By Mark D. Cory, Owner & Franchise Placement Specialist – FranNet of Michigan

November 2020

Making a life-changing decision, such as whether to start a business, will always be fraught with fear and uncertainty. Add the dynamic of a global pandemic, and the tension mounts even further!  That being the case, why are so many Americans exploring, and even moving forward with franchise ownership right now? One explanation is that franchise research allows you to talk to, and maybe even meet with actual owners in the system you’re considering. In other words, you can gather data in real-time as to how franchisees are doing, even during the worst of times!

At FranNet, we help prospective business owners conduct proper due diligence in order to make an informed decision, stressing that the most vital aspect of that process is interviewing existing franchise owners. These are people that live and breathe the business every day and can give you the best sense of what it’s like on the inside.

During this pandemic, we’ve all heard stories about, or maybe have witnessed in our neighborhoods, businesses shuttering temporarily, or for good. However, my clients that are investigating franchises have been hearing some pleasantly surprising news from franchise owners they’ve been interviewing. For example:

  • Franchisors in the education and fitness sectors developing and/or producing online classes to help their franchisees retain as many students/members as possible
  • Franchisees maintaining or even increasing their revenues because they provide “essential services” that were never, or very briefly, shut down, and are in high demand. These services may include in-home medical and non-medical care, commercial cleaning and sanitation, home improvement and maintenance, outsourced IT and digital marketing, sign manufacturing and more
  • Franchisors and franchisees in the quick service restaurant (QSR) sector prioritizing enhanced delivery and mobile ordering capabilities to counter limited capacity and decreased foot traffic, and stay competitive in today’s socially distant environment. In fact, a recent TD Bank survey of franchised restaurants showed that off-premise sales have increased from 20% of overall revenue in 2019 to 39% in 2020
  • Franchisors and franchisees working hand-in-hand to innovate cost-cutting measures to improve unit economics

This is just a smattering of the positive feedback I’ve received from my clients over the past few months. What makes it so credible is that it’s coming from those in the trenches, franchise owners that have their own skin in the game. These have certainly been nerve wracking times that no one wants to repeat, and some franchisors have responded better than others. At FranNet, we’re fortunate to work with an array of top-notch franchisors that have been proactive in creating new ways for their franchisees to adapt and pivot, making the best of the situation and turning challenges into opportunities. But, don’t take my or the franchisors word for it. Ask the franchisees!

Have you ever thought that you’d be better off as a business owner? If so, this may be the perfect time to investigate your options. By starting the process now, you could be in a great position to launch your business in a few months, not only leveraging all of these recent innovations, but living and working in a safer world (as we all hope) to boot!

I’m happy to talk with you about how I help people identify franchises that best align with their personal goals, strengths and preferences, and then to dig beneath the surface by talking with franchisees to find out what’s really going on. I can be reached at 313-821-5060, [email protected] or www.frannet.com/mcory.