Karen Kelly, founder of the domestic cleaning franchise Cleanhome, strongly believes that technology is a very important part of any franchise business model. In this article she shares her advice with franchisors and franchisees.
"Even as little as ten years ago, nobody could have predicted the staggering impact technology has had on the way we do business. In the world of franchising, technology can be a very important part of the business model, benefitting franchisors, franchisees and the end customer. As a franchisor, implementing up-to-date technology is essential and provides a reliable infrastructure to support franchisees.
Developing bespoke technology
While the most obvious benefit of technology in business is increased productivity, there are several benefits to implementing cutting edge technology to franchise operations which can help a franchise grow. At Cleanhome we are committed to helping our franchisees take advantage of new technology and when we started we gave serious consideration to what kinds of systems would benefit them. We knew we needed something which was specifically designed for them.
As flexible working is at the heart of our business, it was vital to develop and build a business tool which would allow franchisees to work around their family and leisure time. Our system GENESYS™ has been created based on our franchisees’ needs and helps them run their businesses from anywhere they are able to access the internet. The system works as a personal assistant, organising the process and administration sides of the business so nothing gets forgotten or missed and franchisees have all the flexibility they need.
Use technology to help the brand grow
Truly successful franchisors must plan the development of technology around the needs of their franchisees in a way which will ultimately benefit the brand as a whole. Importantly, technology needs to enable business growth and not just manage the existing business. It should allow franchisees to take on more staff and help them offer a consistent experience to the client by ensuring all client details and company policies are available on an easy-to-access virtual platform. A cloud-based system can allow for multiple users in a single franchise, enabling new employees to be added to the system with minimal impact.
Let technology support invoicing
As most people who buy into a franchise are usually new to running a business and a lack of credit control is one of the main reasons why many new independent businesses fail, it is vital to have a solid invoicing system. Developing an effective operational system can give franchisees an immediate view of how many invoices are overdue and the total amount of money owed to the business. It should also help them make an informed decision as to how they need to contact the client with regard to an overdue amount based on stored communication history.
Connect with customers and service providers
Having a powerful client/service provider communication management system is also a must have these days. It is important to utilise different communication methods such as telecommunication push technologies to help franchisees inform their service providers about new clients. Frequent communication with clients through SMS technologies ensures that they are aware of the services/products they have purchased but also keeps them informed of any new offerings. This should be an automated process built into the operational system in order to help the franchisees be in constant communication with their clients and service providers without sacrificing valuable time.
Development of relevant technology should be a collaboration between the franchisor and the franchisees. Although management of the development is in the hands of the franchisor, the franchisees should be actively involved.
If you’re considering franchise ownership, make sure that you find out what’s being used by the franchise company that you’re thinking of joining. Make sure that the systems in place are designed to help you succeed as a franchisee."