Franchising: Manage Your System Like NASA Would!

Manage Your Franchise Like NASA

The Importance of Managing Your System like NASA

A Morgan Stanley Internet Trends Study states that mobile technology is growing faster than any other industrial or technology segment has ever grown in human history. I recently contributed to an article in QSR Magazine® about McDonald’s® foray with localized, digital TV in their restaurants and believe my quote sums up the reason why your franchise brand must embrace technology at every level.

“If QSR is to compete, it will need to shift its communications methods to those of its customers. If not, those customers will find alternatives and tweet about it until the cows come home.”

Not only should the restaurant sector be concerned about shifting consumer communications, but every franchise sector should be concerned as well. Franchise brands do not have the luxury of determining whether they should be interactive or not, as the customer is truly driving the demand, and that customer list includes your franchisees. If the great recession taught us anything it is that measurement of franchisee metrics in real time is no longer a choice; it is a requirement.

Brand/System Intranet

One of the most affordable franchise management tools is an intranet. Whether you are a new or developing franchise system, Brian Spindel, Co-Founder and President of franchise Mega-Brand PostNet® advises this is where you plant your initial flag with franchise technology.

Brian and his partner and CEO, Steven Greenbaum, co-founded PostNet® in 1993 and made remaining on the forefront of technology a core piece of their growth strategy. They started with a simple intranet and went completely online (paperless) in 1999. Today the entire franchise system uses cloud-computing apps. In keeping pace with technology development, all of PostNet’s® online presence is optimized for mobile devices, not only setting the example for other franchise brands to follow – but also for their core customer, which are home-based and small businesses.

There are a number of reputable specialists that provide franchise system management intranets. They are not all equal in the tools and components they offer. While some provide the basics such as system email, franchisee communications, and a document library system, others provide a complete platform for franchisee recruitment, store opening, franchise compliance, royalty reporting, fulfillment, marketing, advertising, and much more. Many of the items listed in the Five Pennies technology chart are available, or can run on these platforms saving the franchisee and franchisor time, money, and aggravation by providing all system tools centralized with one login for access, ease of training, and reduced administrative costs. These systems run on remote and secure hosted sites, which means you and the franchisee have minimal to no hardware costs at implementation.

But, I have seen companies make the mistake of spending the time and resources needed to implement a robust brand intranet, then promptly ignoring it by not having a dedicated administrator managing it, maintaining postings and content, or training franchisees.

For an intranet to be successful it must become as much a part of the brand culture and requirement as the Point of Sale system. It has to be trained, used, and promoted as a departmentalized franchise system tool. This type of technology implementation can sometimes be a difficult change for franchisees that have been in a system for a long time, but they must understand and adapt to it in order to stay relevant. Like any change, you will find those that will jump in right away, some will wait to see how the early adopters do with it before they jump in, and then others that may have to be forced into adopting it.

Many programs can be designed to assist franchisees in embracing and implementing technology on a systemwide basis by working directly with your Franchisee Advisory Council or a dedicated Franchisee Technology Committee,

The larger your franchise system is the longer it will take to implement a system intranet, so make patience and on-going communications with your franchisees your top priorities. It is not uncommon to take two or three years before a new system intranet becomes a normal part of everyday business for everyone.

The above is an excerpt from my book Five Pennies: Ten Rules to Successfully Building a Franchise Mega-Brand and Maximizing System Profits. 

Need some fine-tuning with your brand? Give me a shout for a free consultation.     

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