There is a common misconception among entrepreneurs that becoming a franchise owner is easier than starting a company from scratch. You’re buying into a trusted and authoritative brand and have its full support.
However, you should keep in mind that running a franchise business is not all about choosing a popular franchisor. Instead, you need to buy into the company that aligns with your vision and you need to be prepared to launch, manage, and scale it on your own.
Precisely because of that, you need to surround yourself with reliable people that can help you achieve your goals. Most importantly, you need to invest in the right tools that will facilitate different aspects of your franchise business and help it scale faster.
With that in mind, I created this list of nine invaluable tools every franchisee should invest in.
1. Buffer: Social Media Management
Social media marketing is one of the most powerful ways to humanize your franchise business and build closer relationships with your local customers. And, the key to your success on these platforms lies in publishing valuable content consistently.
This is where social media management tools like Buffer step in. Why invest in it?
First, with Buffer, you can manage your social media team effortlessly. You can choose who to invite to your dashboard, as well as what type of access you will give to your members. For example, by setting the Approval Required feature, you’re allowing them to suggest new content ideas, but they cannot share them before your approval. This is an immensely important feature for franchisees, as each piece of content you share on Facebook or Twitter needs to align with a franchisor’s messaging and values.
With the Buffer Queue, you can set the posting schedule and choose a specific date and time for each piece of content. This way, you will ensure that your content is delivered consistently to your followers.
Finally, Buffer offers the Analytics feature that gives you insights into the history of your posts, your most authoritative followers, and your overall performance on social.
2. Slack: Building an Online Community/Employee Collaboration
Slack is one of the most powerful real-time team messaging platforms. This sweet tool is easy to use, allowing your employees to communicate and share data effortlessly. Above all, it integrates with all prominent project management tools, office management tools, design tools, sales tools, and productivity tools, helping you grow almost every aspect of your franchise business.
However, Slack has also moved beyond a traditional team collaboration tool. Many popular companies are now using it to build solid online communities that bring value to their customers and build stronger relationships with them. There is a plentitude of community categories you can choose from according to your niche. You can either become a member of a popular Slack group or even decide to create your own community that targets your audiences.
3. Basecamp: Project Management
No matter what industry you’re entering, owning a franchise business requires great responsibility and managing hundreds of projects, tasks, and people. This is where project management tools can help. I’ve tried out almost every tool on the market, from Trello to Wrike, but Basecamp won my heart.
Namely, with this awesome platform, you can create numerous projects for every aspect of your business, as well as make multiple lists and tasks within every project. Above all, instead of sending circular emails, you can choose who to add to each project and make sure that your employees get notifications only about those projects they really work on.
This way, your staff members will share ideas and files effortlessly, while you will track their progress in a user-friendly interface in real time.
4. Canva: Creating Visual Content
Franchisors have a single goal- to maintain a consistent brand image across all franchise businesses. On the other hand, they need to adapt their messaging to local audiences. This is why they usually let franchisees manage their local social media and content marketing strategy.
So, if you’re given an opportunity to unleash your creativity and develop powerful visual content that will sweep your local customers off their feet, Canva is the right choice for you. With its super-easy drag-and-drop features, Cava equips you with a plethora of photo editing options, font types, color palettes, and custom photo sizes for each social network. No matter if you’re creating an image from scratch or you’re just revamping an existing one, Canva lets you easily implement a franchisor’s brand assets, such as their logo.
5. UniTel Voice: Virtual Phone System
Simply put, UniTel Voice is a cloud-based business phone system that lets you manage your business regardless of your location. All you need to do add a business number to your home, cell phone, or office phone. With this option, all your business-related calls will display as your business number in your customer’s ID. Also, you can create personalized greeting messages, receive your voicemail via email, and add employee extensions so your employees can receive phone calls and provide exceptional customer service.
6. Zoho CRM: Customer Relationship Management
Providing your customers with an impressive experience at every touchpoint is the backbone of your success. And, this is why you need to invest in a solid CRM tool lie Zoho CRM. Its Sales Signals lets you centralize your phone, email, live chat, and social media and manage them from a single dashboard. This feature is designed specifically to inform you when a relevant prospect lands on your site, reads your email newsletter or engages with your franchise business on social media so you can connect with them faster.
7. Xero: All-In-One Billing Software
Xero is one of the most popular accounting platforms that is designed to make small business owners’ lives easier. Namely, it gives you the opportunity to automate many repetitive accounting tasks and save money. It gets your books done faster and lets you access your data irrespective of your location or device, making you more confident in your numbers.
Most importantly, Xero lets you personalize your bookkeeping, based on your business type. It has a specific plan for franchisees, letting them get paid faster with online invoicing, set up employee payments quickly, create professional online quotes, and keep track of their financial progress.
8. Zenefits: HR Software
Zenefits is one of the most popular HR platforms for a reason. This comprehensive cloud-based software integrates with numerous enterprise and productivity apps and reduces administrative overhead. Consisting of numerous powerful HR tools consolidated on one platform, Zenefits can automate different aspects of an HR job, from benefits and compliance to payroll.
Only by integrating tech into your HR department will you be able to facilitate your HR teams’ work and help them focus on what matters most- managing people and making them happy.
9. FranchiseSoft: Comprehensive Franchise Management Software
Managing a franchise business is difficult. And, to get the most out of it, you need to have a solid franchise management tool to back you up. This is why FranchiseSoft made many franchise businesses fall in love with it.
This is an all-in-one platform for both franchisors and franchisees that incorporates multiple sections, including:
- franchise performance: intuitive dashboards that let you track your business performance in real time
- franchise support: automation of repetitive tasks, detailed analytics, and reports, instructional videos, comprehensive employee training
- marketing: customizable ad builders, email campaigns, marketing collateral managers, and social media managers
- employee management: dynamic employee performance reports, conflict-free schedules, simpler communication among employees
- customer relationship management: easier communication with customers, event scheduling, detailed reports on customer behavior, and simpler conversion of leads into customers
All these features intertwine and interact seamlessly with one another to provide you with an exceptional user experience. Most importantly, the software is easy to personalize, as it is based on the drag-and-drop features.
Over to You
Becoming a franchisee is not easy. So, even if you believe you can be a jack of all trades at your company, you’re wrong. Each aspect of your new franchise business, from human resources to marketing requires significant time investments, strategizing, and knowledge on your part. And, this can be done only if you invest in the right set of tools.
Editor’s Note: The article is part of the blog series Run Your Business brought to you by the marketing team at UniTel Voice, the virtual phone system priced and designed for startups and small business owners.