The UK Government’s second Covid-19 national lockdown started on November 5, leaving many people unable to work, or having to work at home, if they were not furloughed. With non-essential retail and eat-in restaurant options shut down, many franchisees will find themselves unable to earn the income that is either helping to pay back their initial investment in a franchise or giving them a good standard of living having paid it back.
Life with Covid-19 may continue for some time and none of us know whether the emergence of such viruses is the new norm. For those wishing to earn a good livelihood through a franchised business, whilst also becoming their own boss, both of these uncertainties increase the need to choose their franchise wisely in the first place, with a franchisor who has earned their stripes. But how do you do that?
Some “new normal” tips for finding a franchise that can operate during lockdown are:
1. Consider the sectors most hit by UK lockdowns and determine whether the risk of buying a franchise within these sectors is too great. Retail, leisure and hospitality have all suffered greatly during the pandemic, so ask yourself whether your franchise could survive, if operating in one of these at-risk sectors?
2. Find out whether or not you could carry out at least some of the work required to run the franchise from home, if a lockdown should come.
3. If you could run your franchise partly or wholly from home, what equipment would you need to invest in? Also, how good are the franchisors’ IT systems and could you access all that you require via these systems, to efficiently run your business? Are they Cloud-based, enabling access from anywhere, or are they more rustic and reliant on people being in an office, handling your requests? If the franchise in not Covid-resilient, will these support teams even be there for you?
4. If part, or the whole, of the franchise operation needs to be operated in the public arena, find out whether or not the franchisees would be classed as keyworkers and able to continue to be out and about, providing the goods or services involved.
5. Consider the impact that the first lockdown may have had on the franchisor’s finances and business model. How robust is that model and what degree of financial stability do they now have?
6. If you were to go ahead with a franchise purchase, ask how the induction or training would be handled, given that it is unlikely that the franchisor can run such training in the usual way. Is it going to be possible for you to progress from training, and into active trading, fairly swiftly, or is it going to take months to get you set on your way as an active franchise business?
7. Determine whether the franchise could actually perform even better under lockdown and Covid-19 times than under normal circumstances. Not all businesses are doing badly in 2020 and some are actually flourishing.
8. Make sure that you have not just the skill set to work in the franchise under normal circumstances, but whatever extra skills may be required to run the business at the current time, given the ‘new normal’.
9. Lockdown has put extra pressures on us all, so ask yourself whether you will cope with launching a new business right now and whether or not you will embrace that as a real challenge, knowing that, if you can get through this, you can probably cope with anything.
10. Choose something that interests you and will keep you engaged. If you do find a lockdown-resilient business, chances are you will be very busy. You need to make sure that what you are doing is something you enjoy. In the case of Aspray’s franchisees, the interest tends to be property or project management.
Our Aspray professional franchise opportunity is most definitely a resilient one, delivered by franchises nationwide and flourishing under the circumstances that 2020 has brought to the UK. The robustness of the model, the IT system and the training programme has been tested to the full and has coped with ease. We have seen those with the right skill set – project management plus lots of empathy and a desire to help others – getting off to a flying start, with brand-new franchisees relishing every minute of property claims management and property reinstatement and repairs.
If this is the sort of franchise opportunity you want – one that can operate during lockdown and carry on, no matter what – pick up the phone and talk to us, on 0800 077 6705. More information can be found here.