How can technology save you money or increase your sales?

There is so much talk in the national and social media channels about rising costs and how to save money that it seems a good time to write an article that covers these areas but with a technology focus.

How can technology save you money or increase your sales?

Firstly, what is for certain is that a business has costs, they are probably rising and there is of course a cost to technology itself.  However, the way to look at technology is not just the cost for having it but how having the right types of technology can not only save money but time and resources.

Now let’s look at the life cycle of a franchisee and how a franchisor can save money throughout their journey.  Recruitment is a good place to start.  How does the lead process work for you?  Do you use spreadsheets or something similar to capture leads and then manually take actions from there.  In short, any manual process, where errors will occur can lead to missed income, through lost sales or increased costs to fix can be removed through using the right technologies. 

From time to time, I’ve seen research conducted by franchising experts that have found many prospects are not contacted or called back after making an enquiry.  These same franchisors will also be complaining of a lack of enquiries.  There is a very easy way to stop this from happening.

Our franchise management system captures leads automatically and sends an initial communication to the prospect.  Our system then communicates regularly with them, with the frequency and period determined by the franchisor, until they ask not to or take the next step along the recruitment process – a telephone discussion, a meeting, a visit, attending a discovery day, etc.  There could be staff savings in this adaptation, where an individual completes this manually from a spreadsheet but certainly time.  However, what is certain is that no leads will be lost and decisions are usually made faster at any stage of the recruitment process, due to the automated communications.  Therefore, sales will be made quicker thus leading to an increase in income because more franchisees are recruited over the same period.

Another very quick example of technology saving money in the recruitment process or at any time in the relationship with your network is virtual meetings.  Whatever your preference is; Zoom, Teams GoTo Meetings or Google Meets to name just a few – can the meeting take place via this medium rather than the expense of travel, therefore not only saving money but time.  Franchisees at the other end of the country might have been put off by the expense of travel and this may be a good starting point, though I expect ultimately, they will need to come to the office.

Once the prospect becomes a franchisee there are many more ways technology can help reduce costs or increase sales.  For example, if your franchisees and their staff provide a service to customers, typically by travelling to their location, is route planning software used to limit travel times through providing the optimum route?  If not put it in place.

Use cloud computing where data is saved in the cloud rather than on your computer.  Thus, the computer can be on a lower spec as less needs saving on it.  So, if some equipment has to be renewed or purchased think longer term requirements.  This in turn could save IT costs in terms of personnel required as the service provider does some of this instead.

The franchise management system you utilize should be monitoring your key business measures (KPIs), so you will get an early warning sign if franchisees are not doing what they should or financial trends can be spotted quickly.  If a franchisee is struggling it needs to be identified early, as failure will incur legal and administrative costs you can do without because of their termination.  Early identification of issues can arrest the decline and turn it around before these costs are incurred.

The same system should be dealing with invoices – chasing automatically when not paid and none are lost – in much the same way as a franchise lead.

Integrate as much with other businesses, such as your customers – rather than sending emails when a job is done automatically create and send an invoice via the management system with a link to a payment system.

If you use a number of different systems, can you amalgamate them, such as using an end-to-end franchise management system or at the very least integrate them, such as with an accounting package, a mapping package, a marketing package, etc.

Finally, and perhaps the most importantly – review the costs of all your technology and look at ways of saving – perhaps by integration or amalgamation.  There are often free or lower cost systems that now exist to those you began with or last used.

Hopefully if you look at some of these aspects you can save money, time and resource and place your business on a firm foundation.

Mark Scott
Mark Scott