How franchising works in times of uncertainty

The effect of COVID-19 on businesses has been large, with hundreds of independent companies forced to close their doors. In contrast, franchising works: a vast number of franchises have continued to operate and thrive even during some of the most challenging and difficult moments, with entrepreneurs continuing to invest in, and launch, new franchises throughout the UK.

The Great Resignation of the past year has resulted in a large number of employees reconfiguring what their careers look like and helped many to find out what they want out of work. These pandemic epiphanies have undoubtedly contributed to a surging interest in franchising. In all of the doom and gloom over the past couple of years, franchising has proved to be incredibly resilient, with an increase in businesses looking to either grow through the franchise route or individuals looking to invest in a franchise.

Franchising is a relatively quick and easy way to grow a business at very little cost, and there are now more people than ever looking to work for themselves. The pandemic has driven uncertainty in the jobs market and the share of potential franchisees is bigger than ever, with many wanting to take control of their future.

But what is it that helps to protect franchisees against such risk?  There’s no singular reason that being a franchisee is less risky, but it’s the combination of several factors, as outlined below by Chris Wootton, Managing Director of Poppies domestic cleaning franchise.

Tried and tested proven models

By its very nature, franchising offers the security of a proven model and has already been replicated successfully up and down the country. 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 it but roll out preventative measures and maybe even enhancements for the benefit of the entire network.

Specialist knowledge and insight

Franchisors are continually looking to maximise opportunities for their franchisees in their sectors, providing insight and innovation to differentiate themselves from competitors. That could be anything from reviewing industry regulations and legislation, as well as government guidelines, as we all had to adhere to during the pandemic. Whether it’s working to pivot products and services, adapt marketing messages or even put the wheels of a crisis communications plan into motion, the franchisor is working for the common goal – franchisee success.

Strength in numbers

One of the main reasons people choose to invest in a franchise rather than go it alone is the level of training and support received from the franchisor. The support is vital to any new franchisee’s success and it’s something that our business owners say was the reason they chose Poppies as their future. But something equally as important and valuable, especially when the going gets tough, is the support of your fellow franchisees. Franchisees have unlimited access to a network of owners running the exact same business model with a bank of knowledge and experience – ideal for sharing ideas and overcoming challenges.

Increased purchasing powers

Being part of something bigger than yourself is an obvious draw at the best of times but, on a tangible level, franchisees benefit from this ‘strength in numbers’ concept in more ways than one. Increased buying power can often see prices held or discounted during economic uncertainty as the franchisor and the brand, rather than the individual franchisee, step in to leverage key relationships. Bulk buying power, for example with cleaning products, can also help to protect supply chains and mitigate disruption. Brand recognition that comes with a national network instils confidence and trust in the minds of customers and staff alike.

Agility and staying ahead of the game

It can sometimes be hard to keep abreast of goings on in your wider industry, let alone the economy and national business landscape when you’re also running a business. Franchisees have the benefit and comfort of knowing that the overarching foresight and support of a franchisor can prove vital for survival. In a time of national crisis, a franchisor will co-ordinate a company-wide response and disseminate new policies, procedures and perhaps most importantly, be a voice of reassurance and guidance for the entire network. It’s a franchisor’s responsibility to stay ahead of the game and to remain agile to ensure that they protect the business interests of each and every one of their franchisees.

“Being in business is never going to be plain sailing, whether you’re a franchisee or not. Using the analogy ‘survival of the fittest’, those businesses that have survived, and even thrived, during the pandemic, may be seen as a safe bet by beginners to the franchise market. Historically, franchising has been relatively recession proof and has shown itself to be resilient even during the most difficult times.”

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