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A Conversation With: Bryan Park and Aaron Benedict of Footprints Floors

Nick Powills and Charles Internicola are joined by Bryan Park, CEO of Footprints Floors, and Aaron Benedict, Footprints Floors franchisee, to discuss how the franchise industry is tackling the issues brought on by COVID-19.

The coronavirus continues to have dire effects on businesses across the country, and the franchise industry is no exception. Franchisors across segments are strategizing new ways to support their franchisees, keep customers satisfied, help local communities and come out stronger on the other side of this crisis.

To that end, 1851 Franchise publisher Nick Powills and Charles Internicola, founder and partner of the Internicola Law* Firm, are covering the coronavirus and its impact on the franchising industry through our A Conversation With webinar series.

In today’s afternoon webinar, Powills and Internicola spoke with Footprints Floors* CEO Bryan Park and franchisee Aaron Benedict about how the franchising industry is responding to the crisis.

Here are some of the key insights from their discussion.

Surviving a Recession

Our struggles make us stronger. Footprints Floors started in 2008 after Park was laid off from another flooring company that couldn’t make it through the recession. This allowed him to create a smarter way of operating, one that would allow his company to better withstand economic downturns. That infrastructure has carried Footprints Floors through to today and positioned the brand for success.

As we enter a new recession, the companies with heavy overhead expenses are going to suffer the most, while those that stay nimble are going to make it through. For example, Footprints Floors was started with the goal of keeping expenses tied to goods sold — if owners aren’t doing work, then they don’t need to worry about paying staff. The business is scalable in both directions, meaning it can grow when things are good and shrink when they are not. 

Franchisors are starting to realize the headaches that come with nonessential, brick and mortar locations. Business owners need to seriously evaluate whether their physical locations will make enough money to pay for themselves. 

Too often, businesses get caught up in growth and don’t plan for periods where they might have to slow down. Instead of focusing on power or prestige, franchisors should focus on making employees' lives better and offering quality services. 

Having a simple and streamlined business model is more important than ever as it will keep franchisees confident in their ability to grow and adapt to the times. Now is not the time to be picky — help consumers in any way they need. 

As unique as this situation feels, the world has experienced crises before. Keep that in mind and control your attitude. Confidence at a corporate level is contagious and emboldens franchisees. 

The New Franchise Development

Corporate teams who help franchisees pivot and adapt are able to better fill their pipelines and encourage validation in the long run. It is also important to capture this moment through content for future reference. 

This is a huge learning opportunity. Beyond implementing new practices, now is a great 

time for franchisors to learn what works best about their model and double down. This is an opportunity to show franchisee prospects that franchisors were at their best when things were at their worst.

Put franchisees' success ahead of everything else. Now is the time to be supportive and compassionate with our teams. 

A Strong Company Culture

A meaningful company culture is about understanding who the brand is and being transparent with the team. During this unprecedented time, culture is more important than ever to make sure franchisees are motivated. Franchisees make great franchisors, not the other way around.

Invest in company culture to ensure that everyone throughout the network feels supported. Whether it be employees happy to come in to work or consumers satisfied with services, franchisors need to spread that positivity across their entire network.

Create a platform to nurture a healthy brand culture where franchisees can find answers. For example, Footprints Floors has a group chat in which owners have been able to stay connected during this trying time.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.