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Managing a franchise is complicated. With franchisees spread around the country, franchisors need to manage the productivity of each branch, control performance, ensure that all franchisees and their employees are engaged, preserve the standards of the brand and continually seek improvements in profitability. This is a lot to handle, and one way of streamlining the process is by using franchise management software.
What franchise management software does
There are many different software packages that can perform inventory management, handle performance management and payroll, schedule jobs, generate reports and prepare marketing campaigns. However, getting all of this and more from one centralized platform requires specific franchise management software.
Although investing in such software represents a long-term financial commitment, the time savings that it will deliver will more than pay for that investment, particularly for a large franchise with several branches operating across the country. All franchisees will use the same software package, thereby allowing the franchisor to compare the performance of each branch based on raw data input by each franchisee, identify issues, and support any struggling franchisees in implementing appropriate solutions.
Don't neglect communications
Maintaining communications with your franchisees is essential, so while the right software can allow you to maintain oversight without interfering, it should never replace real two-way communications. Always look to maintain regular communications with each franchisee and as a group in order to share best practices, discuss common issues and propose solutions.
A short one-on-one with each franchisee should ideally occur on a monthly basis, while a full group forum could be held quarterly. With the rise in digital technologies, it is possible to hold these discussions by video conference to reduce the disruption experienced by each franchisee and allow them to maintain momentum in running their business.
A digital platform hosted in the cloud is the ideal place to keep all of your training material. This ensures that it is accessible by all franchisees when it is required, either for refresher training or for onboarding new staff who need to get familiar with the brand, ethos, products and preferred sales techniques.
Choosing your package
There are many off-the-shelf franchise management software solutions available that will deliver the functionality needed by most franchises, but businesses that are particularly large or complex may prefer to engage a specialist firm to customize a solution. The software you choose should align with the needs of the business, so take some time to compare different options and engage with the suppliers before selecting the one best suited to your business.