Crisis Management: Navigating Challenges as a Franchisee

Navigating Challenges as a Franchisee

In today’s high-paced business world, it’s no longer a question of whether a crisis is going to happen but when it will take place.

As for the last three years alone, we have of three major crises in the UK. This is no small clue to bounce on the idea that tough times will turn out to be unexpected and stay longer than anticipated.

Navigating through crises can end up being a real challenge for franchisees who operate under the umbrella of a well-established brand and business model. The response to a natural disaster, financial hardship, or cyberattack needs to be planned in anticipation of this.

Therefore, we will go about the realm of crisis management for franchisees. We will look at what crisis management is, why it is important, and the challenges faced by franchises and provide tips on how to prepare during a crisis and strategies for those tough times.

What is crisis management?

Crisis management involves using techniques that allow an organisation to cope with a crisis which is a sudden serious problem that can damage its reputation and its ability to operate smoothly.

These include policies and procedures which are put in place to protect defensively, and reduce or eliminate the likelihood of a crisis.

Crises can display various forms, including an unexpected situation when someone eats a raw bat and spreads a deadly disease to the world level, to something predicted or unpredicted (anticipated or unanticipated) as the result of political, social or other actions.

In the context of a crisis, whatever the nature of the crisis, decision-making should be immediate to minimise damage to the organisation. Disasters can be caused by nature, or by financial problems or cyber-attacks, as an example.

The range of potential damage can be highly variable, impacting an organisation in many different ways, such as health, safety, finances, reputation, customer loyalty, brand loyalty, or any combination of these separately or together.

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many cleaning firms suffered a devastating blow, as the lockdowns prevented people from going out of their homes, so they just undertook cleaning by themselves.

Naturally, this led to a significant loss of business to an entire industry, which, if not mediated, would have been enough to ruin the entire sector as a whole. Thankfully, the big brands in this industry took it upon themselves to mitigate the crisis and find a way to operate regardless. Thus, crisis management is not just a mere suggestion. It is a need.

Importance of crisis management.

Crisis management is, therefore, a must for franchisees because it safeguards the franchising system and keeps the business going. Let’s delve into why it is crucial:

Protecting Reputation and Stakeholders

Crises always deteriorate the brand image and credibility of the organisation. As a result, the trust of customers, investors, employees, and other stakeholders will be affected. Crisis management plans that are implemented make organisations, in turn instil confidence in their customers and minimise negative reputational consequences.

Minimising Financial Losses

Some crises may cause enormous financial losses for enterprises. Properly framed CMPs reduce the impact of the damaging financial losses as a result of such events as data breaches, which have cost organisations an average of $4,45 million globally in 2023.

Ensuring Business Continuity

Continuity of business is another important feature of crisis management. Franchisees need to see to it that primary business activities do not cease, even during severely disruptive crises.

Contingency planning includes implementing business continuity plans, emergency response protocols, backup systems, and other safety measures to ensure business functions are secure and critical services remain available for employees and customers during crises.

Maintaining Public Trust

It is crucial to have clear and trustful communication throughout the crisis. Organisations can ensure that the public retains trust by communicating the messages through empathetic public relations, responding to the stakeholders’ concerns and giving the required updates.

This approach is crucial for preserving the franchise’s reputation.

But how does all of this concern the ordinary franchisee, who often is under the wing of a huge corporation that looks after them?

Challenges that franchisees face

While being a franchisee during a crisis is a bit easier, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare yourself.

The Franchisor, without a doubt, has their policies for crisis management, and you should take a page out of their book and build up your own.

Franchisees follow the franchisor’s business model that has already been set, which affords them the advantages of brand recognition and assistance. But, this very peculiar position entails a separate set of challenges for crisis management.

In franchisees’ relationships with their franchisors, they have a fine balance where they exert their autonomy yet obey the brand standards of the franchisor. They both value the brand identity that is already up and running, however, staying within it can be challenging during critical situations.

Quick decision-making may be in conflict with the need to maintain brand consistency. On the other hand, the franchisees are an operating entity under the franchisor’s business model and have very limited control over the strategic decisions. Losing the sense of control is also one of the potential problems when the given situation keeps on changing, and it is especially problematic when dealing with crises.

Franchisees might find it challenging to implement crisis management measures quickly without the freedom to pivot the entire business model.

Also, managing financial resources can be a significant challenge for franchisees, especially when it comes to crisis preparedness. They might have limited capital for investments in robust crisis management plans, recovery strategies, or even essential equipment. This limitation can hinder their ability to respond effectively to crises.

The Franchisors may differ greatly in their level of support and guidance. Some franchisors are very active and have a significant share of the responsibility during crisis times, while others are more relaxed and prefer the passive approach. The lack of adequate assistance and resources from the franchisor could affect the franchisee’s ability to react timely during a time of crisis.

The franchisee needs to be informative about the market and customer types to be capable of mitigating the risk. To remain successful in the face of these changes, the decision-making becomes especially hard when the franchisee does not have the whole authority.

Deep-house cleaning franchise operating may be affected by such a scenario as the pandemic, and if that happens you might want to expand the services and offer sanitisation, antiviral cleaning and others.

Fantastic Services, one of the best house cleaning UK franchises, used this opportunity to expand its business–in fact, while other brands went bankrupt, they did not.

So, how does one prepare to become as flexible as this company?

How to be prepared?

The first step to effective crisis management is being ready to face a crisis. What we are trying to say is that you should prepare yourself for the eventuality of the ‘unexpected’. Wow that sounds like a cliché, but it does work as well.

So, to successfully cope with a crisis, it is important that you read and reread your franchise agreement until you fully understand it. This way, you will know what support to expect and what you must manage for yourself.

Furthermore, work with the franchisor or get an expert to formulate an emergency control plan specific to your franchise. This plan should consist of the various crisis scenarios and what steps are to be taken in each.

Make sure your workers are well trained and equipped on crisis response–from evacuation procedures to communication protocols and so on. Training meetings are conducted on a regular basis to let everyone get involved in the process.

Finally, forge close ties with the local emergency, supply, and community organisations. Such links can be invaluable during times of crisis.

Strategies for times of crisis

During times of crisis, franchisees need to act fast and strong. Prevention of crises is not always possible due to the fact that unforeseen crises are something that a business should expect to encounter. Thus, the stage should be set in the right way to face these problems.

One of the important approaches is that of keeping communication lines open with the staff, the customers, and the stakeholders. This is the kind of transparency that is being done on the difficult situation the business is having and the actions which are to be taken. It also involves responsiveness to issues and addressing feedback.

Another vital component is strengthening the alliances with core stakeholders, including suppliers, investors, and sectorial groups. These relationships can provide essential support and resources during a crisis.

Franchisees can also learn from past crises by studying what worked and what didn’t. This analysis can help them to refine their crisis management strategies.

In some cases, it may be necessary to seek expert guidance from consultants, mentors, or industry experts. These individuals can offer valuable insights and advice on how to navigate a crisis effectively.

Franchisees should also have a comprehensive crisis management plan in place. This plan should outline roles and responsibilities, communication protocols, and decision-making processes.

Technology can also play a vital role in helping franchisees to navigate crises. By investing in tools for remote work, online sales, and communication, franchisees can adapt to changing conditions and maintain operations.

The organisation`s growth mindset should be another major strategy. This mentality enables employees to perceive crisis as a chance for innovation, experience and growth.

Employee well-being should also be top-notch for franchisees in a crisis. This, therefore, involves providing the workers with support and resources to direct them on how they can handle the stress and the challenges they might be facing.

One of the other ways that franchisees can buffer their risk and strengthen their resilience in times of crisis is by being more creative and diversifying their options. This could be doing diversification either by new markets, products or services or by establishing partnerships.

Lastly, franchisees should keep an open mind and always be willing to implement changes to their business structure or operations as the need arises. This implies that you must pay attention to the market trends, customer needs, and industry development so as to keep abreast and flexible.

With these strategies, franchisees would not just overcome the challenges but also grow amid crisis.


Running a franchise in a fast-paced corporate world becomes a major challenge which has crises as part of its reality. Being under the brand and business model umbrella is the positioning of a franchisee.

Franchisees have to face different dimensions of challenges during crisis situations, whether they be sudden natural disasters, financial trouble of the company or unexpected cybersecurity attacks. Crisis management is, therefore, not an option but a necessity.