Another day, another lockdown. Necessarily so, but thankfully the vaccine now offers real hope of a return to some kind of normality in the not-too-distant future. So, what can franchisees and franchisors do today, to make sure they are stronger for a better tomorrow?
The positive news is that when trading does resume, it is likely there will be an upsurge in consumer spending so it’s important we are ready to respond to the ‘boom’. There is plenty to be getting on with behind the scenes during quieter times. Never have we had more time to work ‘on’ our businesses rather than ‘in’ them, so act now!
Firstly, cover the financials. There is still huge uncertainty, so it’s important to have a handle on the numbers. A complete analysis of the figures including capital reserves, overheads, any major upcoming costs such as loan repayments, VAT deferrals plus income, means it is possible to forecast cashflow and plan ahead. From this key information, map out what actions need to be taken and when. Will it be necessary to opt in for a 0% VAT loan deferral with HMRC? Or will you need additional finance as a pragmatic way to prop-up the operation until it’s business as usual? Never has there been such support available, so ensure you are taking full advantage of what’s on offer. If, like many people, the thought of analysing the figures puts your head in a spin, then talk to your accountant (or one of our friendly advisors at d&t!) who can help.
Working on business planning now can also help maximise the opportunities that a post-vaccine spending uplift will offer. Start thinking ahead to ensure this valuable opportunity is not wasted. Do you have the right stock, are your staff ready and trained to sell your products and services to the maximum number of clients as possible?
When it comes to marketing, the biggest mistake anyone can make right now is to do nothing. Be proactive, refresh marketing material, update your website and plan summer campaigns. Get everything in place ready to push the button just at the right time to steal a march on your competitors. However be sure to revaluate your strategy to your clients’ pandemic adjusted priorities, safety is paramount in everyone’s minds so let your clients know your business is COVID safe.
Also consider other areas for improvement within your franchise. Can you fix what’s gone wrong in the past? Access to online courses and staff training during quieter times can be beneficial long-term, not only that as training is not money generating work furloughed staff are able to complete too, upskilling whilst technically inactive. It might be time to learn about social media marketing or how to update your own website or even bring in-house elements of book-keeping. Ask yourself, what else can I be doing now to cut costs and strengthen my franchise over the long-term? This may include researching new and more cost-effective suppliers or looking at ways to reduce overheads and improve efficiencies.
Sometimes, bringing multiple services under one roof can save time and budget. For example, switching to a single provider such as d&t who offers everything from financial health checks for franchisees, business planning, broker finance, book-keeping and accountancy services can prove advantageous.
Using lockdown time wisely today, will help pave the way for a more successful future tomorrow.
For further information please visit www.team-dt.com