This time last year we looked at how the franchise sector was going to recover post pandemic. This year, I will run through what franchisors can and should do to remain attractive to prospects and what prospective franchisees should be looking at when choosing a franchise.
The main focus for most franchisors remains recruitment. This article is not about the best marketing approach or how to get more leads, but rather I will explore what franchisors should focus on in the background that can aid lead conversion and therefore successful growth.
My point is that no matter how fantastic your sales pitch may be, if your house is not in order, then the sales pitch alone is unlikely to yield the required results. And we know that all prospective franchisees are encouraged to speak to franchisor’s existing franchisees as part of their due diligence process. If you are a franchisor, what can and should you be doing right now? Below are a few suggestions.
The state of your current network. How are your franchisees doing? Is your support adequate? Are there any quick wins that you can add to help your network during this difficult time? In April we will see the annual wave of national minimum wage increases. If your business is labour intensive, are your franchisees ready for this?
Support your network. Are any of your franchisees flat-lining or struggling? What can you do to support them? Is it a question of additional support or can you help to transition them out of the network in a supportive manner? Your prospects will talk to your existing franchisees and there is no stronger marketing than a recommendation from an existing franchisee.
Update your marketing and sales materials
When was last time your reviewed your sales and marketing collateral? Have the figures been updated to reflect how your business and the network performed during COVID and since? Are there any anomalies that need to be highlighted?
Have you reviewed your supply chain and existing contracts to assess your risk? Is there anything you can do to spread the risk? With the cost-of-living crisis, is there a need to adapt your product or service proposition to your end client so that it remains current and attractive? Even a small change can have a big incremental effect!
If you are considering franchising as your option, don’t let the current economic climate put you off. There will always be a crisis of some sort and historically, franchising as an industry has indeed done very well even during tough times and recessions. However, if you are about to invest in a franchise, it is crucial to do your due diligence. In addition to the usual due diligence questions, you may wish to consider the following:
Is the business model current?
How has the business model been updated or adjusted (if at all) to account for the various crises that we are dealing with? Increasing marketing spend, although certainly useful, will not be sufficient if that is the only change that the franchisor has implemented.
Is the business model sustainable?
Is the product/service a “nice to have” or is it an essential? If it is a “nice to have” what is the franchisor doing to ensure that the demand does not drop? If the service is essential, can the demand continue to be met in a sustainable way?
Is the business model profitable?
With the various adjustments that we need to allow for, is the business still profitable and what is the projected break-even point? This needs to be tested very carefully because during the times of economic uncertainty or recession, a small decrease in sales or an increase in costs can have a big impact on whether the business blooms or goes bust. Figures will need to be assessed even more carefully than before.
Franchising would not be as successful as it is without the franchisees, but the success of franchisees is underpinned by the dedication and investment (not just financial but effort, human and innovation) provided by franchisors. Taking early steps now to review your strategy and protect your business and network will inevitably lead to further growth.