Get app and go: the apps to use on the move

For busy franchisees on the go, being able to quickly reconnect with the home office is an essential ingredient for success. And by downloading the right app, you can do just that

Get app and go: the apps to use on the move

Life on the Road may be half of the title of the latest” movie starring The Office character David Brent but it’s also an apt job description for many UK franchisees. Given that 29% of them own more than one outlet according to the latest survey from the bfa and NatWest, it’s not surprising that franchise owners often spend a lot of time away from the office.

While this may have resulted in never-ending migraines in times gone by, technology offers franchisees the opportunity to stay on top of their business – even when away from the workplace. By downloading the right apps, franchisees can stay in touch with their workforce and maximise efficiency with their mobile phones.

Whether you’re looking to improve your customer relationships or simply need to plan a business trip, you can rest assured there’s an app for that.

The pocket scanner: Office Lens
There’s a reason why Google named Office Lens one of the best apps of 2015: as with many successful inventions, the innovation at its heart is really simple. Essentially, the technology turns your mobile’s camera into a portable scanner. Simply snap a photo on your phone and Office Lens can convert the image into an editable PDF, Word document or PowerPoint file.

The app is especially handy for capturing receipts and business cards, not to mention turning elaborate whiteboard scribbles into Word files that you can read and edit at your leisure after a productive brainstorm. For franchisees on the go who don’t want to be tied down by bulky kit, it’s an easy way to log important information.

The customer manager: Hubspot CRM
Every entrepreneur worth their salt knows that keeping clients happy is just as important as having an extraordinary product. That’s why it’s vital to have an app to keep all your client data in order. So given that it’s a knockout combo of both customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation tool, it’s not hard to see why Hubspot CRM has become one of the most popular apps of its kind.

Whether you’re awaiting a business meeting in the City or are sat on the train to Birmingham for the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards, the app allows you to tend to your clients on your phone. You can manage your social media posts, follow up with new contacts and track the success rate of your email campaigns. Because being on the road shouldn’t mean you can’t keep in touch.

The contract signer: Adobe Sign
The old adage that time is money has never been truer than it is today. With the rise of digital technology, speed can mean the difference between success and defeat. Delays in finding and signing the right documents can significantly slow down that new deal or prevent your invoices from being sent out in a timely manner. This is only compounded if you’re out on the road.

Fortunately, Adobe Sign slashes that lag by allowing your colleagues to quickly send you contracts and forms to sign over your smartphone – considerably speeding up the process.

The communications tool: Slack
As role models go, you can do worse than looking up to NASA and LinkedIn. Not only are both organisations pushing the boundaries of how tech is connecting people, but they are also using the same app to cut through the noise: Slack. And this is a tool that can prove particularly useful for the franchisee on the road.

Much more than just a WhatsApp for business, the messaging app allows you to create private or public channels arranged by topic, in which you can share files, post messages and assign tasks. You can invite who you like – so people are brought into specific threads on a need-to-know basis – and send secure direct messages to individual people. Additionally, if you already store your documents in the cloud through Dropbox, Google Drive or Box, Slack will synch them.

Additionally, you can benefit from installing Slack in your offices as well as on your mobile. According to the company, its customers see an average reduction of 48.6% in internal emails. So whether you’re at home or away, downloading the app can put an end to time-sapping emails for franchisees.

The time manager: ETA
Whether you’re darting between meetings or have back-to-back customer appointments, it’s vital you arrive on time. But traffic jams or taking the wrong turn in an unfamiliar city can cause unexpected delays, which makes transport planning app ETA a lifesaver.

Once you plot in your current location and destination, the app can predict how long the traffic will take in real time, estimate your mileage and suggest when you’re likely to arrive. It optimises your journey by offering multiple route options by car, public transport or on foot. And once you’re en route, it can give you directions to help you find your way.

However, it’s not just franchisees that can benefit from downloading ETA to their smartphones. Franchises relying on a network of drivers can give their mobile workforce a boost by downloading the app to help minimise delays and disruptions. So the next time your customers want you to come and join them, simply download ETA and reply “no problem.”

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson