Finally, I can say I see the light at the end of the tunnel with respect to the interesting times we have been in this past year. While I, and many business owners, have been able to adjust and weather the challenges well, we were fortunate.
Vaccines are going out, slowly, but speed is growing. One recent projection was that everyone that wants to be vaccinated can by late spring or early summer. While we may still take some other precautions, with any luck we are well on our way to opening up in full.
There are dollars on the sidelines waiting for places to spend them, one estimate was an extra $2 trillion in savings over and above the normal savings rate by US families by this summer.
Employed worker average pay increased over the past year.
Everyone wants to resume life, get out, visit friends, dine in their favorite restaurants, go to the gym, travel and much more.
Between available funds families have to spend, pent up demand, and openings rolling out — the future could bode very well for our franchise family!
So, what should you be doing today?
First, hire great people! There is some talent on the sidelines and the more that get back to work the faster the economy grows. If we wait too long to find the right people, then the best will already be hired by forward-thinking operators.
The possibility of substantial growth means you need staff that is trained and settled into your operation before the rush hits, not after. There is the very real possibility that you will also have less competition for those customers and employees. More customers funneled into fewer businesses will mean that businesses could easily get overloaded, service and production could be stressed.
Hiring the team you need to deliver quality service will keep you positioned for continued growth in the coming months without feeling the pressure of coming from behind.
Real estate, often one of the toughest components in business growth, is very interesting right now. For reasons we all know, there is extra real estate on the market in much of the country at the moment. In areas with more real estate inventory, busines owners are often finding leases easier to negotiate and terms better for the business owner than they were a year ago. That said, there are some areas that had so much demand for the small amount of inventory in the market that real estate may still not be easy.
If you are looking to open a new location, this is the time to be working on that. Many of the largest brands began evaluating locations months ago, some opening new locations during Covid and others pre-approving locations for current and future owners.
The coming rush of business will put more demand out in the market for real estate and what is available will go fast.
Which leads me to money. In the words of an old friend “Go get you some!”. Lending is interesting as well right now. There is an SBA program currently available where your payments for the first six months of your loan may be covered for you and rates are relatively low. It is definitely worth talking to a loan professional to see what is available for you. Send me a note if you need a referral to someone. While I wish that type of program was always available for my candidates, if it is available now then it would be hard to pass up.
I will note that SBA lenders are crazy busy right now so don’t put it off your research, reach out and start looking at options today.
Marketing is going to be an important part of growth over the coming months and it is easier to get your plan together in advance of the rush. If you need coaching there are a number of good individual coaches or even free platforms like the Clubhouse App where you can get free advice.
If you would be more likely to hire an expert, then they may have a little more time now and you may get more of their bandwidth at the moment to get your marketing calendar in order. You can plan months in advance and your service provider will run your program while you focus on your customers.
In short, anyone that asks me if they should be taking steps towards growth right now, the answer is a resounding “YES”! There are few times in business where we can as clearly identify a trend as we can right now. I understand the past year has been challenging, the next one can be fun if you plan ahead!
What will your success story be? Let’s go find it!
George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many of the top franchise ownership groups in the world. With over 25 years of experience in both start-up and mature business franchise operations he is uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of Building their own empires. Whether you have an existing portfolio or searching for your first franchise, he can help you to pursue your dreams. Contact the Franchising USA Expert, George’s Hotline: 703-424-2980.