8 Ways COVID-19 Will Forever Change Franchise Standards



There's no denying the fact that things have changed. These last few months, the world has taken us in a direction from which we will never untravel. We can't return to how we were before. From social protocol, business practices, to the consideration of what is/was normal, everything has changed.

But in man ways, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The onset of the pandemic surely shook the world as we knew it, including franchising as a whole. But this is a chance to start over … and to better. To fix what wasn't working. To implement new practices, and to find ways to move forward as a franchisee. Starting up new ways to work and improve on what we did before.

We aren't alone in these changes, however. Take a look at how the franchising industry is to be affected in going forward, and how COVID-19 will play a role against business practices in years to come.

1. Demand vs. Availability

There are markets in which franchise companies work to fill a demand, and there are markets in which they find new ways to sell products or services that are available. The onset of the coronavirus is providing a little of both. First, customers are in need of new paid services they wouldn't have considered a few months ago. For instance, any number of items delivered, a safe way to have their home serviced, or help filing for financial assistance. Especially those that have been newly mandated. Secondly, customers still need services that were already in existence. But they need them in a slightly different way. they need them in ways where they can remain distant from others and as germ-free as possible.

All of this will affect the ways in which franchises work. They will adjust current services to meet compliance laws, as well as client concerns. They will offer new products to fill a demand. Consider how many companies have started offering soap and hand sanitizer, even if it has nothing to do with their business model. This is an example of adding new services to meet the status quo.

Changes like these – and more – will continue throughout franchise culture.

2. Safety Standards Within Franchises

Whether safety laws are adjusted by the state, or if corporate locations opt for stricter terms all on their own, changes are likely coming long term. Franchise owners might even implement their own ideas for keeping everyone safe. For instance, window shields, gloves for workers when handling cash, or even easier ways for customers to pay, leaving cash off the table altogether.

These franchise changes will likely vary based on industry, as well as individual state laws.

3. Working From Home

Many business owners found out quickly that, when forced to do so, they can get a lot of work done at home. Even if this wasn't a preference, it's possible. The same goes for employees. Some business owners will embrace this trend (for instance, Twitter, who has already announced that workers can permanently work from home), while others are itching to get back to their brick and mortar location. Each option has its respective perks, and it's an interesting cultural effect as to how these choices will play out.

4. A Kinder World

One of the most interesting changes about the onset of COVID-19 is how it's brought people together – franchise locations and customers alike. The world has taken a step back and slowed its pace of progress. This is an incredible change that has affected the ways in which we communicate toward one another. It's made people softer, kinder, more understanding of what others are going through. It's a subtle change, but one that has helped consumers feel more comfortable when dealing with franchise markets.

5. Expectations in the Business World

A few months ago, business was booming. Brands were unstoppable, and the expectations were growing by the day. No one realized just how quickly that could be destroyed.

Now, when planning business models, franchisees and corporate owners alike can plan for a worst-case-scenario. It's a reality that's far more inclusive than in years prior. With new current events means more scenarios to plan toward. The effort that goes into prepping for these unheard of situations will leave business owners in a safer space in the event of a disaster of any kind.

6. The Ability to Be Flexible

On a similar note, previous franchise models planned for business situations as we once knew them. COVID-19 proved to be an event that broke that mold. There was little room for out-of-the-box scenarios. After all, if a pandemic wasn't expected on a small scale, let alone a large one, why should it be planned for?

Now, going forward, franchisees can consider the unexpected. Even though they have no idea what might be ahead, they can consider bizarre scenarios and leave their business ready for (almost) anything.

7. Respecting the Market

Don't take a growing market for granted. Many of us did and it was gone before we knew it. COVID-19 was an incredible learning lesson in when to capitalize on momentum, and when to remain steady. However, it was also a lesson in humility –not assuming a good thing will keep going.

The pandemic has brought franchisees to learn that growing markets are important, but not a given. Finding the best way to ride each wave, however, is will what make their business thrive.

8. Finding a Way to Provide Value

If your business (or potential business) fell into a non-essential category throughout COVID-19, chances are you had time to think about what you were and weren't bringing to the table for consumers. It doesn't mean that your service wasn't needed, only that, for a time at least, you weren't able to offer it.

As a business owner, this event likely got your wheels turning. To help you find ways in which you could make yourself essential. Franchises in all categories adjusted their normal way of business to create more services and more income. But going forward, this is likely to be seen on a broad scale. Businesses will offer more for consumers, as it's needed, to keep themselves relevant and to profit into the future.

By Bethaney Wallace | May 29, 2020 | General Franchise Information