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As businesses of all sizes and industry continue to weather the storm that is the pandemic, certain things are becoming clear. Yes, there are many areas in which businesses are still learning. But there are also key lessons that have been observed in light of COVID-19. Through every rough situation comes data that we can later use in our favor, and the coronavirus event is no different. When it comes to opening or growing your franchise location, there is much that can be learned from the status quo.

Help your franchise thrive by taking a look at these key factors we’ve obtained since the onset of the pandemic.

Such as:

Essential Industries and Growing Franchises

Likely the biggest take-away we’ve seen with the pandemic is what types of businesses are essential to human survival. Sure it might be fun to start up a concept or unique business platform, but remember that in an emergency, you’re also one of the first things to go. In order to create brand and job security, key industries are the way to go.

Find a franchise that fills a need and an ongoing service for consumers. This is one of the surest ways to help your franchise thrive, even in a time of need. Despite overhead, despite business model, etc., filling a basic need can bring funds to your brand at all times.

If you’re already working in an essential industry, it’s likely that you’ve seen growth firsthand. While those who are essentially expendable have seen hard hits to their bottom lines.

When choosing an industry and business model in years to come, remember the pandemic and which businesses found growth in a time of need. While the world will likely return to normal (even if that’s a different version of normal), these are the same platforms that will likely continue to grow, no matter what takes place within society. Or how the economy is hit.

Adaptability is Key

Next, consider your industry – or future business platform – in terms of adaptability. One thing we’ve seen throughout the pandemic is brands that have adjusted to meet safety standards and customer needs. Businesses have delivered items to their customers. They’ve brought goods straight to the curbside for customer pickup. (And in most cases, they’ve done so without an additional charge.) Franchise locations have beefed up their online sales options. They’ve provided discounts to encourage customer spend, and more.

Other brands still have expanded their normal repertoire to sell masks or hand sanitizer. By providing these products in high-demand, they were able to serve a current customer base, while advertising to those who were simply in need of their products. They drew in shoppers that might have never before given them business.

This level of adaptability allowed franchises to drum up new streams of income, while serving a current need. It kept dollars flowing in, despite huge disruptions to their previous way of business.

Helping Out and Being Relatable to Customers

There’s no denying that the pandemic is a stressful time … for all, not just business owners. One way brands have gained and kept the trust of their customers is by remaining relatable. They’re letting customers know it’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to feel unsure. And in the meantime, here’s some great ways to stay positive, or hey, join our page and talk about what’s bothering you. Perhaps they shared resources for talking to a counselor or tips on how to file for unemployment.

No one wants to feel talked down to or like their problems don’t matter right now. Franchise brands who have found real ways to help their customers and make them feel validated have made the most progress with retaining trust. This might have translated into sales now, but will surely translate into sales in the future, especially once shoppers again have access to more funds.

Plan for the Unexpected

Easier said than done, right? How do you plan for something that’s unexpected? In simple terms, you can’t. In more complicated terms, you plan for everything. You write plans in pencil, and you remain ready to change at any time.

Know that anything you plan for your franchise at this time is subject to change. It might not be an exact jumpstart, but it will keep you from having to undo work that was set in stone. This simple move will give you the ease to adjust your business as needed during these uncertain times.

Depending on your industry, this might mean keeping a trained team of employees ready to return, working remotely, overhead that’s accessible when needed, and the ability to complete service jobs from a distance. Use your best creative ideas, talk to your corporate location, and keep an eye on the news for your best mix of readiness.

While it’s hard to keep your franchise primed for a global event like COVID-19, there is much we can learn from its ongoing effects. Take note and ready your business for whatever comes its way.

By Bethaney Wallace | Sep 3, 2020 | General Franchise Information