A franchise lives or dies on the strength of its network. When a business owner decides that they’re going to franchise their business, they’re starting an entirely new business.
A franchised plumbing company doesn’t sell plumbing services. A franchised printing company doesn’t sell printing. All franchise companies sell the same product – franchises.
In this sense, franchisees are your customers. So it makes sense to think of your franchise as a product that needs to appeal to its target audience.
Why do people buy a franchise? They might want to follow a model that’s proven to be successful. Perhaps they want to be able to get up and running quickly. They could want access to a support network.
So how can software help you to attract and support your network?
Give franchisees a tried-and-tested model – and ensure they follow it
Bespoke franchise software is built directly around how your business runs. Every bit of information you need, every stage in your pipeline, every step in your sales or production process – it’s all baked into your bespoke system. There’s flexibility, but only where you want there to be.
This level of control carries over to how franchisees use your software. You’re giving them access to all of the wonderful things that the software system can do, but you’re also restricting them to only do things in the way that you want them to be done.
Let’s compare that with off-the-shelf software for a second.
It’s likely that your off-the-shelf software will have a lot of features that you don’t actually use or need. You may not even be aware of them!
If one of your franchisees stores their orders in one area and another stores them in a different area, you’re giving the franchisee a level of control that might put your tried-and-tested model at risk.
It may also make it harder for you to compare two franchisees like-for-like, so it’s more difficult to tell who’s performing well and who needs to pull their socks up.
Bespoke software ensures that your entire franchise network follows your proven model. You’re in control, and as your network grows, you can tweak and adapt your system to reflect any changes to your business processes.
Give your franchisees the tools to hit the ground running
It’s always a promising sign that your new franchisee is eager to get going and start selling and fulfilling your product or service.
If you’ve already got a software system in place, how quickly can your franchisees get up and running with it?
We’ve met with franchise owners who use a mixture of off-the-shelf systems. For example:
- Zoho CRM to manage franchisees and customer information
- Zoho Campaigns or MailChimp to send marketing emails
- 10to8 to take bookings online
- Google Sheets to store project information
- Zapier to connect all of these things together
They have managed with this collection of tools, but it’s not very scalable and is holding them back.
With this setup, each time a new franchisee joins the network, the franchisor has to go through a lengthy process. This includes setting up multiple accounts, a bunch of email templates, a set of new spreadsheets and the Zapier links between each of them. This process takes them over 2 hours to set up for each new franchisee!
What if I told you that a bespoke software system would reduce this time to approximately 5 minutes?
You could invest that time back into your marketing – so not only are you getting new franchises up and running, you’re also attracting more of them to your network.
Every franchisor would welcome another 10 new franchisees to their network. But if the thought of having to set systems up for them fills you with dread, then your systems aren’t scalable enough.
Identify and address your weakest links
Using bespoke software, you can find out who’s performing well (and not so well) at a glance. This can be in the form of financial figures, or KPIs such as the number of enquiries or conversion rate.
By identifying problem areas quickly, you can address issues before they get worse or become critical. This leads to happier franchisees, and a stronger network.
Most software systems will give you basic analytics, but bespoke software will give you access to powerful reports that really put your finger on the pulse of your network’s performance.
If your software doesn’t let you do this, you may need to seriously consider switching. If you can’t quickly and easily track your franchisees’ KPIs, how can you help them to improve?
If the software is built bespoke to your business, this is made even easier because most of the information you need can be gathered automatically.
For example: we have a franchise customer who tracks their network’s performance based on the number of jobs completed month-on-month. The bespoke software we built for them has two parts:
- a back-office system, which lets them manage their schedule,
- a mobile system, which lets them log when a job is completed.
Before we built their software, each franchisee had to backtrack through their calendar for the month and recall which jobs could and couldn’t be completed. This was taking them hours each and every month. It now takes them less than 5 seconds to get this information, and it’s 100% accurate.
How do I enquire about a bespoke software system?
Simply drop us a message – we’re a friendly bunch and will never pressure you to buy. The first step is to have an honest chat about your current situation and systems, and determine what the ideal solution for you would be. Sometimes, it’s not bespoke and we’ll happily point you in the right direction.