In it together

It's never going to be all plain sailing. Problems of all shapes, scales and sizes will come along during the lifetime of your business.

In it together

It’s never going to be all plain sailing. Problems of all shapes, scales and sizes will come along during the lifetime of your business. Being able to weather the storm depends on various factors, not least of which, is the level of support you have around you. For independent business owners, this can spell disaster, but for franchisees, it’s often when the underlying model of their business comes into its own. 

It’s a well-used example, but one that is worth repeating. Statistics show that around half of all independent start-ups fail within five years, whereas the 2018 bfa NatWest franchise survey highlighted the commercial failure rate of franchisee businesses at less than 10%. So, what is it that insulates franchisees in times of crisis?

First and foremost, there’s the obvious benefit of a proven model, which, generally speaking, has stood the test of time before its founders chose to expand through franchising. And, unless you’re one of the first to join a new franchise, the already successful model will have been replicated numerous times over, across the country. This level of refinement brings with it a robustness the likes of which independent businesses can only dream of. From geographical nuances to staffing problems and system upgrades – you can rest assured that someone, somewhere, has experienced a problem and together with the franchisor, worked to not only resolve the issue but roll out preventative and even enhancement measures for the benefit of the entire network.

When it comes to hurdles on a more national scale, an example of which I’m sure I don’t need to give right now, the overarching foresight and support of a franchisor can prove vital for survival. Just as it’s the individual franchisee’s responsibility to focus on the growth and success of their own business on a local level, the franchisor is responsible for the wide-angle, long-range view. And this includes being ahead of the curve when it comes to crisis management. Clearly, there are some things that can’t be mitigated but coordinating a company-wide response, national marketing and PR campaigns designed to support and reassure customers as well as the agility to pivot the supply of products and services, where possible, are benefits that a franchisee should be able to rely on in times of need. Our ability, and the speed at which we were able, to move all of our tutoring services online during the COVID-19 outbreak is something about which I remain incredibly proud. The ‘all for one and one for all’ mentality across our global network has really been something to behold.

Supply chain safety is something that is often overlooked in business but yet again, it’s an area where franchisees have the edge. Generally, bulk buying ensures preferential rates and, as a large and valued customer, franchisors will receive prior notice of limitation on supply as well as any bottlenecks likely to be caused by shipping, import or domestic travel restrictions. This ability to forward-plan and protect supply will lessen the impact on franchisees. Those who manufacture their own products will be able plan for shortages, over-produce and effectively stockpile, so that supply to the network remains largely unaffected. Thankfully, as a service-based business, this isn’t something we’ve had to navigate at Tutor Doctor but it’s certainly worth discussing with a franchisor if you’re thinking of investing into a product-based business.

Unlike their standalone counterparts, franchisees also benefit from being part of a much larger picture. Often, a franchisor’s infrastructure will include teams of experts across all business disciplines who will be mobilised to support the brand from the top down when things get tough. Clearly, franchisees also have each other to turn to for moral support and insightful advice from those who have likely ‘been there, done that’ when a particular problem arises.  

All Tutor Doctor franchisees know that they are in business for themselves but never by themselves. It’s something we pride ourselves on and forms a core part of our culture and values as a franchise business. The beauty of the franchise industry is that, no matter the sector or industry you operate in, we really are in it together. And altogether stronger as a result.

Frank Milner
Frank Milner