“We are in the midst of a pandemic. The pandemic has been an eye opener for us, it’s a game changer… And I’m sure on your end you’d be thinking ‘Is it really the best time to franchise?’” This is how Lin Deres, CFE, franchise relations manager of Goldilocks, opened her knowledge sharing during Francorp’s Franchise Your Business Seminar (FYBS).
Lin strongly advised would-be franchisors to find opportunities in crisis. “As a franchisor, we look at it this way – that there is always going to be a crisis.” She shared how franchisors and entrepreneurs alike can seize the opportunity to reap positives from the impact of the pandemic and other crises.
Present Situation vs. Windows of Opportunities
Lin discussed four present situations and how franchisors and entrepreneurs can change their perspective to see and open windows of opportunities.
1. Economic uncertainties and changing consumer behavior/spending patterns
When the pandemic hit, a lot of businesses halted their operations temporarily or closed their stores permanently. On changing consumer behavior and spending patterns, Ms. Deres said that “we are now BFFs with Shopee and Lazada”. What happened paved the way for a lot of change to occur, especially in the Philippine economic landscape.
So, what are the windows of opportunities in this situation? Ms. Deres said that franchisors can develop new franchise concepts/business models that are attuned to the changing times. “You can also explore new tie-ups or partnerships with logistical companies, digital marketing companies, and more to strengthen your brand.”
Franchisors can also pivot their current products and services to make them more accessible to the consumers. For example, dine-in restaurants are now investing more in take-out and delivery through offering ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products and partnering with aggregators like FoodPanda and GrabFood.
Lastly, Ms. Deres said that franchisors of concepts and brands that managed to stay relevant can go aggressive on their marketing strategies and find new marketing channels to further widen their market reach.
2. High levels of unemployment
Another impact of the pandemic is the sudden increase in unemployment rate. Naturally, companies and businesses that were heavily affected had to lay off some of their employees or offer early retirement to qualified personnel.
Ms. Deres said that franchisors can have two windows of opportunities in this situation. First, there is now a pool of qualified franchise applicants from those who just retired or were laid off. “Some of these people are highly competent because they have the skills that are needed to run a business. Some are looking for business opportunities where they are not beholden to a corporate boss so they can have control over their destiny,” she explained.
Second, there is now a pool of employee candidates for franchisees. “Employees who were laid off by their previous employer can now work for franchisees as staff and crew members in their branches… Somehow, this is also a way to help the community, the government, and the economy,” Ms. Deres said.
3. Access to capital/resources
Today, there is a high level of floating capital from retirement/termination/redundancy parachute, financial loans, savings, and pooled resources. Ms. Deres explained that “Franchisors can look at this as a great time to get potential investors or franchise applicants looking for business opportunities.”
4. Real estate availability
When a lot of businesses closed or halted their operations, many sites in various locations were vacated. But this also has opened windows of opportunities like availability of more sites for franchise stores, relocation of offices and plants, and tie-ups with building owners and lessors.
Different mindset equals new ideas
There is always a different way to see things and this is what Ms. Deres advised franchisors and entrepreneurs to do so. “Have a different mindset, look at it from a different perspective… When you have a new mindset, you come out with new ideas. Then, you can grab whatever opportunities that you see now.”
Are you interested in franchising your business? Join Francorp’s Franchise Your Business Seminar and get a free franchise consultation.