How are you? I hope you’re well and that you’re adjusting to these contemporary times, which seem to be altered daily. We’re often told that change is inevitable. We’re certainly experiencing the extreme version now.
The good news is that this challenge will find its end. Sometime. Don’t know when. Not sure what it will look like. But it will run its course. Every war does. Just as change is inevitable, so is equilibrium. Every day that passes brings us closer to a new equilibrium. I spoke earlier today with a retail franchisee (pet food and care) whom I placed five years ago, and he’s seen customers stock up on months’ worth of pet everything. He’s aware that the current rush may cause lower-than-expected numbers in the few months ahead, but he expects those customers to return to his store when the time is right, to the point where he has signed two additional leases to increase his holdings to 4 locations from the 2 locations he operates now. He even owns the license for a 5th location to grow into when the new equilibrium arrives.
There are endless reasons why any contemplation of franchising is absurd right now. I get it. We can all come up with them. However, because it’s also your wish and mine to land on our feet on the other side of this mess, there are also reasons why it’s arguably the best time ever to contemplate franchising if you or someone you know is in a precarious position, or is looking for a change, or is looking for something else that could provide a level of control once our societal and economic equilibrium again reveals itself.
Business design. Some things aren’t going away. Not every business is going to “shut down.” “Cleaning” surfaces of all kinds may take on a new value to many. Pets and people still need to eat. Plumbing lines still need to be … plumbed. The HVAC still needs to work. Backyard pools will be opened and enjoyed. Mosquitoes will continue to wage their battle against us… and many more.
Accessibility. Many franchisors have already altered their systems to fully accommodate virtual research efforts. It was mostly virtual, to begin with, but now it’s never been more streamlined to enjoy meaningful conversations with franchisors and franchisees, from “Hello” to a decision of “Yes” or “No.”
Availability. Several of my candidates who continue to have hybrid schedules with reduced travel have expressed how easy it is to complete a lot more franchise research on their desired timelines. Formerly engaging in just 1-2 hours of research weekly, it’s easier now to invest a worthwhile 5-10 hours of valuable research weekly with franchisors and franchisees.
Timing. Searching is not committing… it’s just a path to a decision. Some candidates have in their minds that they can have an in/out decision in 2 weeks. That’s not the case. Anyone can say “No” in a heartbeat; however, my candidates typically work with me for 3 weeks to 4 months to achieve the level of decision-making competency necessary to say “Yes” to a franchise without remorse. The fat part of that bell curve is 2-3 months from “Hello” to “Yes.” That means the people to whom I introduce franchises in March will tend to make “Yes” decisions over the Summer and begin operations at a point of their choosing thereafter. Now is a great time to use your time wisely in this endeavor.
Access to Capital. Lending has opened up and interest rates appear to be stabilizing. This isn’t like during the Great Recession when the banks said, “Leave us alone” and shut down lines of credit. Currently, access to capital for business endeavors that put employees to work is the best I’ve ever seen.
A (likely) plentiful employee base. Since it takes a couple of months to “get to Yes,” and then it takes another several weeks to engage in training or several months to open up your commercial space, my candidates who begin their research this month will be opening for business sometime after December/January for their non-storefront, non-retail or service-related business, and (likely) sometime at the end of this year or early next year for their retail storefront business. Again, these are general timelines, not written in stone. However, if we’re being honest, at the end of this event, there could be a measure of unemployment we’ve not seen for a very long time. I don’t look forward to that problem developing, but I greatly look forward to business owners solving it.
Franchising may or may not be for you, but it might make sense now to figure that out by doing some research to evaluate with actual facts versus assumptions. If you have the interest and you’ll invest your time and thought, I guarantee we’ll have real, worthwhile conversations. Contact us for a brief chat or you can schedule a call HERE.
I wish you Safe Travels. Look out for your family and your neighbors. May we all get through this and find simpler days ahead.