#communityovereverything: Red Boswell

“LET’S PUT THIS INTO PERSPECTIVE”

Entering week 5 of the shelter in place order seems like a lifetime. For businesses, big and small, this pandemic has overstayed its welcome; leaving companies struggling to hold the door open. We have been reaching out to our members to create a sense of community from afar, to gain insight from experts and to encourage the support of local businesses important to the CityCentral family. As part of our continuing #CommunityOverEverything campaign, we had the opportunity to sit down with CityCentral Plano member and President of IFPG, Red Boswell, to discuss how his industry is coping. With close to 1100 members, IFPG is the largest franchise broker group in the world. A little over half of those members are franchise consultants while the remaining are franchisors. Red gave us some insight on how IFPG is being affected by COVID-19, maintaining business, and his perspective of the crisis.

 

“IN THE PAST I WOULD DO MAYBE TWO OR THREE WEBINARS A YEAR...NOW I’M DOING TWO OR THREE OR SIX A DAY”

While video conferencing applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts have become essential during this time, Red has been utilizing these applications in a new way, “I’m interviewing franchise leadership. I’m sitting on panels discussing, kind of like what we’re doing now, best practices and ‘what do you think’. So that’s definitely changed.” Red is creating his own sense of community within his business through this technology. He explains how he is, “helping current clients navigate this unknown minefield…and how we can make the most of a very trying situation.” 

 

“WE’RE BEING CAREFUL TO RESPECT FOLKS FEARS AND TRYING TO SHOW EMPATHY”

As business conferences and networking events are being postponed as late as the fall, business professionals like Red must discover new ways to maintain business. We asked him how he is continuing to gain new members within IFPG. Boswell answers, “We’re certainly trying to figure out where they’re at as we contact them… We’re not being super proactive and doing new prospecting, but those who are in our process and in our pipeline that could possibly become a member, we are staying in touch with them. If they say, hey put the brakes on it, we’re respecting that.” Red mentions how he has been encouraged by the number of franchisors who have taken it upon themselves to reach out to them and inquire about IFPG and in some cases join. These franchisors are looking for ways to bring on small risk franchisees that can add some real value.

Although certain service-related businesses are thriving, others are not. Red explains how businesses such as gyms are finding other ways to maintain business even though no one is coming in, “Some are doing some significant pivots and doing online services like [Zoom]. One of our franchisors had 1230 folks this past Saturday show up for a live ‘from your home’ workout…it’s a world a lot of them are living in.” Even though we are far from each other, it is inspiring to see how different industries are bringing people together and continuing their service from a distance. 

 

“WE’VE GOT THE MOST ROBUST AGGRESSIVE LENDING ENVIRONMENT WE HAVE SEEN IN OUR LIFETIMES.”

We have been through an economic crisis before, but this one is uniquely different. Unlike the stock market crash in 2008, we have trillions of dollars available to help businesses in need. We asked Red what advice he has for small businesses during this time and he explains, “Go onto the Small Business Association website. Start applying now! You can literally do that, and their guarantee is higher than ever. It’s been 70-80%, now it’s going to 90-95%; some folks are even talking 100%. So that’s insane guarantees from the SBA and from the government to the SBA.” It is very encouraging to know that banks are adding SBA lending programs and that money is coming in quickly to save these businesses that are being affected. 

For more of Red Boswell’s advice and encouragement, follow him on LinkedIn.