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Franchising When Disaster Strikes

When disaster strikes, franchisees have to pick up the pieces and move on. This is something that business owners in Japan are learning right now sadly. Franchisees in Christchurch had to deal with similar tragedy only a month ago. As natural disasters seems to occur more and more often, it pays for a franchisee to plan for the worst.

Of course, the commissioning editors at Entrepreneur magazine had no clue of the lurking catastrophe in Japan when they assigned journalist Fawn Fitter a story on how franchisees cope with natural disasters, but the story proved tragically prescient. It’s probably not of much solace to anyone in Japan or anyone who’s lost a business due to a natural disaster, but there are lessons for business owners all over the world in this story.

One of the advantages of owning a franchise is, of course, that you have what Entrepreneur call a “safety net”: that is, the support of your corporate team. Jay Hennessy’s Snap Fitness gym was flooded in 2010 and thankfully, the franchise helped him get back to business right away.

"They picked up part of the cost of the clean-up, not with a loan, but with cash to get things done," he told Entrepreneur. "It was a decision they made on the fly, and I appreciated it."

The story discusses two other franchisees: one who lost a store to by fire, the other to a hurricane. Both are open now and thriving. There a number of lessons they have for other for franchisees. One it is to prepare for the worst. The other is to trust your corporate franchise team.

If the unforeseen ever happens, it's important to have a friend. Your franchisor might be the best friend you'll ever have.

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