Preparing your franchise business for upcoming challenges

To keep your business flourishing, don't follow the trends. Set them.

Preparing your franchise business for upcoming challenges

2023 will be hard for all businesses here in the UK. With the 40-year-high inflation, the political instability and all the uncertainties around the housing market, the interest rates and the fiscal policy, one thing is clear. We should be prepared for a very volatile year. To survive the upcoming turbulent year, you will need some preparation. Here is all you need to do.

Make a decision: Scale or hit the brakes

Being a business owner is all about tough decisions. Decisions that can make or break your business. In times like these, taking things into your own hands and sticking to your plan is what counts. When all is said and done, you have two options – reinvest and scale your business in the hopes you will profit from the shrinking economy, or hit the brakes and let the storm pass. There is no wrong answer. The only bad move is not taking a decision, or even worse – making one and not sticking to it. No one knows your business better than you, so whether you should scale or hit the breaks is determined by various factors. For example, are your clients going to be able to afford your products? Is your market stable? Do you have long-term contracts? While you can’t predict with a hundred percent accuracy whether your business will stay steady, you can make an informed guess based on your analysis from Q3 this year. The 40-year-high inflation is not from yesterday, you know. Your customers have already shown their behaviour during crisis periods.

Invest in the people who want to grow with the right training

While you might think that you will save some money by relieving some of your employees from duty, you are actually making a huge mistake. Naturally, keeping morale high is the least of your problems if you can’t afford to pay salaries. However, if the point is to save some money because of the volatile market, getting rid of already trained professionals is suicide, especially with a record labour shortage in the UK. If you begin shortening your stuff, be prepared to keep this plan for at least two to three years. Moreover, morale as a whole will fall, and many of your best employees will jump ship without hesitation in fear of being next on your list of termination. A better solution is to solidify your employees’ trust in you by investing in their betterment. Use the spare time they will get from the lack of workload to train them and make them more efficient. Invest and promote those who are keen to become better. This way, once your business gets back on track, you will already have one well-oiled, cohesive team that will skyrocket your profits.

Set out processes and regulations

Reinvesting in your employees and franchisees means you will have to regulate their performance and optimise all processes within the company. To do so, your first step is to know your end goal. Make it realistic but ambitious. Next, make a draft of the workflow process. Don’t be a dictator and ask for your partner’s and employees’ input. After all, they are the ones who will use the process every day, and they can optimise it even better. Next, implement all changes one by one for a testing period to see if this truly makes the work more efficient. Finally, when all is done, you can put the new processes into use. If all of this is done with the spirit of collaboration with your franchisees and employees, regulating them won’t be an issue.

Invest in quality and uniqueness

Generic business is dying out, so if you want to stay afloat during the challenging year ahead, you need to stand out. At Fantastic Services, we always follow our client’s expectations and take notes whenever they ask for a service we don’t offer. The only way to survive a volatile market is innovation and flexibility to follow customers’ demands. That’s why we managed to provide our viral disinfection and other COVID-related services just a week after the lockdown began. Thus we stood afloat while many other home service providers went down for good. So to keep your business flourishing, don’t follow the trends. Set them.

Aim at low-hanging fruit

Selling something doesn’t always mean it’s hard to do or make. For example, everyone can clean their home, yet many prefer to delegate this job to others. The same goes for every household choir, no matter how easy it is. It’s no different for every industry. It’s usually the most mundane thing that people hate doing. So, often, the low-hanging fruit is what will make or break your bank. Find the easy, low-effort products and services in your market that people prefer not to do themselves, and you will go through the upcoming hardship effortlessly.

Be where your clients are – online

Naturally, for your business to survive, people need to know you are there, ready to take care of their problems. That’s actually true even when there are no crises. So, you need to be where your clients are. That means you have to have a significant presence online, as that’s where people hang out these days. Your website is a fine landing page, but not so good for reaching out. So, instead, be part of the community, make an effort to give them extra value, and solve their problems for free by providing them with advice on neighbourhood Facebook groups or other social forums. Most times, people will try, fail and ask you to fix their problem. So be a friendly neighbour, and people will come along themselves. That’s a recipe for success.

Surviving the upcoming crisis will be hard, there is no doubt there. Still, owning a business and being an entrepreneur is not about sailing in calm waters while fish are jumping in your boat on their own. Being the captain of the proverbial ship means you need to be firm and confident, stick by your crew, and be able to tame even the harshest storm.

Rune Sovndahl
Rune Sovndahl