Coronavirus and Franchising Webinar: Day 1 Recap

In part 1 of a 3-part webinar series, Nick Powills and Charles Internicola discussed where the franchising industry stands with the COVID-19 outbreak and the necessary framework needed for growth and recovery.

by Taylor Karg, 1851 Franchise

As COVID-19, colloquially known as the Coronavirus, continues to wreak havoc on communities all over the globe, some industries will be harder than others, and others will inevitably come out on top.

That uncertainty applies doubly to the franchising industry because, right now, industry experts just don’t know what’s coming next. Nick Powills, CEO of Mainland* and publisher of 1851 Franchise, put it this way: “Right now, everyone in the franchising industry — this includes franchisors, franchisees, brokers and suppliers — needs to be establishing the necessary framework in order to be prepared for what’s to come.”

This week, Powills, along with co-host Charles Internicola, partner at the Internicola Law* Firm, are covering the coronavirus and its impact on the franchising industry through a special three-day webinar series titled “What Coronavirus (COVID-19) Will Mean for Franchise Brands”.

On Tuesday, March 17, Powills and Internicola hosted part one of the three-part series, in which they discussed the necessary framework for recovery and growth during this time of global uncertainty.

The franchise industry experts divided the framework into three categories of thinking — short-term, intermediate and long-term — based on what stage the coronavirus pandemic is in.

Here are a few key insights from Day 1: Framework for Recovery and Growth.

Where we are right now

Things are changing so rapidly that everything being said for right now, is for right now only. According to a John Hopkins University tracker, the U.S. has 5,853 total confirmed cases of coronavirus. Local and state governments are continuously scrambling to figure out the best course of action for trying to contain the virus’s spread, which for some cities means going on lock-down.

As part of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) received $20 million for disaster relief loan programs to support SBA’s administration that will be made available to entities financially impacted as a result of the Coronavirus. Entities like franchises, where a majority of small-operation franchisees took out loans to support their business, fall under this bracket.

Additionally, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was also issued. The Act has many facets to it including new temporary employer obligations relative to paid leaves of absence related to the Coronavirus and expands employer obligations under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Law.

Short-term framework for recovery and growth

  • Brace for impact: If anything, this virus has taught us that everything is unknown and things are bound to get worse before they get better.
  • Protect life: Consider the health standpoint of your customers and employees.
  • Defensive measures: Your people, places, profits and plans.
  • Legal: Consider suspension of legal obligations imposed on franchisees.

Intermediate framework for recovery and growth

  • Prepare for offensive recovery: How can you prepare for the next wave of impact, start looking at Q3/Q4.
  • Leadership: How can you, as a franchisor, protect your franchise system right now.
  • Redefine your brand: Take this downtime to reflect on your brand and fix what wasn’t working.
  • Create buckets for success: Turn any threats and challenges into opportunities.
  • Recognize opportunity for innovation: What aspects of your brand can you improve on/make better.
  • Over-support franchisees and stabilize: Put scaffolding around franchisees, provide them the flexibility to figure things out.
  • Legal: Implement modified franchisee obligations to support cash flow.

Long-term framework for recovery and growth

  • Recover and grow: There will be effects on each and every business — some good, some bad — but it’s how you prepare that will allow you to recover and grow.
  • Leadership: Don’t be afraid to let people know you are going through a rough time, lean on others for help.
  • Brand: How can you use what happened to come out on top.
  • Innovation: When this is over, a brand-new franchising landscape will arise, start thinking about the future.
  • Legal: Implement a win-win strategy for both the franchisor and franchisee.

1851 will continue to cover the coronavirus and its impact on franchising. Tune in Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19, at 1 p.m. EDT / 10 am. PDT for parts two and three of the webinar series. Register here.

Coronavirus and Franchising Webinar: Day 1 Recap