Five Things to Help Your Franchise Thrive
Stay ahead of challenges by laying your technology rails down early. Decisions made during the initial stages of your franchise are critical to its future.
By Nabiha Balala, Naranga
Any growing franchise brand will face a time when it lacks the resources or manpower to run processes with consistency. You need a good system to manage practices so you can spend more time growing your franchise than managing it.
Five important things to help your franchise thrive are broken down into the following categories:
1. Provide One Source of Truth
Your business is growing and while any business grows more and more documentation, legal work, compliance etc. is required. While the need for operations is increased, it is crucial for franchisees and franchisors to access one place where they can manage important aspects of the business. These features should be highlighted in the software you use to efficiently scale your franchise brand:
- Dashboard Reporting – an area that gives you visibility and high-level key metrics within the application – customizable to your preferences.
- Social Media Style Layout – a social component that displays messages, posts and significant statistics from modules that best fit your business needs.
- Document Storage – a centralized location that stores and manages your vital operational, departmental and branding documents.
- Built-in Helpdesk Support – one platform that allows you to track and monitor your franchisee support needs and results.
- Compliance – stay ahead of any contract expirations with helpful notifications within your dashboard reporting.
- Finance – an area where you can pull in all sales information, financial reporting and track royalty fees and invoicing.
- Onboarding – an area for all franchise development related tasks, activities and workflows necessary for pre-training, location buildout and grand opening.
- Communications – a channel for you to effectively communicate with your franchisees individually and as a group, while tracking what locations have viewed your communications.
When the above modules are highlighted in your franchise management software solution, you know you have everything you need from a technical standpoint to help you build, manage and sustain your brand.
2. Streamline Sales Processes
Selling is a fundamental aspect of your brand that sustains you for the future. Sales are what give franchise brands a healthy life year after year, and need to be monitored closely. Analyzing your sales processes are vital to the longevity and scalability of your brand. Every brand should have a sales process that funnels all leads to them and upon delivery, every hot lead must be followed up with promptly. These are a few areas that are full-on requirements for any growing brand’s sales process:
- Automated lead capture tool that properly imports, stores and updates your leads.
- Email workflows to drip thought-provoking content to your prospects, as they become warmer leads.
- Task management system to efficiently follow-up on leads.
- Document e-signature capability, to securely sign and deliver documents such as Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDD) and franchise agreements.
The quicker your brand gets a streamlined sales process in place – the sooner you stay ahead of the game. When leads are properly received, distributed, qualified or even unqualified your prospects overall experience improves.
3. Maintaining Brand Standards
Protect your brand. With a proper quality management system – one that fits your needs and requirements – your brand will have the foundation it needs to thrive. Employees should be able to easily follow your branding procedures. Owners must protect their brand standards by providing the same experience for all customers at every location. It has become more challenging to guard brand standards in this day and age, so be sure you are staying on top of that challenge by adopting a quality management system as soon as you identify your standards. Field auditing will allow you to successfully recognize any inconsistencies that could occur. Whether it is conducted by the corporate team or if you choose to implement a franchisee self-audit program, both methods take you one step further in identifying and responding to irregularities, if needed.
For example, store number 2 and 42 would still be running the exact same way, providing the same experience when a proper quality management system is put in place.
4. Local Marketing Efforts
An emphasis on marketing beyond corporate brand marketing is essential for new customer acquisition and overall exposure within your community. Businesses start and thrive from their local communities, hence to gain new leads from your local community is a no-brainer. Thankfully, there are a plethora of cost efficient ways you can gain new interest while keeping cliental consistently engaged with your brand. Here are a few marketing efforts you as a franchisor should capitalize on:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Pay Per Click
- Online Reputation Management
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
All of the above efforts will be done at the franchisor level, but it is recommended that you push for a softer version to be executed at the unit level.
5. Strategic Leadership
It is the franchisor's role to think holistically about the direction of the business. What is the customer experience and how is it communicated across a franchise system? What are the franchisee's roles in the business and local branding? How often should new ideas be rolled out to the franchise system, and at what cost?
Ultimately, as a franchisor you succeed when your franchisees succeed, and making each and every one individually profitable is paramount. It’s time to realize the significance of streamlining processes, ultimately providing you and your business with a centralized platform to deliver quality, consistency and communication.
As your franchise grows, you’ll encounter challenges that aren’t on your radar. Stay ahead of these challenges by laying your technology rails down early. The decisions you make during the initial stages of your franchise are critical to its future.
Nabiha Balala is Marketing Manager at Naranga, which specializes in franchise operations software. She has been an active member of the franchising community for more than 10 years.