A supplier to the franchise sector - what to do right now

That’s a bloody good question…

Here’s what you don’t do. Right now, in your discussions with franchisors, don’t focus on ways you can help in the recovery period after we get through this - and we will.

There will be plenty of time for that chat, when the true extent of the situation plays out in the days and weeks ahead. Only then will you truly know exactly how you can help them recover and get back to growing the business - which it will.

Initially I thought to myself that I should reinforce how I can help when they are ready to grow etc, thinking it was positive and uplifting, and a light at the end of the tunnel. But I think at this very moment, that’s tone deaf and you could do your relationship some damage.

I think right now, aside from the actual service you provide, the best thing you can do is offer your support by checking in and seeing how, and if, you can give additional help within your own abilities and resources. We’ll all be different as we all support franchisors in different ways.

It’s the shock and disbelief period right now

People will be in shock in their businesses right now, and things are still to move significantly from here as of writing on 20 March, so it’s going to get worse before it gets better. So you won’t have people's attention anyway. 

Right now it’s all about franchise owners and franchisors supporting them - and us supporting franchisors.

The last thing they’ll want or will be able to focus on right now is talk of recovery after the fact. They’re dealing with today and tomorrow, or next week, not your thoughts on ways to grow again or on non-mission critical elements as we roll out of this crisis - but we will.

It’s about timing. Be there. Be available. But, you will likely do more damage coming across as tone deaf in talking about strategies as we emerge in too much detail right now. Depending on the client, maybe that’s a conversation as soon as the end of next week...who knows, but switch on that emotional intelligence and listen.

You are well placed for clear thinking

You have a unique perspective in offering insights. I think as key suppliers and stakeholders, given how close we work with brands, you are well-placed to provide clear and unfiltered insights. You / we understand them. You can be a sounding board, a shoulder to lean on, and maybe that is the best possible thing you can be. 

Further, because we’re often a step back, we are also not as close to their situation on the ground. As a result, we potentially have the ability to find different solutions to help that maybe they couldn’t see.

Put yourself in your franchisors shoes, and try to think of some ideas that may help the network. They will be totally focused on their network. Maybe you have ideas you can bring to them that are around things not even a part of your service offering, but you have a capability to help. 

Something from left-field, and it’s maybe the out-of-the-box thinking your franchisor client needs. 

We’re going to get through this, and we’re going to do it together.

These scenes will happen again...

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