COVID-19 will impact the way we as a nation do business moving forward, and the same goes for those who wish to get into franchising or own a franchise currently. Some franchise owners have managed to stay alive during the crisis, mostly by adapting their business model. Moving forward, this is something to take into consideration. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's that there's no such thing as being prepared. This pandemic is not something we could have predicted even a year ago. Whether you currently own a franchise or you're considering buying one, COVID-19 will affect the choices we make about our business and how we prepare for future crises.
Tips for Buying a Franchise
- Find a franchise that you enjoy. If possible, choose a franchise that is in an industry you have experience with. All good franchises have training and support, so you don't have to have specific experience to buy a franchise, but buying a franchise in an industry you're already familiar with can give you an edge.
- Speak to other franchisees. The franchisors will give you their pitch when they are selling you a franchise. Talk to some people who have already purchased a franchise and see how their experience lines up with the franchisor.
- Ask about the franchise fee structure. The fee structure will vary from one franchise to another. Fees based on a set percentage of profits might mean the franchise is a bit more confident in your ability to make a profit. This might give them more incentive to be involved in your success. Franchisors charging a fixed fee regardless of how your business is doing will probably not be as committed to your success as long as they are getting their fees.
- Always talk to a franchise attorney. A franchise agreement and other documents associated with buying a franchise are full of details you'll need to understand before you sign on the dotted line. An attorney can help you break these documents down and understand them.
- Choose a franchise in an industry that is likely to be able to survive a social or economic crisis. If you are one of the many millions who lost their livelihood due to the COVID-19 crisis, you understand the importance of securing your future. There's no better way than to choose wisely when you pick a franchise opportunity. Look for a franchise that has products or services that are "essential." Franchise opportunities like Germinator Mobile Sanitizing & Disinfecting are booming, as are home-based franchises, online education franchises, and health and senior care franchises. Franchises that can be operated primarily online will also be growing as people scramble to find a way to make a living as we consider our security for the future.
Tips for Current Franchise Owners
Not every franchise can survive a crisis like the COVID-19. Many businesses were lost due to forced shutdowns by both the federal and local governments. Those businesses that were able to work through these shutdowns did so either by restructuring the way they operated (i.e., restaurants doing curb service) or because they had already developed a strong online presence through digital marketing and could rely on that business to take them through the pandemic.
Either way, many businesses continued to at least stay solvent during the pandemic. Being able to survive by using the Internet's power is one of the biggest tips we can give when it comes to being prepared. Many franchises (particularly in the food industry) have been able to continue doing business during this pandemic, even if only in a limited capacity. Here are some things you can do as a franchise owner as we gradually recover from COVID-19.
- Always set aside a reasonable budget for your marketing, especially through digital channels. We mentioned this above. When you purchase a franchise, the franchisor will be doing national advertising. While that is one of the benefits of buying a franchise, the advertising they do isn't going to be enough. It's up to the franchisee to do marketing of their own. Most franchisors require a certain amount to be set aside by the franchisee for advertising. The specified amount is outlined in the franchise agreement. Implement digital marketing strategies that focus on SEO to make sure your business shows up in Google, Bing Local Places, and Maps. Any money invested in this will pay off by ensuring customers looking for you will find you. Whether you are paying for traffic (PPC) or building it organically (as many businesses have had to do during the COVID-19 crisis), building a strong online presence through digital marketing is a great way to drive your franchise toward success.
- Check out the Small Business Administration's Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources to see what type of assistance your franchise might qualify for. Also, don't forget to check with your franchisor. They might have options or suggestions to help you operate successfully until everything begins to get back to normal.
- Consider diversifying. You've heard the saying, "don't put all your eggs in one basket." Think about another service you can add to your business to widen your appeal. Maybe some services tie into what you're already doing or, in some way, complement it. If you can add these types of services, you'll have more to fall back on than just your primary business. Many franchise experts have recommended diversifying for quite some time. This has applied to investment strategies for some time too. A diversified portfolio has long been an accepted way to ensure your success. It works the same way with franchises.
All USA Franchises Is a Great Place to Start
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