In 2019, franchise outlets in the US ended up making a sum total of $780 billion. There are over 700K franchise establishments that employ nearly 9 million people, and the trends suggest that this number is all set to grow.
On the other hand, managing franchise operations isn’t an easy task. Franchisors have to ensure quality, consistency, and service standards across many locations. There are multiple departments like marketing, business operations, and logistics that require your periodic interventions.
Given this scenario, how can you oversee so many storefronts and make the franchise business a success?
The answer is franchise management solutions. Thanks to this technology, you can coordinate with all your franchise outlets with the tap of a button. Besides, it helps you automate all the repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
In this article, we’ll discuss more uses of franchise management software, how to choose one and what it can do for your business.
Skip ahead to:
- Why do you need franchise management software?
- 7 things to check while choosing a franchise management software
Why do you need franchise management software?
Franchise software provides an array of functionalities for business owners. Think of it as an ecosystem that takes care of the day-to-day CRM,
There are two types of users who use such software:
- Those who rely on it for franchise development
- Those who rely on it to improve their existing franchise network’s workflow
The market is flooded with such tools, so you need to choose your franchise management software wisely. Let’s see how we can do this in the next section.
7 things to check while choosing a franchise management software
As a first step, it’s important to identify the problem statements in your organization. The software you opt for should be able to address them without hassle.
Here are 7 things you need to look for while considering franchise management software:
1. Simple user interface
You don’t want employees and franchisees to struggle with a technical tool. If your software needs elaborate training sessions or dedicated personnel, it means they’re not reducing your burden exactly.
Ensure that the software is easy to use for people with basic knowledge of computers.
If necessary, you can conduct pilot runs for a few weeks. Based on the feedback received from the stakeholders interacting with the software, you can decide the best one for your company.
2. Secure Intranet
Ever wondered how McDonald’s outlets across the country display the exact same offers? It’s because they have a seamless intranet connection that allows them to communicate effectively.
Intranet is an essential feature for brand management that lets you exchange sensitive information with your franchisees. You just have to upload brand guidelines, posters, and other collateral to the system, and all the outlets will follow your suit. Plus, it allows you to maintain version control and reduces email effort.
3. Inventory management capabilities
Having a centralized inventory management system will help you replenish stocks in a quicker and efficient manner. By optimizing your supply chain, you can save on all the delivery personnel and transportation costs.
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Let’s say you’re a tire company that has franchised outlets in all states of America. By monitoring the inventory using the software, you’ll know when a store is running out of tires to sell. You could even have automated triggers that will inform your logistics team that a particular franchise needs more stocks.
New-age solutions include vendor configuration modules and electronic data interchanges to reduce storage and stationery expenses. Long story short, you’ll generate more revenue and never face a demand-supply issue.
4. Sales cycle management options
The average American spends nearly three and a half hours checking their work emails. If we’re to guess, these email interactions are mostly with vendors, franchisors, or customers. With a franchisor CRM, you should be able to reduce the time spent on such emails.
Campaign management is a crucial exercise for you as a franchisor, especially if you’re just starting out. A tool that can segregate leads based on their level of interest will help you maximize your conversions and RoI.
Additionally, you’ll need call center and support desk interfaces to address queries raised by franchisees and customers.
5. Mobile app version
In this day and age, not having a mobile app version could be considered a cardinal sin. You’ll need Android and iOS apps for sharing updates from the field, monitoring inventory, and providing inclusive access.
Having a mobile app won’t be enough. It should cover all the essential features offered by the software and be free of glitches.
6. Easy integration options
You cannot have a franchise software tool that works independently of your accounting system, e-commerce portal, calendar, and other essential tools. If integration isn’t an option, you’ll need a Google suite-like franchise software that has a wide array of productivity tools.
It’s important to ensure that the data stored in the software can be easily exported in popular formats. After all, all those insightful reports are of no use if they cannot be read in PDF, Word, or Excel format.
7. Invoicing capabilities
This is probably the reason why you’re considering a franchise bottom line tool in the first place. Besides saving time, an invoicing system will nudge your franchise operators to pay their royalties on time.
Bookkeeping can be tough, especially when there are many outlets in different locations. With a robust tool, you should be able to work without many people in your accounts team.
8. Competitive Pricing
This one’s a no-brainer! The pricing plan and setup costs of your software shouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
In most cases, you can either choose between getting a subscription or lifetime ownership of the software license. Assess your business needs and make this decision. If you’re in it for the long haul, owning a license for life makes more sense. If you’re still testing the waters, go for a monthly or quarterly subscription plan.
Now that we know how to choose a service provider, it’s time to take a look at the best software tools in the market.
There’s no alternative for a franchise management system. You’ll surely need one to keep up with the times and to improve your bottom line figures. So, conduct an in-depth comparison, consider all the key features, and try to get the best deal on the franchise software of your choice.
It’s time to recap everything we discussed in this article.
- The franchising business is all set to become a trillion-dollar industry
- A franchise management software is important if you want to scale the business
- A software can help you build your franchise network and make the existing one more efficient
- The ideal franchise software tool should be easy-to-use, integrate, and have a mobile app
- Your ideal tool should have a secure intranet that allows seamless communication with the franchise outlets
- Sales cycle, inventory, and invoicing management options will make a bulk of your existing manual work redundant
- Choose a tool that fits your budget and meets both long-term and short-term needs
- Loop-BI, mHelpDesk, Jolt, Marketing 360, and FranConnect are the top tools for franchisors looking to automate
If you’re looking to build a successful fitness franchise, listen to this episode of The Fitness Founders Podcast. It features Todd Wadler, the co-founder of BoxUnion and the CEO of Title Boxing, who shares how he manages 150 profitable franchise locations across the US.