Obviously, the coronavirus is at the top of everyone’s mind at the moment, and small businesses in particular are worried. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to explain the role of a franchise when it comes to a situation like this and how important it is for a small business to have external support.
Communication is Key
One of the first things we did when the crisis hit was to create a Workplace group on Facebook. This is only open to members of the MagiKats network but we felt it was really important to have an open channel of communication. It allows us to communicate with our franchisees instantly and regularly throughout the day.
Our franchisees are also able to keep in touch with each other via Workplace for important mutual support and to allow a free flow of ideas in respect of different ways of managing the current situation. The general consensus is that our franchisees really appreciate being able to keep in touch with each other.
Communications, Policies and Procedures
We do think that it’s important that we help our franchisees with the administrative side of running a business and with some of the important decisions our franchisees will have to make.
To that end, one of the things we can do is to help with both external communications and internal procedures. We are reviewing all guidance and advice from both the Government and Department of Education daily on behalf of our franchisees. We’ve also drafted letters which our franchisees can send to parents and given our franchisees advice on how to deal with different situations as they arise. That includes how to continue to provide the MagiKats service or what to do if a parent doesn’t want to pay.
Alternatives to the Workshop Environment
Although it has only been a few days since the announcement of the lockdown, we have already put systems in place to be able to deliver our workshops online. We have recommended franchisees issue bumper packs of work for completion at home. We have just started work on an enhancement to KATS (our centre management system) that will allow parents to access future work via a portal and print it at home for their kids.
Every franchisee is different and has different concerns at this time. We are doing our best to support them as they navigate the minefield of customer relations alongside business pressures.
As a franchise we have always seen it as our role is to support, advise and assist our franchisees in any and all ways that we can. We certainly never expected events to unfold in the way that they have this year, but we are pleased that our business model is able to support our franchisees and we will continue to look at new ways we can do so.