Franchise Intranet Solutions
Maintaining connectedness is a perennial issue for franchise operations; a franchise intranet offers a solution. Franchises are now big business. According to the International Franchise Association, in 2016, the number of direct jobs in franchise establishments in the US is over 9 million with a total output of over US$900,000M. In this article, we will examine how franchise intranet software can help to promote a sense of connection between the various franchisees and also with head office. As well as promoting connectedness, franchise intranets will bring other business benefits including streamlined organizational processes, increased compliance, and better communication.
What Is A Cloud Franchise Intranet?
Basically, it’s a cloud-based set of tools that can be used to facilitate communication and the sharing of information for franchisees. Cloud computing saves time and money, and it’s convenient. You don’t have to worry about server costs and maintenance, security, storage space or constant updates. This gives you more time to concentrate on running your business. What’s more, a cloud-based franchise intranet means that programs and data accessible from any computer in the world with an internet connection or from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. A franchise intranet is an invaluable resource that will help with your franchisee communications, support, training, and operations.
- Up-to-date news and corporate information.
- Document management system.
- Corporate branding resources e.g. logos, adverts, marketing materials.
- Online training programs.
- Collaborative working spaces and project areas.
- Message boards and discussion forums.
- The ability to search for information at a global and franchise levels.
Implementing a franchise intranet will help to solve the challenges of connectedness, internal communications, integration and involvement for franchisees. It will connect franchisees with other franchisees and with head office, thereby promoting a real sense of community. Whether you have 5 or 500 franchises spread nationally or even internationally, an online company intranet will ensure that distance and numbers are no longer an issue.
What Are The Benefits Of A Franchise Intranet?
Introducing a franchise intranet will mean that franchisees can work more efficiently and effectively. It’s as simple as that.
Specific benefits include the following:
- Increased communications and connectedness.
- Streamlined processes.
- Ensuring franchisee compliance.
- Better employee engagement.
Increased Communication & Connectedness
Everyone wants to feel a sense of being valued and connected and franchisees probably feel this more keenly than an average employee. A franchise intranet is an important way to promote that all-important sense of community.
News feeds on a franchise intranet will enable the head office to keep franchisees informed of corporate news, events and the latest information. News feeds can be customized to ensure that targeted information reaches the right people at the right time. This will also reduce the volume of email traffic and the need for those ‘all staff’ type emails that often lose their impact with the sheer frequency of them.
Franchisees will have the opportunity to customize their news feeds to include local or regional information as well as the important messages from the franchisor. The ability to access news feeds will be contained to the relevant franchisee with only head office being able to oversee all news feeds thereby maintaining control.
Furthermore, collaborative working spaces or project areas can be set up on the franchise intranet. These can promote collaborative working across individual franchises, helping franchisees to develop a sense of mutual support and being part of a bigger picture.
These collaborative working spaces will also enable franchisees to share knowledge, examples of best practice or frequently asked questions. As well as providing a valuable resource for franchisees, this will also eliminate some of the traffic of inquiries that would otherwise have been directed at head office staff.
The franchisor will have the ability to oversee these collaborative, shared knowledge working spaces. Any common issues or areas of concern can, therefore, be quickly identified and resolved across the whole franchise and nipped in the bud before becoming a major issue.
Streamlined Business Processes
Eliminate the need for phone calls, faxes, emails or even paper-based processes by including a Document Management System (DMS) on the franchise intranet. The DMS can be used to track, manage and store important corporate documents and files. In this way, you can be sure that the franchisee is able to access the latest version of the document at the time that they need it. Indeed, many franchisors have discovered that there are considerable savings to be made in printing and distributions costs. For example, posting the latest version of the operations manual on the franchise intranet does away with the need to print and mail it out to all your franchisees.
The franchise intranet should also have the functionality to enable head office to verify that certain content – for example, updates to the operations manual – is read by the right people. Access to documents and files in the DMS is controlled by roles and user level permission access which ensures that only authorized personnel can edit or view confidential documents.
Reporting processes can also be an element of the franchise intranet. Weekly sales information data, for instance, can be automated and completed within the franchise intranet, enabling franchisees to track results and progress across franchises if appropriate.
Ensuring Franchisee Compliance
A franchise intranet can help head office to ensure compliance with franchise legal and branding requirements. Corporate logos, adverts, marketing materials and other branding resources can all be held in a central repository on the franchise intranet. Standard contracts or agreements across the franchise can also be held centrally. In this way, franchisees can be confident that they are using the latest versions and that the materials and documents are compliant with corporate requirements.
Online training is another important way that franchisors can ensure consistency and standardization across franchises. Most franchise intranets will offer online training programs and modules on a range of topics from getting started through to product overviews and continuing professional development. Reporting capabilities will ensure that head office can keep track of completion rates. And the great advantage of a cloud-based intranet training program is that franchisees can train at their own convenience either off-site or outside of normal working hours.
Making A Difference
We began by looking at how franchise intranets can help with ensuring connectedness for franchisees. Along the way, we identified a number of other business benefits including time and money savings. In short, having a franchise intranet will make a difference. A franchise intranet offers a total solution for improved business operations: a central location for all company communications that will strengthen your relationship with franchisees.
To find out more about how a franchise intranet will make a difference to your franchise operation contact us at MyHub today.