George Cohon, renowned businessman and founder of...
The current pandemic and its impact on the economy is a curve ball no one expected, and if you own a Canadian franchise, it's very likely your world has just turned upside down. As challenging as everything is right now, there are steps you can take to help your business survive the current environment.
Right now is a great time to review your expenses and look for non-essential services you don't need or can handle yourself. When times are good, you can have someone come once a month to wash windows or cut grass. Now, however, it's time to do those things yourself or put them off until they really need to be done again. As things return to normal, you can go back to outsourcing, but for now, do what you can to protect your bottom line.
If you've got someone on retainer--such as an attorney or accountant--call them up and see what they can do about those monthly retainer fees you are paying. Can they lower the amount or tweak the arrangement in another way? Find out what they can do for you.
For a brick-and-mortar spot, it's time to call the landlord and see what they are willing to do. If you have general liability insurance but no customers are coming in, speak to the insurer about waiving payments or giving you premium credits.
While you may pause before making these calls, you really shouldn't. No service provider or vendor wants to lose customers right now, so they are going to be more than willing to work with you.
Take a look at your operations and see if there are any ways you can make the most out of this situation. If you have a lot of food that you can't move and will go to waste, for example, see about donating it to a local food charity. This is more than just a good act--your business will receive positive press and you may be able to include the donation value on your tax return for credits.
In the same vein, consider whether you can meet your customers' needs in new ways. Think about what you can do to make customers and any staff feel safe and comfortable about shopping with you. If you really have no idea, explore what your competition is doing for inspiration.
During this time, your franchisor should be able to offer you help as well. They are the experts in your concept and may know more ways it can adapted or configured. They also might be able to be creative from a financial standpoint. For example, if your sales are down 40 percent, your franchisor may be willing to reduce your royalty payment by that percentage or even waive some fees while you are impacted by the crisis.
This is a trying time for everyone, but there are things you can to help your business survive. Get creative, don't be afraid to ask for help and keep the safety of customers and staff in mind as you navigate this new normal.