4 Key Points To Consider When Buying A Franchise During Covid Times
Starting a business is always risky, and perhaps never has it been more fraught with peril than during these rocky and still uncertain economic times brought on by Covid-19.
But multi-unit franchisees know that franchising offers more built-in security. The product or service is already proven and people are aware of the brand. The franchisor has already done much of the legwork, implementing the marketing and systems. A corporate team stands behind you for support, training, business development, and to help with any issues that come up.
There have been a good number of success stories among franchise owners during the pandemic, and those successes inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Others may simply want to try something new, impacting more people and creating more revenue. While much economic uncertainty lies ahead for the nation even as vaccines are distributed, you can bet more people will be investing in franchises.
Here are some key factors to keep in mind as you contemplate buying a franchise during Covid-19:
- Focus on essential businesses. Some businesses have never closed during the pandemic, and those essential kinds of businesses stand the best chance to endure. Essential industries vary by state, but generally include healthcare, grocery stores, delivery services, convenience stores, food production, critical trades such as electricians and auto repair, government, communications, gas stations, transportation, pest control, lawn care, and contracting.
- Get to know the people and the processes. This means, as you narrow down the list, it’s essential that you find out whether the people who run the franchise – and the way they run it – align with your wants and needs. Ask them the right questions when you have the opportunity. What sets your brand apart? What is your failure rate? What does it take to succeed? Is my territory protected?
- Investigate the franchisor’s response to crisis situations. Call other franchisees and see what their experience was like with the franchisor in the midst of a crisis. Inquiring how franchisors did or did not step up to help franchisees during adverse times will provide insight into how much support you could count on as a franchisee. At Mosquito Authority®, after franchisee Steve McNeal suffered considerable damage to his franchise shop and home from Hurricane Laura, help came from headquarters and from franchisees in different states. Franchisees traveled to do treatments for McNeal’s customers while the corporate team provided customer communications and supplies.
- Know your comfort level – out front or behind the scenes? Do you like working with the general public and servicing the general public, or are you more comfortable behind the scenes helping people via emails or telephone? If you are an introvert who feels uncomfortable talking to people in person on a daily basis, then you should not own a retail or service business that requires a lot of personal interaction. Know your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Perhaps you can recruit people with complementary skills to help you run your franchise.
Remember, franchisors want all their people to succeed. Sometimes the lessons of adversity and finding ways to navigate through it, as during the pandemic, lead to success. In today’s climate, so much depends on franchisees doing the homework to find the right opportunity, and the right team.
Chris Buitron is CEO and president of Mosquito Authority® (www.mosquito-authority.com), a nationwide leader in mosquito control with franchises serving communities across the U.S. and Canada. Buitron has an extensive background in franchise industries. He was chief marketing officer for Senior Helpers, vice president of marketing for Direct Energy (home services division), and director of marketing for Sunoco Inc., where he supported the company’s 4,700 franchised and company-owned rental facilities across 23 states (over $15B in annual revenues).
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