FranTech designed with franchising in mind

When it comes to franchise technology, very few systems are geared for our industry, or the unique franchisor/franchisee relationship. Adam Knight thinks franchisors – you – deserve better 

During our many (many) years of working with franchisors from every possible industry, the team here at Coconut has gained quite a unique viewpoint. Based on our knowledge, areas of expertise and useful insight, we’ve become a port of call for Franchisors, with all manner of technology issues, as well as being trusted partners for marketing.

Although our primary focus has always been marketing related, particularly with our Franchise Recruitment work and, in recent years, Digital Advertising on behalf of whole networks, we’ve developed a deep understanding of how the entire franchise network operates. Obviously the mechanics of marketing have become more technical over time, and strategies have come to rely on a considerable amount of technology, in recent years.

Almost every time we’d worked with someone on these types of projects, the solution seemed to feel as though we were just trying to find an answer with the smallest amount of compromises. Other times, we would have to rig multiple different systems together. Although this solved the problem, it required a substantial amount of maintenance and management, to keep everything running smoothly. Quite time consuming, and frustrating at times for our clients.

What is FranTech?

An excellent question! Since we started helping franchisors, we’ve seen every piece of technology innovated and implemented across a number of functionality-use cases, from CRM, class bookings, secure messaging, and social media management. All provide good solutions for business, but as soon as you add in the franchisor/franchisee relationship to the mix, they start to fall apart or require considerable of customisation. This invariably can end up being extremely costly. Sometimes this is in the literal cost, other times in the scope of what was actually required from the solution.

At one point, a franchisor told us they were so embarrassed by the franchise management solution they ‘d signed up to, and how it looked because they were asking me to design a user interface to sit over the top, and make it look and feel more professional.

So, from our point of view, FranTech is modern and flexible software built specifically with franchising in mind.

There are a number of tools being sold as ‘for franchising’. However, these are blatant repackaging of software made for other use cases, and shoe-horned into franchise networks with some inelegant and glaring issues. Big software companies don’t see franchising as worth the huge investment it would take to build modern and flexible solutions, because of its relative size compared to the global industry based markets. Despite the fact the UK franchise industry has a net worth of £17 billion!

So, franchisors are left with these poor (and often expensive) solutions, and put up with them, because there doesn’t seem to be an alternative.

We think Franchisors deserve better!

Which is why we redesigned the future

In 2018, Coconut began running Google Ads for a large network of franchisees. We’d been running ads for networks before, but not at this scale. We needed a system to administer this activity. Smoothly and easily. It would need to be able to take payments, provide invoices, deliver monthly updates, and report on the actual performance of the Google Ads activity. As you can imagine, doing this manually would have been a huge amount of work. So, we systemised, centralised and organised and as soon as we were done, it instantly became obvious we had the skeleton of a system which could solve a large amount of our clients’ problems.

We started talking to our clients, asking them what problems they had with running their networks, and made a list of everything we could solve through our system. Almost every issue our clients spoke to us about, revolved around administration, centralisation, access control, content management, knowledge management, and internal communication. This formed the basis of Franchise Cloud and our Franchise Relationship Management platform. So that is the history of how Coconut created Franchise Cloud. The thing we are really interested to talk about is the future.

Can Franchise Cloud really help?

The way we’ve approached this is quite unique. We have built solutions to all of the issues we have seen over the last 20 years in franchising. But, wherever a decision needed to be made about how a certain function would need to work for a particular customer, in their real world usage, rather than hard-coding our assumption of how we think it needs to work, we’ve left it open and customisable.

For example, three different franchise businesses working in children’s activities, share the same organisational structure but work in hugely different ways.

The way marketing is handled across different networks is also radically different. Where one may handle everything at HQ, another expects franchisees to handle their own marketing entirely. This is why we believe it’s important for your management software to not only understand these fundamental differences, but be able to handle them without skipping a beat.

Through Franchise Cloud, we believe we have achieved this. However, the only way for you to really know whether it can work for your brand and network, is to talk me through how you are currently working, and what you need/want. I can then demonstrate how Franchise Cloud can meet your requirements.