Technology: Love it or hate it, your business needs it

Because I am old enough, I remember when Skype meetings were introduced as a new way of seeing people without travelling.

Technology: Love it or hate it

Because I am old enough, I remember when Skype meetings were introduced as a new way of seeing people without travelling. For the most part it didn’t really catch on.  Roll forward to 2020 and the use of remote meetings became a necessity because of the pandemic.  In my experience over the last 2 years most are either Zoom or Teams meetings but occasionally there are other systems I’m invited to.  Whichever one you use one thing is for certain it’s a piece of technology everyone in business now uses.

Now things are mostly back to normal has the technology gone away – No!!  Businesses are now using it for those far-flung meetings where it might not be valuable to travel or, more likely, as face to face is still important for speed or convenience for all involved.  It’s not quite the same but it is the new way of hybrid working and is here to stay.

Of course, there are many more recent technological advances in businesses that a franchise now uses; whether that’s calendly for organizing meetings or Xero for accounting.  There are also a few older ones that are still used to manage the business – spreadsheets and databases.

What is certain though – these developments are going to continue.  There is of course an issue with using so many different types of technology – do they speak to each other and can you coordinate what they tell you in to an easy-to-use reporting tool that gives you a snapshot of every aspect of your business or do you have to go to each individual system.

Clearly every business needs a system to bring all the systems together and report, whether that be sales through POS, accounting through xero and recruitment and whatever system is used for that, which even now still seems to be spreadsheet based for a large number of businesses.

There is also a plethora of systems out there to help you run what you are actually providing, such as POS for food businesses.

I’ve heard many people over the years talk about working on the business and not in it, so step back and take a look at what you are using and consider if they are the best for you and can you gather information from all the systems and report on how the business is actually doing.

Does it tell you how many new leads you had this week for new franchisees, new clients, new staff?

Does it tell you the cost per lead, per franchisee, etc.

Does the recruitment process track automatically and notify your franchise recruiter when they need to interject and make a call?

Can you see how many potential franchisees are at any stage of your process and automatically communicate to those at each stage?

Does it report this to the MD or CEO or whoever manages the recruitment or is it information fed to you by your recruiter?

Can your field staff complete a visit checklist and it appear on the system and then allow you to compare all franchisees?

Does it automatically tell you when agreements, licenses, etc. expire so you can take action?

Can you track your engineers to see where they are?

Can it tell if an engineer has been idle for longer than they should when not with a customer

Can your customers book online and does that feed straight in to your reporting system?

Can your staff access registers of attendees and tick them off?

Can lesson plans be shared via an app or other mobile device?

Can franchisees access the operations manual on a mobile device?

Do you track all forms of communication with your franchisees in a system?

Can you make notes about franchisees, customers and staff on the system for all to see?

Can you order new equipment or uniforms on a mobile device?

Once a job has been completed can you issue and invoice once signed off by a customer?

Not only that can you then collect the funds due then too?

These are clearly just a few of the questions you should be asking yourselves but every business is different and there are likely to be so many more.

Alongside all of this you need to consider cyber security and whether the systems you use are on the current version, supported by the provider and secure.

Knowing franchisors as well as I do very few will have a system that provides for all of the questions but there may be a few that you use and one that could be used to consolidate everything.

Please do consider what information you need from your business and how easy it may be to obtain and if it’s not in one place think about making sure it is, as this could save time, resource and of course money.

Mark Scott
Mark Scott