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Keep Up Your Franchise with Exciting New Technology

By: SmallBizClub

 

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My first job back in high school was as a “sandwich artist” at a local Quiznos franchise. Like most enterprises back in the ‘00s, we felt more like we were operating out of the ‘90s. The cash register was a clunky thing with all of the old bells and whistles. It even made that cha-ching noise when you opened the heavy cash drawer. On both the customer’s end and the servers’, the display was nothing more than a clunky LED affair reminiscent of some digital watches and those blocky digital clocks that some of us grew up with.

Our one computer for things like budget, payroll, and stock (you know, the little things) was a hefty fossil that crashed more often than not. I suspect that this was the state of many other franchise’s business technology back in that burgeoning age of computers, but that’s not an excuse any longer. If you feel that your franchise isn’t keeping up these days, or if you’re just opening a restaurant, here are some things to update in the way you do business.

Unify Your Business Systems

The old way of doings things was to have a binder for each fiscal responsibility. More tech minded managers probably have a handful of excel files to keep track of earnings, stock, and payroll. There are a few problems with these outdated approaches. They need to be accessed onsite and in person, unlike cloud-based alternatives. Similarly, they’re susceptible to damage and if this data is lost it could put your entire business at risk. Finally, when you have a plethora of binders or excel documents, they all need to be made to work together; it takes hours on the clock to bring all of this data together into the information that informs daily business decisions.

Cloud-based alternatives like the popular (and free) Google Docs suite allow you to store all of your business information on Google’s secure servers. This has a few advantages for owners and managers. For one, it allows you to work from home or check up on things while on vacation. If an emergency comes up and you’re halfway around the world, you can still log into the action immediately to get to work on a solution. Speaking of emergencies, with cloud-based tools you never have to worry about your documents being destroyed. If a fire whips through your store and all you’ve got are binders and hard disks, then you’d be done for. With cloud-based tools everything is safe no matter what happens on the ground.

With innovations in POS technology, you can also tie your front register into your unified business system. For example, you could handle payroll from a single machine that will return the data to you in the form of a spreadsheet, which you can add to your data cloud instantly.

Build a Strong Web Presence

You may have noticed how franchise marketing has changed over the past decade. Old strategies like mailing out coupons and placing roadside signs are still in play, but they need to be supplemented by a strong internet backbone. More and more, consumers are looking to services like Google and Yelp to make their purchasing decisions.

You must get good reviews online in order to appeal to potential customers, but points alone are not enough. Consumers also place value in the number of reviews that a business has. A restaurant with a handful of five star reviews isn’t likely to stand up to a competitor with many four and five star reviews. Trust is built on the number of people who come out in support of your business and not just the quality of their support.

While explicitly soliciting reviews can get you in serious trouble with Yelp or Google (and land you with some devastating sanctions), there are still acceptable strategies for increasing business reviews. A broad selection of positive reviews will boost consumer interest in your services and improve the success of your real world marketing efforts.

Become a Green Franchise

Environmental sustainability has been a touchy political topic lately, but for business owners it seems crystal clear. According to a 2010 survey 93% of executives saw sustainability as important for the future of their business. If you’re not one of them then you’re already behind the curve on this major business trend. If you are one of the 93%, but you’re looking for more things to do in order to boost your sustainability, here are some suggestions.

Perhaps the most obvious, and the most profitable, step towards a green business is to cut down on your energy costs. Green solutions like solar panels or geothermal energy are flashy and can help you save a lot of money in the long run, but they can depend a lot on your particular circumstances. For most of us, following more practical energy saving tips in our day-to-day operations is the key to getting in on the sustainability revolution.

It’s not enough to make your single store sustainable, though. Franchise owners can also affect change through their supply line by turning to other sustainable businesses for all B2B interactions. For instance, you could switch up the signage that you use by working with a green printing company.

The future holds a lot of challenges for franchise owners and managers, but with any business that keeps up with technology is going to thrive with each change that it brings.

nick-cesareAuthor: Nick Cesare is an SEO expert. When he’s not getting into the mind of Google he likes to cook and go mountain biking. You can reach Nick @cesare_nick.

Published: November 28, 2016
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