Despite the challenges of COVID-19 for many franchise systems, franchisors can still be successful in supporting their current franchisees and recruiting new franchisees. In this webinar, Steve Beagelman, President & CEO of SMB Franchise Advisors, discusses the best practices for improved franchise development during the COVID-19 “new normal.”

Franchisors must begin by ensuring that franchisees are receiving enough support because development relies on strong franchise owner validation. Franchisors need to lead in protecting the brand and maintaining bottom line profitability. They can do this by (1) making sure that franchise owners, customers, and employees feel safe, (2) helping franchisees leverage programs (like the PPP program) and relationships (such as with landlords and vendors) to maintain profits, (3) communicate clearly and frequently.

If COVID-19 has had a sustained impact on your business, your franchise system may benefit from short-term reductions in fees that franchisees pay. Another consideration for incoming franchisees is adapting the start-up obligations and development timeline to reflect supply chain disruptions and operational restrictions.

Creating engagement with the brand benefits both current and prospective franchisees. For example, videos featuring franchise owners, customers, and members of the franchisor team are powerful ways to show brand culture. Videos are particularly useful because they can be adapted for multiple platforms.

Finally, franchisors should reevaluate their marketing and sales efforts and try new tactics. Perhaps your ideal franchise candidate has changed with the pandemic and you need to reach him or her in new ways. Maybe there is an opportunity to maximize social media marketing because people are spending more time online. In the webinar, Steve also presents the front-line perspective regarding franchise sales from franchisors who use third party brokers and sales groups.

The critical message of Steve’s presentation is that franchisors should not stop the process of franchise development and should instead adjust their efforts and expectations to reflect both the opportunities and challenges that pandemic has introduced.