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Forbes: Why Franchise Leadership Is More Important Than Ever Amid COVID-19

Founder and CEO of SMB Franchise Advisors Steven Beagelman on how franchisors can help lead their teams through this crisis.

Even as some states begin to re-open, business across the country continue to grapple with the devastating economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis and the rapidly shifting consumer habits it has created. Franchise brands are no exception, but their unique business model offers some valuable resources that independent businesses lack.

In a recent article for Forbes Magazine, founder and CEO of SMB Franchise Advisors* Steven Beagelman discussed how franchisors are able — and in fact obligated to — support their franchisees throughout this unprecedented crisis.

The franchise industry is undoubtedly facing a situation unlike anything it has seen before. The COVID-19 crisis has caused brands across nearly every industry to temporarily close their doors or rethink their operations, putting franchisors in a position where they need to act fast in order to provide the necessary support. Now more than ever, franchisors must show true leadership for their franchisees and team members so that they can respond, recover and thrive.

The first step? Communication. Beagelman advises franchisors to set up robust new communications protocols to ensure that every franchisee is on the same page about reopening plans, best practices, messaging and a range of other crucial details.

To achieve this, many franchisors are rolling out new initiatives to enhance the level of communication throughout their network. In addition to the usual franchise support, brands are adding more conference calls, webinars and regular video town hall meetings as well as more frequent one-on-one conversations to keep franchisees in the loop. Since the situation is changing rapidly, especially as certain states start to reopen, franchisees need to receive up-to-date information on available resources, whether it is financing options, the SBA CARES Act which includes the PPP and other loans, vendor partnerships or potential rent deferment.

Next, Beagelman urges franchisors to strategically adapt their business model to the new consumer environment and to start planning for the post-covid future.

it’s also important for franchise brands to be prepared for the “new normal” of the future. That means speaking with franchisees about how they’re going to ramp back up once consumers are spending again. Many teams are halting advertising and marketing altogether to preserve cash flow while some are staying the course in an effort to keep momentum. Even if active advertising needs to be pulled back a bit, brands should adjust the sales messaging to align with a more empathetic mindset.

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