In this Blog series we are discussing the on-going fees you pay to a franchisor versus the value you get when buying a franchise. To reiterate the key point: When buying a franchise, you are buying a system for doing business. Not all systems are created equal. The key is NOT to make a snap decision based on how high or low the fees are. Instead, do your homework to determine if you will get what you pay for. It will have a big impact on your success.
In my first post we focused on marketing support. In this post the focus turns to technology. Below are questions to ask in regards to technology and buying a franchise.
Key Questions to Ask About Technology and Buying a Franchise
- Web Site – Do you get your own web site as part of your package? If not, why? I would be leery of any concept where individual franchisees do not have a branded micro-site. How is the site maintained? What are my responsibilities? Do I receive guidance on content? What are my limitations? What training is involved? When was the site developed? What are the future plans? How does the site compare with others in the same industry? Are there fees associated with maintenance of the web site? Why?
- Mobile Web Site – Is there a mobile version of the site? If not, when will there be one? Within the next year the vast majority of web searches will be done on mobile phones or tablets. Businesses without a mobile site or plans to build one are woefully behind the technology curve. Beware.
- Software – What software is required to run the business? Is it provided by the franchisor or do you need to acquire it on your own? Is the software proprietary to the company or is it generic and “off-the shelf”. How are you trained on the software? What degree of computer literacy must you have to operate the business? Will the provided software allow you to automate the business and provide a superior customer experience? What are the future plans for additional automation? Who is in charge of this vision? Does this person really understand technology and business automation? Is there additional training available as you add staff?
- Business Metrics – What type of reports and metrics are provided by the franchisor to track and measure success? Do they have a consistent set of key performance indicators (KPI’s)? Does the franchisor provide some type of online dashboard so franchisees can easily see their progress? Does the franchisor provide benchmarking tools to help franchisees see how their results compare to other franchisees? How is customer satisfaction measured?
Technology and the process behind that technology are key to business automation. If you have to source this software on your own, then beware. I would be leery of buying a franchise concept that doesn’t have great technology today and a great plan for technology tomorrow.
What do you think?