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Franchising Trends in the Digital Age

Franchising Trends in the Digital Age

In the fast-paced world of franchising, the future promises a blend of digital transformation and opportunity. I recently joined a panel of industry experts, including Kylee Valentine, Senior Partner in the Accounting and Tax division at Findex and Glenn Walford, Founder of Magnetic Business Media and Franchisebuyer.com.au

We sat down to unpack franchising’s evolving landscape and offer key insights into what’s on the horizon. From adapting to changing recruitment strategies to embracing technological platforms and having your financial house in order, here’s a glimpse of the future of franchising.

Data-driven decision making

Valentine highlighted a pivotal element that is becoming increasingly critical for future franchising success: data. “The businesses that know their numbers are the ones that are doing better than the others,” she shares. “[Businesses] have a lot of financial data that they produce each week and each month, but it’s just data until they do something with it.

“Having the ability to pull that information out of whatever accounting system you’re using and turning it into something that helps you make proactive decisions as you go is key. You’re making decisions that are based on the right information and not on gut feel alone.”

There’s been a notable shift in Australia’s AU$172 billion franchising industry’s mindset, moving away from a singular focus on franchise sales towards a growth mindset that places emphasis on innovation, integration of advanced systems and a deep understanding of the Australian market. Franchise owners, from the smallest to the most sophisticated, are now actively seeking education and solutions that can simplify operations, maximise profitability and foster a forward-thinking approach.

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Standardisation of systems

Ensuring uniformity in financial reporting across different units within a franchise system emerged as a future trend. Standardised charts of accounts, for instance, were identified as vital tools for aligning financial data, simplifying comparisons and facilitating more informed decision-making. 

Valentine says, “A standard chart of accounts is really important because it gives you that ability to start to bring one business in line with another when you’re looking at that financial data. Otherwise, it really is too hard because there is so much that’s open to interpretation.

“Additionally, putting expenses into categories, so you can micro-analyse every part and improve them can make a significant impact.”

Recruitment in the digital age

Walford shed light on the future of franchise recruitment, underlining the timeless importance of effective communication. He says the challenges they experience often come down to a messaging issue. “It’s funny. I’ve been talking to a number of franchisors in the room this morning about franchise recruitment issues, getting enough leads and converting enough leads. And I’ve said it before, but most brands – pretty much every brand – have more of a content problem than anything else,” he shares.

“Are you getting your message across? Is your message resonating with the person you’re trying to attract? This is pretty much the answer to just about every problem we have in the business. For the most part, that hasn’t changed at all. Franchise business opportunity-centric messaging has always been the issue.

Franchisors must think about the most useful way to get more bang for their buck in terms of positioning. They need to do that in a way that is not cliche. Things like, being your own boss, working your own hours, working from anywhere … are all ‘stock standard’. Being successful means becoming more creative in how you punch out to market.

As Walford points out, “Franchise recruiting is primarily about getting your key points together as to why that person should bother to have any interest in what you have to offer or what you’re trying to sell them.” 

An effective way to get their attention and buy-in, he says, is with video. “Brands are now diverting and sending a lot of funds and resources to social [media channels] to generate leads there. But once again, you have that content issue,” Walford says.

“The key to social media has been video. We’ve seen the explosion of TikTok-style content with Facebook and Instagram reels and shorter YouTube videos. There’s so much happening in those spaces. That 30-second video is absolutely paramount.”

The future of franchising is exciting

The future of franchising promises a dynamic mix of challenges and opportunities. With the tsunami of retiring baby boomers and the subsequent transfer of generational wealth, the landscape of business ownership is undergoing a seismic transformation. 

As millions of baby boomers reach retirement age, a tremendous transfer of business assets, estimated to be worth AU$6.75 trillion, is expected in the coming years. This paradigm shift necessitates innovative solutions to meet the unique needs and challenges faced by aspiring entrepreneurs. So, if you haven’t begun preparing for this yet, start now. 

Harness the power of data, standardise practices and embrace evolving recruitment strategies to thrive. We will see a significant rebound coming, in terms of the pipeline of inquiry, all around the market. So hold tight and be consistent. I believe there’s a ‘Golden Age’ coming in another two to three months.

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 [To share your insights with us, please write to  pghosh@itechseries.com ] 

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