FranNet CEO Jania Bailey Provides a Franchise Forecast for 2021

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Bailey expects franchise brands in Home Cleaning/Restoration/Insulation, Childhood Enrichment/Swim Schools, Boutique Fitness and Health Food to stay on top in 2021.

Jania Bailey, CEO of FranNet, a top-ranked, international franchise consultancy with more than 100 consultants around the world, keeps a pulse on franchise market insights daily.

As 2021 shapes up to be another unprecedented year, Bailey has distilled some of that wisdom into a set of predictions for what the next big industries and trends will be in franchising.

Spoiler alert: Despite a precarious economy and an ongoing pandemic, franchising remains as strong as ever. Bailey identifies what happened to the franchising industry in 2020 and what to expect in 2021.

2020: Good Riddance? Or Good Momentum?

According to Bailey, the pandemic became an opportunity for franchises to weed out inefficiencies in systems and refocus on communication. Both the International Franchise Association and 1851 Franchise stepped up to inform and lead the industry in its moment of need.

“The pandemic knocked the wind out of all of us initially,” said Bailey. “No one could have predicted or prepared for what we were hit with. As an industry organization, the IFA really rose to the challenge, as did Nick Powills and 1851Franchise, who offered webinars and a flood of information to the industry.”

But the pandemic didn’t harm all franchising sectors equally, and even within sectors, some concepts failed while others thrived. Bailey said this is one reason why investors seek out franchise brokers: to make sure they back the right horse.

“We have our fingers on the pulse of the industry constantly,” said Bailey. “We know who is doing the right things, we know who is struggling. We are ahead of the learning curve, and for potential franchisees, that’s insight they might not otherwise have.”

Which Industries Will Dominate in 2021?

The data is in, and Bailey and her team are ready to declare 2020’s winners and which industries are positioned to continue crushing sales and revenue goals in 2021.

First up is the home cleaning/restoration/insulation spaces. The era of remote work is upon us, and with professionals spending more time than ever in their home offices, the need for cleaning, handy work and insulation is higher than ever before. FranNet has seen these businesses dominate in sales and can lead potential franchisees to a winning concept in these spaces.

Similarly, educational franchises for children and particularly swim schools are mounting a charge. With the 2020 school year disrupted at a greater scale than ever before, parents are now even more willing to spend on their children’s education. The pandemic should rob no one of an instructive childhood, and franchise opportunities like swim schools afford parents an opportunity to teach their children real, vital life skills in a COVID-19 safe environment.

While large brick-and-mortar gyms have been hit hard by forced closures, smart, boutique fitness franchises have innovated at lightning speed to keep guests spending on fitness. From mobile fitness franchises to online classes or outdoor activities, this sector has produced dozens of hits. Franchisees looking to strike while the iron is hot can consult with FranNet on which concepts look likely to clear the bar.

Finally, expect to see a surge in health food concepts. When the pandemic disrupted our daily routine, Americans largely turned to fast food and pizza. Nobody can fault someone for eating comfort food in 2020, but eventually, functioning adults need to eat nutritious options. Healthy food franchises will take over in 2021 as people prioritize their health, according to Bailey.

Industry Trends and Forecasts for 2021

1) A Franchise Sales Bonanza

“I think it's going to be a very strong year for franchising,” said Bailey. The current unemployment numbers, asset values, and shifting public perspective in pandemic times has created something of a “perfect storm” for franchise sales in 2021.

“We all know that franchising has good years when unemployment is high,” she said. “A lot of jobs that went away during the pandemic won't come back or will come back very slowly, which will result in an increase in franchise sales.”

2) Working From Home for Good

Zoom calls are here to stay. Find a flattering background. “As an industry person, I miss seeing my friends and seeing everyone and being a part of the networking,” said Bailey.

While Bailey expects restaurants and in-person activities to perk back up over the summer and fall, Pandora’s box has been opened on the convenience of working from home. Wait until the 3rd quarter for people to feel safe traveling for work.

3) Down to the Essentials

Businesses deemed essential retained a clear advantage throughout the pandemic. According to Bailey, they’ll continue to thrive in 2021.

If a company is selling franchises, they should expect potential buyers to ask about how they performed during the historic pandemic.

“I think one of the questions in validation a candidate will ask is, ‘How did the business hold up during the pandemic?’ If franchisors have a good answer, that will bode well for them.”

4) A Reckoning for Franchisors

“I think this is going to result in the franchise industry needing to take a look at the requirements for someone to become a franchisor,” said Bailey.

There’s nothing like a global pandemic to force a rethink of a massive industry like franchising. Some businesses, simply put, were not ready for the storm and perhaps should not have been selling franchises in the first place.

“The pandemic showed us some of these undercapitalized start-up concepts were not prepared for any bump in the road, which is very unfair to young franchisees investing,” said Bailey. “When I see a closed sign, I realize that was someone's dream of business ownership that has been shattered. We need to continue to mature as an industry and not just sell concepts quickly to open and get royalties in.”

For more insights from Bailey and her team at FranNet, contact the local office for a free consultation by visiting http://www.FranNet.com.

ABOUT FRANNET:
FranNet is North America’s most respected leader in matching individuals with franchise ownership opportunities. Founded in 1987, FranNet has more than 100 experienced consultants across the United States, Canada and Germany. FranNet uses a proprietary profiling and consultative process to determine a business model unique to each client’s goals, skill sets and interests, and has matched thousands of prospective business owners to rewarding small business franchise opportunities. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, FranNet is the only locally-owned and operated franchised consulting firm.

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Lauren Turner
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