5 Tips for Beefing Up Your Franchise Development in 2021
Franchising is known to be resilient, and 2020 was the latest, and perhaps greatest, example. As Covid caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and ravaged our economy, franchises from various sectors found ways to adapt, survive, and in some cases thrive.
So in terms of franchise development, how do we do it again in 2021 – despite more economic uncertainty ahead? At some point later this year, hopefully, thanks to vaccines, we can put the pandemic behind us. Until then, what can we learn from last year’s trying circumstances? How can we apply those lessons this year? And what should we consider adjusting or doing differently? Here are 5 tips to help your franchise development in 2021 and keep it ahead of the curve as the economy tries to recover.
1) Extend your digital marketing and communications. This includes building out your social media, including YouTube, for immediate, consistent, and far-ranging reach. Accentuate your message with video and posts geared to solutions for your target audience. Join neighborhood Facebook groups to connect with your company’s demographic. The pandemic took digital technology to another level as companies saw upgrading it as a necessity, incorporating Zoom calls with employees, franchisees, and clients. Stay on top of the ways technology can connect your franchise with customers and make operations run smoothly.
2) Open a career path for the unemployed. With unemployment still a big problem because of the recession caused by the pandemic, entrepreneurship has become a more attractive option for job seekers. For franchisors, both a larger pool of potential franchisees and employees their franchisees can hire is available. Franchisees can be drawn to the freedom, growth potential, company support, and other attributes that their former career didn’t have. Entrepreneurs of any age can turn to franchising to build their own legacy while benefiting from the support of an established brand. Another selling point for franchisors: with low interest rates, entrepreneurs are in a better position to obtain the funding needed to start a franchise business.
3) Find different ways to expand your in-person grassroots efforts. Obviously, knocking on doors isn’t easy in Covid times. But we find that partnering with homeowners associations is a good way to attract new customers. You also can host local events, organize giveaways, or set up a booth at such events to inform the community about your business. Combining this old-fashioned kind of networking and marketing with the digital approach can help fill your pipeline.
4) Give back, and create goodwill. In these challenging times, giving back to the community has taken on heightened importance. Get involved with your community, show that you can be a resource, and for more than just your service. For example, one of our Mosquito Authority franchisees is giving 100 free treatments per week to front-line Covid workers. And after the latest hurricanes in Louisiana, our franchisees treated work camps for utility workers who were helping to restore power. Goodwill goes a long way and leads to customer loyalty.
5) Be a dependable means of support for franchisees. Most people starting their own business don’t have the built-in benefits of company support. That reassurance and reinforcement certainly aided our franchisees during 2020. Across the country, franchisors in our business and other sectors stepped up to help their franchises. Whether it was financial restructuring or providing infrastructure, supplies, or employees in a pinch, franchisors learned how doing these things strengthened both the franchisees and the system as a whole. Keeping this mindset of always being there for your franchisees is a crucial piece of an overall development plan.
In general, there is a lot of promise for franchising in 2021. Technology has provided the tools and new ways to do business. Many talented, enterprising people are eager to seize new opportunities and reach their higher potential. People are trying to help each other more in these trying times – and franchisees not only fill needs, they are all about reaching out. Finding and maintaining business success is never easy, but a development plan geared to different times, and the discipline to stick to it, can make the journey fulfilling and rewarding.
Chris Buitron is president of The Mosquito Authority, a leader in mosquito control with franchisees serving communities across the U.S. and Canada. He previously served as CMO at 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.
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