Franchisors, this is the dark before the dawn – what’s your strategy?

I’m sure by this point, we are all well and truly sick of the phrase “these uncertain times”.  But uncertainty has been the reality for franchisors these past 18 months, as challenges have been thrown at them left, right, and centre. 

Doom and gloom aside, the one silver lining of life in lockdown has been the ability to slow down and reflect. We’ve seen it all around us; people taking a long hard look at their lifestyles and career paths and making changes accordingly.

As 2022 pops its head around the corner, we find ourselves genuinely excited to see how it will play out for Australian business.

For franchisors, the next few months present a rare opportunity to reflect and prepare for the path ahead. 

With unemployment increasing and wage growth stagnating, the appeal of owning your own business and taking control of your future has never been stronger.

In addition, accumulated household savings over the last 12 months have continued to grow to record levels, giving Aussies the freedom to choose and execute their next step.

The bottom line is that franchisors who plan for this scenario will undoubtedly be in the driver seat, taking advantage of the influx of enquiries. 

So, where to start? Depending on your stage of growth, there are a few key areas that we would encourage franchisors to dive into and refresh.

Emerging franchisor strategy

For the emerging franchisor, who we see as someone with less than five years on the scene, enacting your big picture strategy relies heavily on the art of ‘letting go’, or as we like to say, ‘getting off the dance floor and onto the balcony’.

Emerging franchisors, ask yourselves:

  • What are the key metrics in your business and when was the last time you reviewed them? 
  • How current is your organisation chart?
  • What are the core capabilities of your team? 
  • Are the KPI’s you work to today relevant for 2022 -23?
  • Has your growth plan evolved to take in the current environment?
  • Do you have a franchisee recruitment process to access quality leads?
  • Does your onboarding and training program reflect what is required for your business today?

Evolving franchisor strategy

For the evolving franchisor, which we define as someone with 15+ stores, taking the next step can be a daunting process. Getting to this point is a huge success, but the task of ‘what’s next?’ can be a challenging one.

The key here is getting everything aligned for expansion – both your team and your systems. With this in mind, we encourage this group to not only reflect on what is mentioned above but also think about the following: 

  • Do you have a detailed store development plan?
  • Have you conducted thorough benchmarking of your network?
  • Do you have multi-site accreditation in place? 
  • Is your franchise agreement still fit for purpose? 
  • Are you bank-ready to grow your network? 
  • Do you have enough working capital for new stores? 

With the events of the past 18 months, cash flows are obviously tight. We’d strongly encourage franchisors of any growth stage to look into and take advantage of the current Government supports – SME loans, rent relief, etc. 

Along with this reflection, chatting with someone who has been in your shoes is always a win in our book. Better yet, having someone to personally guide you through and provide accountability along the way is invaluable. 

While it might feel like a constant daily struggle at the moment, we’re strong believers that this is the dark before dawn. Bogged down in the day-to-day, it’s easy to forget the bigger picture of what you want to achieve in your franchise business.