How will the franchise industry adapt in uncertain times?

We are in uncertain times, but something that is certain is that we are all going to have adapt to working remotely for the short term. It will also be interesting to see what impact this has in the long term, as most businesses prior to the outbreak would have said that moving 100% of their business to a remote environment would have been impossible. We think it’s clear that the way we work is set to change forever.

How will the business and franchise industry change?

Taking this into consideration it will be interesting to see how this impacts the franchise industry. We have identified some key changes that we feel will develop:

Shift in business models is going to be critical for businesses that have the ability to do so, to shift and change to continue generating revenue. For example a restaurant franchise may have to switch their business model from a sit down to delivery based business in order to be able to continue operating.

Online and service based businesses will have to ensure that they can remotely service customers. For a franchise to be able to do this they will need to ensure that they have the correct technology in place. This includes telephone systems such as VOIP, which allow you to operate your telephone system using an internet connection. This is perfect for ensuring that you still have a land line business number but you can operate your business from home. We have found Nextiva to be fantastic for this they offer all the tools you will need to keep your franchise going, including:

Business phone app – they enable you to receive business calls directly to your mobile device.

Offer conference lines – so you will be able to have calls with multiple people from your business or clients all on one call. This is great if you need to get key decision makers to ensure your franchise decisions are made quickly.

Video conferencing services – This is enables you see people. Operating your franchise business remotely by telephone can be difficult. Having face-to-face contact always helps to ensure that a personal touch remains in the business.

Send texts direct to customers – keeping customers updated is important, especially in this fast paced and changing environment. Nextiva makes it easy to communicate with customers via SMS so that you can reach them instantly at all times. SMS messages also have a much higher open rate so you are likely to reach your customers much better using Nextiva.

Find out about the products Nextiva has to offer

Cost saving is natural for any business and more important during uncertain times. It becomes especially expensive when major avenues of revenue decline. The key factor to adapting will be to ensure that you remain flexible and reduce fixed costs. A great way to do this is through reducing individual suppliers and trying to find one supplier who can manage a wider scope, so that you can achieve economies of scale.

What Support is out there?

Governments all around the world are offering businesses fantastic support through various schemes. This is proving to be vital in supporting the economy. I think what we all have to remember in the business and franchise world that this is a speed bump. We believe that once we have dealt with the outbreak, the measures the government has taken to support businesses will pay dividends in the form of growth as confidence returns to the market. It is therefore critical that you do extensive research into the support that exists out there for your business before making any mission critical decisions.

There are a number of UK government support policies that are designed help:

  • Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Support for businesses through deferring VAT payments
  • Support for businesses through deferring Self-Assessment payments on account
  • Support for self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
  • Support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that pay business rates
  • Support for nursery businesses that pay business rates
  • Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates
  • Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Support for larger firms through the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility
  • Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service
  • Protection from eviction for commercial tenants

So in summary, it is important that we take a look at all of our options and stay flexible in the way we operate our franchises and businesses in order to weather this temporary period and come out the other side stronger than ever ready to push forward and make up for lost ground. It is also important to remember that your franchisors are always there to support you during this period. Often many established franchisors have gone through many business ups and downs and can offer support and strategies to help carry you through this period.