Tips to consider for growing a franchise in uncertain times | Global Franchise
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Tuesday 16th August, 2022

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Tips to consider for growing a franchise in uncertain times

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Tips to consider for growing a franchise in uncertain times

There are still ways for franchisors to find alternative methods to persevere and plan, even with an uncertain future – here’s how

There are still ways for franchisors to find alternative methods to persevere and plan, even with an uncertain future – here’s how.

As franchisors, your view of the future is likely very different than it was at the beginning of the year. Thinking back to the goals you sought to achieve for yourself, your business or the franchising industry in general, it is probably much less clear how or if you can accomplish them in the current landscape.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the game for business owners and franchise professionals around the world, there are still ways for franchisors to find ways to persevere and plan, even with an uncertain future.

While the hallmark of the pandemic has been its unpredictability, what we do know is that franchising has many strengths that make franchise business models better suited to weather the storm in the months and possibly years to come. So many of us look at the uncertain as a negative, but there is an equal chance that it can result in a positive outcome, too.

As our world recovers and business communities work to bounce back, franchisors can look for new pathways and solutions to get franchisees back on their feet and encourage multi-unit investors and entrepreneurs to invest in worthy franchise concepts. The effects on retail real estate, labor, the strength of the franchise model, and the commitment of communities across the globe is enough to get the wheels in motion.

Below are three strategies we developed at Pollo Campero USA to generate franchise recruitment success, that other franchisors can consider as they work to grow their concepts during this COVID-19 pandemic era.

Talk to those who are changing course

When planning for growth during this time, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of all potential candidates; from entrepreneurs to multi-unit operators.

In particular, focus on the experienced multi-unit franchise operators who may want to add an essential business or pandemic- ready brand to their current asset portfolio, or retail industry investors who may be looking to re-allocate their money into proven franchise focused concepts.

“The effects on retail real estate, labor, the strength of the franchise model, and the commitment of communities across the globe is enough to get the wheels in motion”

Use this time to study and become knowledgeable about the effects of COVID-19 on the retail industries, real estate availability, and labor market. You may just find key information to supplement your franchise development efforts.

Reflect on your own strengths

The pandemic has highlighted our individual and collective strengths as a franchise community. It’s clear that the franchise model as a whole has strengths which independent businesses do not have easy access to during uncertain economic times. Use this mindset when considering what strengths your franchise has to offer and what will attract prospective franchisees.

Right from the start, franchise owners have the backing of an entire business support infrastructure, fitted with professionals who have years of experience in nearly every aspect of operating a profitable business model. In many cases, the franchisor support teams can provide the business guidance and resources so that franchise owners won’t need as much experience in their sector than if they were to open an independent business. Franchisees have effectively minimized significant operating risk when relying on a franchise business model that has been proven to be successful over time. Established customer base and brand recognition are also key strengths that won’t leave new franchisees starting from scratch, even when other new businesses are faltering.

When talking to prospective franchise owners about investing in your franchise, highlight these strengths in addition to what your franchise has done to adapt and find relief during the pandemic. What criteria did you meet as an essential business? How did you sustain operations and labor through the journey? Tell your story – the right person may be listening.

Prioritize a community connection

Now more than ever, it is crucial for businesses to create meaningful connections with local communities. COVID-19 has taught us that we are all one team, working toward solutions and recovery together.

Prospective franchise owners want to know how your franchise set itself apart with its values and actions over the last six months. How did you keep your employees safe? What did you offer consumers to help them feel protected with your services? Did you implement initiatives to raise funds or support the community during an incredibly challenging time such as this one?

Not only does shedding light on the goodwill you have done for those you serve speak volumes, but it can be helpful to show your brand’s ability to innovate and overcome challenges. Make your examples as localized as possible – franchise candidates want to know what the brand has been doing in their neighborhood, or how they might also be able to make a positive local impact if they become a franchisee.

The reality today is this: no matter how hard we plan for the future, things can and will change. However, the uncertainty that lies before us does not have to prevent you from growing and expanding your franchise. The last several months have taught us that as franchisors and as businesses owners, we can always adapt and find new solutions.

Familiarizing yourself with retail industry changes, labor trends and challenges while talking to those experiencing them first-hand, reflecting on the strengths of your franchise opportunity and forming meaningful connections with communities create a solid foundation to adjust your current growth plan.

Communities around the world are ready to welcome and support local businesses during this time of need. As you work to grow – even during a challenging period like the pandemic – your new franchisees will in turn become the face of the locally based business movement to rebuild and strengthen communities and economies.

THE AUTHOR

Sam Wong is director for franchising for Pollo Campero USA Corp.

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