In our last post, we discussed how we’ve seen many large franchises suffer – due to the recession, growth has slowed and certain businesses have fallen off the map. However, it hasn’t been all bad news bears for everyone-some have used this lull to their very lucrative advantage. Take last year’s growth winner, Subway, as a prime example: they opened almost 6,000 locations. Check out some of their tried and true techniques for long-term success in a constantly turbulent market:

We’d all rather weather this kind of storm…

TAKE ADVANTAGE WHERE OTHERS TAKE CAUTION: Subway was able to purchase real estate at much cheaper prices, due to a lesser demand for land. Look out for untapped opportunities and resources like these.

BE AFFORDABLE: Create an affordable startup plan for franchisees. In a recession period, people are more likely to be feeling entrepreneurial or desirous to manage their own business, as finding a job is more difficult. Be accessible to these individuals to grow your franchise.

GO WITH THE FLOW: Subway was one of the first fast food giants to respond to the growing concern with healthiness and well-being. In fact, Subway is the first quick-serve restaurant to meet the Heart-Check Meal Certification Program nutritional criteria. Other quick-serve restaurants find themselves playing catchup, as the trends move away from them.

 But by far the most important action you can take is to create a differentiated brand. Subway made the effort to position themselves as the only healthy fast-food option; while not entirely true, they are certainly the most pervasive and most accessible. When you position your business as not only the best but the only option, it becomes invaluable. A strong brand is your bastion in a hostile environment.