July 10, 2012 // Franchising.com // There are times when an economic slowdown can be good for business-if the company makes wise strategic moves to prepare for recovery. Take Fibrenew, the world-wide leader in leather and plastic restoration. While many businesses pulled back during the great recession, Fibrenew continued to expand, thanks to a flexible business model, an aggressive approach to growing the company, and a service that is in demand.
“Rather than be cautious and hold onto cash during unstable times, I invested to create new revenue streams and expand our sales force because our franchise model and the service we provide is in demand,” says Michael Wilson, CEO of Fibrenew. “The restoration and renewal of leather furniture is much cheaper than buying new, so our business thrives when the economy is down. In addition, people who are looking for new careers and wanting to own their business are also attracted to our franchise model.”
While the company’s rapid growth rate slowed a bit in 2011, franchise sales for 2012 are on track to top 2011’s numbers.
Steady Franchise Growth
2006: 6 franchises sold
2007: 9 franchises sold
2008: 12 franchises sold
2009: 24 franchises sold
2010: 30 franchises sold
2011: 18 franchises sold
2012: 11 franchises sold since January 1
Wilson believes several investments Fibrenew made at the height of the recession in 2010 continue to pay off including:
Wilson says one payoff from investing in the sales team is the growth in franchise development from former corporate workers who want to put their valuable skillset to work for themselves and control their own destiny rather than wait for something to happen. Opening a Fibrenew franchise is attractive for unemployed executives because it is a “lifestyle” franchise; they can be their own boss, set their own hours, the franchise can be run out of their house, and they can work with their hands to make old furniture new again.
Fibrenew is also expanding into new markets. While the company’s traditional business has been the refurbishing of furniture and the interior of cars, boats and airplanes, Fibrenew sought new business from insurance and warranty companies looking to save money by restoring rather than replacing damaged items.
The company also tapped into the growing concerns over health care costs by expanding into the medical market and refurbishing the furniture in waiting rooms and exam rooms. Medical facilities took advantage of the cost savings of repairing rather than replacing worn furniture.
“It was a risky move but I thought the recession presented opportunities if you invested carefully and it’s paying off,” adds Wilson. “While other companies are deciding what to do, we keep selling franchises.”
Fibrenew, founded in 1985 in Canada, is an international franchise company that specializes in the renewal of leather and plastics, servicing five major markets: aviation, automotive, commercial, marine and residential. There are nearly 200 Fibrenew locations in 9 countries around the world. As a global leader in the environmental movement, Fibrenew prevents thousands of tons of leather and plastics from entering landfills. Fibrenew also supports initiatives that give opportunities to women in third world countries. For more information visit www.fibrenew.com