There are benefits and drawbacks to having a franchise. On the upside, you’re selling goods and services that are instantly recognizable to the consumer. That familiarity means that you have a lighter burden in terms of achieving brand recognition and reputation. Furthermore, you have the support system courtesy of the parent company, so you’re not going it alone.
On the downside, franchise contracts can be tough. After all, you’re representing a brand, so you have to make sure that you are conforming one hundred percent to what’s spelled out. That means less freedom; you do things the company’s way, or you’re out. Furthermore, there are franchise fees to pay up front, and ongoing royalties and advertising fees.
Make sure your franchise is a top performer, and the added expenses will not be an issue. The best way to be a top performer is to ensure your franchise experiences consistent and steady growth. Fortunately, you have an ally in the high-tech innovations of today’s world. By smart implementation of technology, you can have a burgeoning franchise business.
Here are five tech growth hacks you should always have in your toolbox.
Getting On Social Media
Yes, Facebook is considered “high tech”. Go figure. But it doesn’t matter if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or any other social networks you stumble upon (including StumbleUpon!). You need to create and maintain a social media presence because that’s where the people are.
If your franchise’s customer base relies on consistent local traffic, social media adds enough of a personal touch to bring in those regular customers. As long as you’re not operating outside the parent company’s rules of engagement, you can engage in neighborhood outreach by encouraging reviews, holding theme nights, or making special offers.
Working In The Cloud
There’s more to running a franchise than simply creating a product (or providing a service), and selling it to the customers. There are records to keep track of, all sorts of data such as payroll, inventory, expenses, and more. The cloud makes data storage, access, and management an easier and more economical undertaking. It’s all about efficiency, which segues us nicely into …
Employing CRM Software
Customer Relationship Management software, otherwise known as CRM, takes customer information and other relevant documents and puts them into one, easily accessible, centralized database. It’s function, as the article “5 Ways Technology Can Help Grow your Franchise Business” points out, is to give a franchise owner “complete control over the items or services that are purchased.”
CRM also offers useful function such as tracking employee productivity and performance, as well as recording and analyzing customer interactions and automating mundane workflow processes such as alerts and calendars.
The whole point of CRM is to increase efficiency and enhance sales, a pair of goals that should be at the top of the “to-do” list of any franchise owner. In fact, franchise owners should never let an opportunity to automate a process escape untouched.
Voice Over Internet Protocol
Otherwise known by the snappy acronym VoIP, this takes all of your telephony and puts it online. By using VoIP, you save money on phone calls and bring together email, fax, and data sharing under one very reliable umbrella. VoIP is easy and inexpensive to employ, and easily scalable, so you can add more lines to that rapidly growing franchise of yours!
For the record, VoIP is in fact on the rise, and making traditional phone lines obsolete. A smart franchise owner will stay ahead of the curve and implement it sooner rather than later.
Employing Mobile Tech
We are living in the age of mobile computing, no doubt about it. You only have to look back at the other listed hacks to notice that all of them either rely or are enhanced by the use of mobile devices and wireless networks. Mobile tech brings an unprecedented level of convenience, flexibility, and contact, and in the latter case, that contact is not only between you and your employees but between you and your customers.
Every relationship, whether it’s a business-client arrangement or a marriage, becomes stronger with good communication. Mobile tech, be it smartphones, tablets, or other devices, should be employed to improve the speed and quality of communication, which in turn improves customer relations and helps employees coordinate and collaborate better.
Opening a franchise is a serious undertaking that requires a lot of thought and weighing the good and bad, but by incorporating high-tech solutions, the risks are lessened. Good luck!