There is no question the franchise industry is enjoying unprecedented growth. It has grown consistently for the last eight years, and 2018 is no different. Thanks to a combination of deregulation, tax reform and a generally robust economy (which our President, Mark J. Bollman, recently described in a Daily Signal OpEd on Tax Reform), the franchise sector is projected to increase by more than six percent this year, to hit $451 billion in gross domestic product.
Here at Creative Colors International, we appreciate the current economic climate but know nothing lasts forever. Bollman has been with the company through four recessions in the last 26 years, and the company has continued to grow and thrive. Even during the Big Three Bailout of 2008, when automotive customers — our bread and butter — were lost and others consolidated, CCI weathered the storm. We prefer the term recession-resistant to recession-proof because there will always be economic factors beyond your control.
Here are three key elements to consider when searching for a recession-resistant franchise opportunity.
Farmers do it with their crops, and we do it with the industries we serve. Diversify. Although the automotive industry, both new and used car dealers, is a key business segment, they are by no means our only customer base. Boats, planes, trains, really any form of transportation, as well as furniture, office spaces, restaurants, and hospitals can all use our restoration and repair services. Incidentally, service businesses are generally considered recession-resistant when they can offer customers the option of repairing over buying new. That puts us in a pretty sweet spot, as CCI can offer most clients an 80–90 percent savings in repairing over replacing. We have seen first-hand that when orders with some industries sag, others will spike. Because CCI serves a diverse number of industries, our overall portfolio remains balanced, even in cyclical valleys. After all, there are very few places you can go where you are not sitting on or touching leather, vinyl, fabric or plastic. In every community, there will always be a need for our services.
We’re talking about revenue streams here. It takes diversification one step further. At CCI, we have made a concerted effort to create additional revenue streams by going after two different markets, B2B and B2C. In our B2B segment, we have created several programs to work as a subcontractor for companies who interface directly with the consumer. We make a product look new for their customer and they get the credit and a good profit, thanks to our special business pricing. Long-standing relationships with warranty companies have proven to be another great partnership. We even offer customized logo floor mats to auto dealerships as an add-on product.
Our B2C market is growing, too, because, well, who doesn’t want to save money? In the past, we have been behind-the-scenes, but now, with an aggressive social media presence, we have found ways to create and capitalize on awareness with end-users. If we can save them hundreds of dollars on a repair of their couch or favorite recliner, they will be repeat customers. We offer leather care kits and have started upselling our own certified reconditioning programs — all additional sources of revenue. Our reduce-reuse-recycle business philosophy and use of “green” water-based products also resonates with today’s consumers.
It’s not just for cell phones. We are an on-the-move society, so having an on-the-move business is a great choice. At CCI, the van is our mobile office. It comes delivered to our franchise owners fully stocked and outfitted. Right off the bat, you save a big chunk of change by forgoing rent, utilities and all the expenses associated with a brick and mortar storefront. That’s more money in and less money out. Another reason service businesses are thriving today is that more and more of them are going with a low-cost mobile business model and reaping the rewards of being able to go directly to the customer instead of waiting for busy consumers to walk through their door. The businesses that offer convenience and comfort in addition to quality and value will be the ones that get repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals that will weather any economy.
The keys to making it through a recession begin in an up-economy, like now. Keep your eye to the future and begin building that diverse customer base. When you lose one customer, challenge yourself to replace it with three new ones, and try to make them from different sectors. It is not uncommon for our CCI franchisees to serve upwards of 70 different vertical markets. Even in a recession, people will still have needs and if you can be there for them and save them money, your business is sure to experience more peaks than valleys.
Are you interested in learning more about joining the CCI family and taking advantage of this recession resistant business model? If so, get started by visiting https://www.creativecolorsintl.com/franchise-opportunities/request-franchise-information/.