The business model of franchising is a steady, logical one. There are just not that many ways to add innovations to the actual business model itself, besides the ones that have been added on in the past, like these three;
- Multi-Unit Franchising
- Master Franchising
- Area Development
(Some of the Network Marketers (MLM’s) may disagree, since a few of them are adding the word “franchise” to their offerings, hoping to capitalize on the power of that word.)
There are however, innovations that can benefit the franchisors, the franchisees, and even those looking to purchase franchises. Let’s look at a few….
- Companies like FanMinder out of California, (Disclosure; I’m an affiliate) are trying to target franchises that have physical locations, so that they can help them build an opt-in customer list that can be used to send out text-messages, denoting specials and promotions that can get these folks in the door. Local establishments are always looking for effective marketing tactics that can get their cash registers humming. Text message marketing could be one of the answers. The New York Times recently discussed text message marketing in depth.
- What if you’re one of those multi-unit franchise owners that are always on the run? If you’re an iPhone user, I’ll wager that you use innovative business technology tools like these. If you happen to use a Blackberry, don’t despair. There are tons of innovative business and finance applications for you, too. Try Crackberry.com Do you want more? I wrote this article just for you, last year.
- San Diego’s IFX Online International allows all members of franchise executive teams to put out critical information to their franchisees, via a specialized intranet technology that IFX seems to have done a nice job with. Here’s an impressive list of franchisors that use this system. Some of the franchisors have even set up online forums with the IFX system for their franchisees to voice concerns, and make suggestions for best practices.
- Franconnect is a company that provides several different technology tools that are designed to help franchisors help their franchisees become better small business owners, which ultimately benefits the franchise company. Franconnect’s Franchise Performance Dashboard allows franchisees to analyze factors that are impacting their expenses and profitability, all in real time.
- Prospective franchise owners are always asking me how the franchisor helps them with their local marketing efforts. Basic advertising templates are almost always provided, but a company by the name of Balihoo has developed a local marketing automation system that helps build and then track campaigns, and even helps with media placement, all at the local level.
The franchise business model is sometimes referred to as a “turn-key” business. While some aspects of the business itself may indeed be turn-key, most aren’t. As a franchise owner, you’ll be the one doing the key-turning, every day. It’s hard work - incredibly hard at times. The rewards, including things like personal satisfaction, and more freedom and control in one’s professional, and ultimately one’s, personal life, can be worth the work.
Innovative technologies will continue to be developed, and could start turning some franchise systems into more efficient ones. And closer to the true turn-key model that a lot of prospective franchise owners crave.
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Joel Libava, The Franchise King,® is the president of Franchise Selection Specialists Inc, a franchise consulting firm that specializes in helping prospective franchise owners all over the US find great opportunities in franchise ownership. Joel discusses all aspects of franchising on The Franchise King Blog, is quite active in social media, and serves as the community promotions director for Small Business Trends.