At the time of writing, the Corona virus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the country.
At the time of writing, the Corona virus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the country. This comes at a time when many businesses are still reeling from the impact of the first lockdown – particularly smaller independent businesses who are unable to benefit from the back up of a Franchise Support Team. For anyone who is currently looking to go into business, it is worth bearing in mind that there is strong evidence that franchising can contribute significantly to its ultimate success. In addition, the resilience of franchising has enabled many franchisees to take advantage of expansion opportunities, and actually grow their business.
Expanding your business during a pandemic may seem like an extraordinary concept, but it is possible, particularly if the nature of the business results in recurring income. For example, no matter what is going on in the world, people still need somewhere to live, whether that is through renting a property or home ownership. The primary source of income for Belvoir’s franchisees comes from rents, and despite our offices being closed for two months earlier this year, Belvoir emerged from lockdown in a stronger position than ever, on track to record its 24th year of unbroken turnover and profit growth.
There is no magic wand that can be waved to transform the fortunes of a business during a crisis such as a pandemic. The key to success lies in the skills and decisions of an experienced Senior Management Team, who have the ability to respond and adapt quickly to a fast-changing situation. Some tough decisions must inevitably be made, and there may well need to be temporary and permanent cut backs in some key areas, but importantly, it is also necessary to assess each situation individually and to pour additional resources into those areas where they will add the most value, such as that of franchise support.
When choosing a franchise, research how well the franchisor communicates with franchisees. During a crisis it is vital that enhanced communication, utilising as many technological advances as possible, is implemented. It is vital that franchisees are constantly kept informed of any changes that may potentially affect their business, and that they also receive practical advice on how these challenges can be overcome. I am incredibly proud of the efforts of the Franchise Support Team at Belvoir’s Central Office, and also the way that all of our franchisees within the Belvoir, Northwood, Newton Fallowell and Lovelle networks continue to rise to the challenges of Covid-19.
Inevitably, and sadly, some independent businesses will not survive the fallout of this pandemic. However, this is where being part of a reputable franchise can really come into its own, as franchisees may be able to grow their businesses by acquiring competing independent businesses who may be looking to exit the market. Some franchisees within the Belvoir Group have done just that and as a result of these acquisitions they are now turning over more than a million pounds. In 2013 Belvoir launched its Assisted Acquisition Programme, to help franchisees grow their businesses through acquisition. Interestingly, our Acquisition Team remained extremely busy throughout lockdown, as they researched all the exciting new opportunities that were being presented in a consolidating market. Acquisition remains a key business growth strategy and in October 2020 we announced the successful acquisition of our 100th independent agent.
When choosing a franchise make sure you enquire how you may be able to grow your business in the future. How will the franchisor help you to maximise the potential of your investment and hard work when it comes to the time you want to sell your business? Does the franchisor regularly research and develop new income streams for franchisees? For example, are you able to perhaps develop a business within a business through a strategic alliance that will benefit all parties? in July 2020 Belvoir entered into a strategic alliance with The Nottingham Building Society, which opened new sales opportunities for franchisees in Nottingham, Leicester and Cambridgeshire.
Franchising is an incredibly resilient business model, and with the benefit of an experienced Senior Management Team, plus enhanced levels of franchise support, and strong recurring income there is every opportunity for a business to not only survive the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, but also to enjoy business growth.