Franchising is expected to boom post-COVID
The Coronavirus pandemic has touched us all personally, professionally, or perhaps both. For most of us, our lives changed in some way. Now our economy is starting to slowly recover as people are getting vaccinated and restrictions are lifted.
I have spoken to many people during the pandemic who wanted to hold off their search for a franchise until the virus blows over. I do not judge a person for the decisions they have made during this difficult time. It is personal. But often, these decisions are driven by fear not necessarily logic. When you take a look, it’s easy to see many compelling reasons to invest in a franchise now. Again, not judging as we all react to life-changing situations differently.
I have been a Franchise Consultant now for 20 years. During this time, I have worked with my candidates through many tough times, including:
- SARS in 2003
- 2008 Housing Crisis
- H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu)
All these events affected us in some way personally and professionally and presented different challenges in our lives. We, as a nation, faced these challenges and emerged as a country and individuals stronger than ever. We will do it again! Encouragingly, franchising is expected to boom post-COVID. According to FRAN.data, “With government assistance, it is predicted that nearly all the economic damage created by the COVID-19 pandemic could be erased in 2021. Specifically, franchising is projected to open 26,000 locations add nearly 800,000 new jobs and contribute $477 billion to U.S. GDP.”
Why franchise ownership?
If you have ever thought about franchise ownership, now might be the time to explore your options. It is not all gloom and doom out there. The pandemic provided many people the luxury of working from home and having more time on to think about their future. Other folks were not as lucky and lost their jobs during the pandemic and are not likely to return to their previous employer. Often, from something bad something good emerges. People are now realizing there is life after corporate America and have an opportunity now, more than ever, to gain financial freedom to protect themselves and their family’s future.
When recommending franchises to my candidates I always gravitate toward businesses that are:
- Recession resistant
- Internet proof
Over the years I have added businesses that are:
- Amazon resistant
I recently added another category. Businesses that are:
- Pandemic proof
Many of the businesses I gravitate toward have these traits:
- Low overhead
- Home based
- Free from retail leases and expensive build outs (brick-and-mortar)
- Have a lower initial investment
- Function during typical business hours
Often these franchises fall into the service sector. Here are a few examples:
- Cleaning/maid services
You might be thinking, “I’m not about to leave the corporate world to paint houses.” If that’s your first thought, you are not alone. Many franchise seekers tend to fall in love with the product instead of the owner’s role in the business. Ultimately, when this happens, these folks find themselves unhappy with their decision.
As an example, I have had people over the years tell me they want to buy a Dunkin’ franchise. I always ask “why?” and their answer is always the same, “I love the donuts and love their coffee.” My response, which is always the same is: “Did you know you can get a dozen without buying the store”? The Dunkin’ model may be perfect for some, however, for others it’s not ideal. Not everyone wants a business that is open long hours and operates seven days a week.
The franchisee’s role
I suggest looking at the franchise owner’s role in the business first and making the product or service secondary. Let’s go back to the painting example. With a painting franchise, there is no need to get out a paintbrush and climb ladders. Ideally, you won’t be doing the actual painting. Instead, you will be the sales, marketing and manager of the business and the person who hires painters to deliver the service. In this case, if you are good at sales, have managed people in the past, and have a vision for growing a business, you are well suited for success. The franchisor will teach you the rest.
You buy a franchise for the proven model, branding and the systems the franchisor has in place. You do not need to be a hands-on painter to be successful in a painting franchise. In fact, most franchise companies prefer candidates who are willing to follow a system rather than ones with experience in the product or service. Often, those with specific, hands-on experience can fall into a trap where they want to do the work themselves or make up their own rules. The franchisor set up a system for success, going against it doesn’t make sense.
Transitioning from a full-time job
Should you want to start a business and prefer to keep your job and work part time, there are also concepts available where you can hire a manager to run the day-to-day operations while you work the business part time. Eventually, if you choose, once you grow the business and can afford to leave your job, you may want to devote more time into the business or perhaps work on developing multiple units or territories for continued growth.
I hope this article helps you realize there are many options available in franchising. If you have been holding off starting your search, now may be the perfect time to explore your options. Our country is now, more than ever, offering a piece of the “American dream.” It is there for the taking. It is up to you to decide to devote the commitment and the time to learning about the world of franchising and the opportunities available that match your skills and criteria. As Wayne Gretzky, the famous hockey super star once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”