Preserving Franchise Value During Difficult Times

4 tips on how to preserve the value of your franchise


Running a franchise business is not easy.  Even during good economic times, operating a business is challenging.  Significant challenges come with the territory, and while many business owners become accustomed to overcoming obstacles, there will be challenges in which there is not an easy way through.

It’s commonly known that buying into a franchise system can help mitigate or avoid many of the challenges that come with being a small business owner.  However, it may be during the unavoidable times of difficulty when being part of a franchise system proves its greatest value.  In fact, it is during challenging times when franchise businesses have the greatest opportunity to to preserve, build, and demonstrate their true value.

So, how do franchisors and franchisees overcome extraordinary and unprecedented challenges?  

There are 4 principles that are essential to surviving and preserving franchise value during difficult times:

1. Teamwork.  Franchisors and franchisees must work together.  In a franchise system all boats tend to rise and fall together.  Sure, during good times some individual franchise owners will rise or fall on their own.  However, during extremely difficult times, franchisors and franchisees cannot survive, let alone preserve value, without true collaboration, contribution, and commitment to each other.  The level of teamwork that franchisors and franchisees exhibit will directly determine how well a franchise organization will survive a trialing time.

It is difficult to refrain from pointing the finger at the other side when things are challenging.  It is also difficult to refrain from a self preservationist way of thinking and operating. Yet, during challenging times, avoiding these two behaviors may be the single biggest factor between survival and failure; between franchise value preservation and franchise value decimation.  Luckily, teamwork is a choice, and it starts when you make the right choice.

2. Brace yourself.  Teamwork alone may not be enough to endure extreme challenges in running a franchise.  Taking quick measures to minimize the impact during the most extreme moments of a storm are also critical to survival and franchise value preservation.  This may mean suspending or scaling back non-essential expenses.  This may mean working extra hours and taking on tasks you dislike or once had the luxury to delegate.  In some cases, bracing yourself may even mean temporarily pausing all or some of your business operations.  

Whatever the case may be, there may be a period during the peak of the storm when you simply have to brace yourself and temporarily let other things go.  It may be the scariest part of weathering a storm, but survival may require it, and it may ultimately be what preserves the value of your franchise and enables you to continue in it for many more years.

3. Creativity, innovation, and adaptability are more important than ever.  The ingenuity and brilliance demonstrated by small business owners during difficult times is inspiring.  Not only can creativity, innovation and adaptability enable a franchise business to survive during difficult times, but when we are forced to look at things differently, when we are required to solve new problems or apply new solutions, it can change the way things are done forever, even after the storm has passed.  This can enable a franchise brand to become stronger and more valuable than it was prior to the crisis.

One of the few certainties in life is change.  Being willing to operate differently when circumstances demand it may be the difference between preserving franchise value and having a cheap franchise for sale.  Which would you rather have?  One of the advantages of buying into a franchise is that innovative ideas and creative adaptations are shared with others in the franchise system.  These new ideas can be quickly implemented, expanded, and improved so that everyone can contribute to and benefit from them.

4. Keep moving forward.  Do not stop. When bad things happen, good things can come of it if we keep moving forward.  This is true in life and in business. In many cases, this happens one step at a time.  In difficult times, it is impossible to create a perfect roadmap that accounts for every necessary step that must be taken along the way. Not moving forward at all, not taking a single step forward followed by another step forward, will only ensure failure. 

Don’t worry about all the steps that must be taken.  Simply ask, “what is the next right thing to do?”, and then do it.  After you’ve done this enough times, you will have walked right out of the storm, or you will have made your way to a place where your franchise can be sustained and where you can preserve the franchise value in the midst of the storm.

Those who work together, brace themselves, innovate, and keep moving forward will be the ones that preserve the value of their franchise during difficult times.  Many franchisors, franchisees, and other business owners already practice these things, perhaps now more than ever. In fact, these are the franchise brands and franchise owners that are an encouragement, a motivation, a bright spot in the midst of trying times.  They don’t make excuses. They make it happen. You have probably noticed them, or you may be one of them.  

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