a major part of that commitment. No franchisee is the same, and neither is every WBU store across the country. While the Wild Birds Unlimited system is proven to be among the best frameworks in hobby and pet franchises, there is always room for growth and more particular franchise support.
When franchisees enter the Wild Birds Unlimited family, they do so with the backing of a nationwide network of like-minded business owners and a franchisor dedicated to their success.
To learn more about the training and support WBU franchisees receive in every phase of ownership, contact us today and fill out the form to discover opportunities in your area!