The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped much of 2020 and has proven to have had a major impact on the economy and many people’s financial outlooks. If you put future career ambitions on hold in 2020, you may be thinking of getting it back on track in 2021. For those thinking of investing in a franchise, the idea of the “new normal” should be something to consider when making major decisions. The “new normal” is in reference to the sustained uncertainty and sense of limbo that has resulted from the pandemic. There is a lot a prospective franchisee can learn from how franchisors have managed the new normal and these tumultuous times.
The good news is that many franchisors adapted quickly to the new normal in surprising and innovative ways. Franchisors often strive to be innovative and adaptable in responding to and managing the varying economic and societal considerations of their entire franchise system. After all, with many successful franchisors having a business model that is attractive to potential franchisees, it is important that franchise brands are logistically able to rise to meet the needs of their customer base and franchise partners.
Many franchisors have found ways to improve their operations and collaboration with franchisees; in an effort to make the most out of the global situation. If you’re interested in pursuing franchise ownership, either during this new normal or afterward, there are lessons to be learned from the franchise brands that have confidently navigated these uncertain waters thus far.
Look for the franchises that still have a thriving business.
Many franchises have seen sales rise during the pandemic. Among them include Domino’s Pizza, Ace Hardware, 7-Eleven and Mathnasium. Some of these franchises’ success can be attributed to their existing business model, in that they were all practically built to withstand uncertain economic and public health conditions like those brought on by the pandemic. For instance, many schools have been struggling to connect with students virtually, leaving space for Mathnasium to fill the increased demand for supplemental educational resources and providers. Additionally, people have been more likely to be at home doing repairs and improvements, which is a trend that has directly benefited Ace Hardware and similar home improvement stores. Franchises that offer on-site pickup or delivery options for customers, like Domino’s Pizza, have had an advantage over competing brands that cater to in-person dining.
The question as to whether which franchise brands are more pandemic-resistant than others depends on many factors often outside of the franchisor’s control. For prospective franchise owners, researching how and why companies have performed well during the pandemic is key to understanding the operations and future of a franchise.
Look for franchises that have defied the odds.
Many beauty salon and spa concepts have taken a hit during the pandemic. Safety considerations set in place across the country hampered in-person traffic at the outset of the pandemic, with companies bracing for the worst during the period of heightened uncertainty. However, there are some outliers who have bucked the trends experienced by their industry peers. For instance, Sola Salon Studios worked to support their franchise system-wide with new health and safety measures, and the fitness center franchise, Orangetheory Fitness, expanded in 2020. Even during the one of the worst economic periods in recent history, many businesses adapted to the new landscape so as to fulfill the needs of their customers and franchise partners by overhauling standard operating procedures from top to bottom across their franchise systems.
Look for the franchises that have adjusted to the pandemic from an operational standpoint.
The focus of many franchises to adapt in the face of the pandemic and associated restrictions was twofold, in that the need to alter operations to assure safety was buoyed by a complementary drive for efficiency and stability. The franchise businesses that were flexible and innovative demonstrated a commitment to both ensuring their short-term success and the stability and support for their franchise partners. Finding a franchise to invest in that strives to meet similar ideals is not particularly difficult, as many franchisors provide tremendous support and assistance to their franchisees, but finding the right opportunity for you takes time and care.
Once you do your research and become something of an expert yourself, you will be equipped to decide which franchise opportunity is ultimately a good fit for you. For instance, in this new normal, some prospective franchise owners are looking for COVID-resistant franchisors, while others are looking at the longer term, owning a franchise post-pandemic, and may be concerned with finding a brand that offers more favorable financing and investment terms right now. Both strategies are completely viable, but one approach may make more sense than the other based on your financial situation.
This is the ideal time to learn everything you can about the franchise space and the opportunities that it may hold in store for you. Investing in a franchise concept is no small feat; it’s readily achievable to people from many walks of life, but it’s a commitment that necessitates consideration and thorough preparation.