Coronavirus: how franchisors are showing real leadership – by Steven Frost

Bill Gates, who in 2015, famously predicted that a global flu pandemic was the biggest threat to human life, has compared coronavirus to a world war because of its global reach and impact on everyday life.

‘Good’ businesses have shifted from growth to survive and franchising is no exception. Every single franchisor in the UK, whether an emerging upstart or billion-dollar brand, has been affected. But franchisors are showing their ingenuity and resilience, many innovating themselves out of this crisis. I wanted to share with you some positive examples.

MagiKats – brand new services
During the lockdown, many businesses were forced to temporarily shut up shop. That did not stop some franchisors, which quickly adapted, offering their products and services digitally. A great example is MagiKats, which had to temporarily close its tuition centres.

Pivoting its model, MagiKats launched two new innovations to support existing and new customers:

  • Print at home study packs
  • Online small group workshops

Sarah Marsh, director of operations at MagiKats, explains: “Our brand new service helped children and parents battle their way through home learning, by providing bespoke tutoring packs in maths and English.  Local Principals and mentors have quickly adapted to their new working environment and we can now offer online workshops, and offline learning packs!”

ActionCOACH – giving back
Coronavirus is the biggest challenge most small businesses have ever faced. Brad Sugars, founder and chairman of ActionCOACH, launched a free 5-hour training programme, ‘How You Survive & Thrive Through Coronavirus Economic Crisis’. Each day, business owners receive a 30 minute video and materials from Brad, packed with structured strategies to help them first survive this economic crisis, and then pivot and plan to be able to thrive in the future.

Providing outstanding support to their franchisees
During these times, it has never been more important for franchisors to show real leadership, innovate and support their franchise networks. In the first half of 2020, based on positive feedback from their franchisees, WorkBuzz is delighted to award 5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction to seven franchisors:

  • ARTventurers
  • diddi dance
  • Pink Spaghetti
  • Puddle Ducks
  • Razzamataz
  • Right at Home
  • Swimtime

Deadline to enter the Best Franchise Awards extended
WorkBuzz is committed to recognising outstanding franchisors and for the ninth year running, we will do this through the Best Franchise Awards, sponsored by Lloyds Bank.

What makes the Best Franchise Awards unique is they are based on confidential feedback from franchisees. To provide more time for franchisors affected by the lockdown to enter, we are extending the deadline to launch their surveys until Monday, 30th November 2020.

The finalists will then be announced in January 2021, before the winners are recognised in February 2021.  Depending on the situation at the time, this will either be at a socially distanced awards presentation, or a virtual awards presentation. Either way, we will recognise outstanding franchisors and celebrate UK franchising!

How to enter the Best Franchise Awards
The awards remain free to enter and open to all franchisors with at least 10 franchisees in the UK. Visit, call WorkBuzz on 03333 446 530 or email to discuss the next steps.