Franchising is an incredibly popular, proven business model. It makes a significant contribution to Australia’s economy. Today, there are about 1,344 franchise brands in the country, and more than 598,000 people are employed in this industry that cumulatively contributes over $184 billion annually to Australia’s economy.
Running any form of small business isn’t easy. You have to deal with rising rentals, overhead costs and energy prices and of course red tape. The complexity of relations in this industry is another factor that can make running a franchise, tough business.
The pandemic’s impact on the franchising industry has been massive. While many businesses have been impacted adversely, certain positives have emerged from this unprecedented and terrible crisis. Franchise leaders are an optimistic lot; they adapt quickly to ensure their businesses stay alive and that their franchises get the support they deserve.
Many franchisors have put on their innovator’s hats and found better ways of doing many things. Slowly but surely, new ideas and concepts have begun to emerge. The franchise community is enterprising, and they support each other through thick or thin.
As things are slowly getting back on track and businesses are opening their shutters, there are many positive changes on the horizon. Some things that have already become quite clear are:
One of the primary reasons people want to invest in franchises is because the systems are set, and franchisors provide new entrants with a lot of support. A franchise is a business for yourself, but you are not by yourself. That’s how it’s always been, and the relevance of this is evident in today’s trying times more than ever.
Throughout the COVID-19 situation, many well-established franchisors have been working steadily to maintain positivity among their franchisee partners and helping them stay afloat. Some have also altered or begun to change their business models and are considering introducing COVID-19-centred marketing initiatives.
Many conduct video sessions for the franchisees in their network to keep their partners updated. Rather than having to stress about how to get through the pandemic crisis on their own, franchisees can benefit from leadership and guidance, and that’s a significant benefit at a time when they need it the most. Because the success of any franchise system relies on how well established and successful the franchisees are, the franchisors always adopt a cohesive and collaborative approach.
Franchisors are engaging their franchisee-partners and their employees and involving them in the changes that need to be incorporated in the business to ensure they all stay afloat. They have been working together to see which changes would work best and how they can do things differently to accommodate the demands of these times. Franchisors are training staff on how to handle food (in the case of food franchises).
Some are also making changes to their menus and keeping things simple because many people prefer take-away to restaurant dining now. This kind of adaptability and cohesive working can help franchise businesses maintain some level of profitability at a time when the world is in turmoil.
Many franchisors have been using Google Hangouts and Zoom to connect with their franchisees and supporting them during these crises. Several video conferencing tools have been around for a while now, though not many franchising networks found the need to use them.
But when everyone is on the same screen, discussing things, thrashing out new ideas, finding novel and innovative ways of doing things together for their mutual benefit, it creates a sense of bonding. The setting has a more casual vibe as the franchisees, and the franchisor is chatting with the backdrops of their backyards, living rooms, kitchens etc. This type of setting makes conferencing friendlier, which is also a good stress-buster in the current situation.
Several older franchise brands will have gone through different types of crises over the years. They have made changes to their business models to ensure their businesses stay afloat, and many are doing the same today as well. For example, many food franchises have started curbside pickups. Fitness brands have launched live-stream workouts, so members don’t lose out on their workouts. Franchises in the educational sector have started online learning sessions for kids who are just sitting at home getting bored.
As you can see, many positives have emerged during the pandemic. Only an innovative approach, some perseverance and a whole lot of patience can help entrepreneurs and seasoned business folk emerge from this terrible crisis, stronger.
The franchising industry in Australia is robust and dynamic. The FCA has also created a COVID-19 Resources section on their website for franchisors and franchisees to access. There is information about moderated forums and online support for those in the franchising industry who are having a tough time and feeling unsettled psychologically. Very few other industries provide robust and varied support like this. These are the things that make the Franchise Industry in Australia so productive. While the current COVID-19 situation is truly challenging by any standards, the good news is that the franchising community is sticking together and supporting each other.
If you’ve been considering venturing into this space, have doubts whether it’s the right time to act, think again. The things we have talked about here should allay your fears. Franchising continues to carry far less risk than many other business models, and you can find the support you need to set up a franchise and make a success of it.
If you want any more information about how franchising works and how the industry is standing up to the current situation, contact the experts at The Franchise Institute. You can call us on 1300 855 435 or fill in this contact us form, and one of our experts will contact you as soon as we can.
Thanks for reading,
The Franchise Institute Team
1300 855 435