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COVID 19 impact & ways to tackle- School Franchising Industry

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Anirban High

This year, the world witnessed the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak and lives have changed irrevocably in the last four months. It all started when the first case was reported in Wuhan, China on December 31 2019. Since then, the number of people getting affected has only increased, and that too exponentially, forcing countries across the globe to go into a lockdown mode.

The social distancing measures put in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease have also had an adverse impact on the education domain. Over 90 percent of the school population have been affected due to the nationwide closures implemented in 216 countries worldwide. In India, 320 million-plus learners have been impacted due to the countrywide lockdown. The pandemic is likely to have long term consequences on the way educational institutions are being envisaged, not only in India but across the world.

COVID-19 has become a catalyst for educational institutions worldwide to search for innovative solutions in a relatively short period of time. It would not be wrong to say that an ed-tech revolution is brewing in India. Maximum schools in India as well as globally have started with online platforms for teaching students without further delay.

So, where does these changes leave the education franchise industry?

The Covid-19 impact on franchising will be mainly on sales and the supply chain. The integrity of the franchise networks will also be tested during this period. According to industry experts, franchise networks in sectors such as Education and Retail will witness delays rather than lost demand. At Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, we have initiated some contingency strategies to overcome the challenges of disruption of supply chains and economic activities during this uncertain time.

Webinars to Connect with Potential Investors

Seth Anandram Jaipuria School has been in conversation with a large number of investors who are keen to set up school franchises and are digitally connecting even from rural areas. The response has been mixed. We are constantly creating the best of the business continuity plans and practises which allows an investor with short term reductions and long term flexibilities which is becoming a winning proposition at this stage.

We make loyal partners and provide flexibility in the time frame to set up school so that investors can slowly overcome their financial losses.

Demonstrating Effective Leadership and Engagement

We are committed to our franchises and are in regular communication with our partners. We may not have all the answers. However, we are always there to acknowledge the troubles they are facing during this critical time and providing them with relevant, timely information and resources. We strongly believe in service with pride, lead with confidence, inspire to impact others and adhere to the philosophy that education is the prime contributor to the development of self, an extension of the society and diverse human enterprise.

Financial Resources and Support

Franchisors also need to address franchise questions on cash flow and viability of continued business operations during and after the Covid-19 outbreak. We understand this responsibility and are in the process of considering financial and other reliefs for our partners. The relief measures could be anything from deferring some portion of the loyalty payments for a pre-specified time to reduction of local marketing contribution requirements.

Effective Media Strategy

Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group is also helping partners with consistent messaging on media queries pertaining to the pandemic. We are guiding our partner schools on the best practices in PR/Social Media Messaging during this time.

Lastly, we are prompt in taking proper steps on curbing the spread of the adverse effects of the pandemic on the health of our partner schools. We are also orienting our partners at every level to handle such unprecedented times with positivity and assisting them to develop appropriate contingency plans concurrent with the altered business implications of Covid-19.

Author profile – Anirban Bhattacharya working as Associate Vice President – Partner Schools with Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group. He is currently spearheading the complete operations and expansion of Franchise schools across pan India. Anirban has more than 17 years’ experience in the education sector in various domains and capacities. In the past,he played an important role in setting up K12 Schools in North India and Higher Education initiative wherein he was instrumental to set up colleges in pan India. He has been associated with some reputed education organizations in the past.He has also helped many students in achieving their goals and creating an aspirational future being an expert career counselor throughout. His edu-perineurial stint with various education companies equipped him with hands-on knowledge about start-ups and intrinsic understanding of various business models.

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