Franchisors and franchise field managers wear a lot of hats. You’re a leader, you’re a coach, you’re a project manager, sometimes you’re a marriage guidance counsellor. More than ever in this fast-paced, connected world, the pressure’s on to be more personally productive while working collaboratively and juggling constant interruptions. The good news is that there’s an app for that – all of that. The not-so-good news is that these days there are so many apps to choose from. So I’ve picked out some of our favourites we thought you might like.

 


Business productivity: Helping you work faster, better, smarter, more collaboratively


It makes sense to business people like me that all your emails, contacts, calendar and tasks should be in one place and should all work together seamlessly across your PC and mobile devices so you can be productive wherever you are. It also makes sense that you should be able share all this across your team so everyone in it can work together better. But it turns out that I am the only person who thinks this way or if I’m not, the people who build productivity software and apps don’t think or work this way, which means that it is extraordinarily difficult to find productivity software and/or apps that help you achieve all of the above. Especially if you happen to use and like Microsoft Outlook and Android smartphones, as I do.



Bill Gates must have had a mid-life crisis a few years ago because Microsoft decided to embrace the Internet, with the result that I can now sync Outlook emails, contacts, calendar and tasks between my laptop and my Android smartphone. Making me faster, better and hopefully smarter than ever before. Thanks, Bill.





App:                       Microsoft Outlook

What it is:             Email, contacts, calendar and task management in one place

Available on:        Android and iOS

Price:                     Free for your smartphone, available on low monthly subscription for your PC


If you're not a Microsoft fan, you're probably a Google-ite. Even though I find the functionality of Google's Chrome, Gmail, Calendar, Tasks and Drive, you've gotta love the fact that they all work seamlessly across desktop and mobile.


App:                       Google Everything

Available on:        Android and iOS

Price:                     Free for your smartphone, available on low monthly                                                   subscription for your PC


 

Digital workspace management: Keeping track of all your stuff


I'm an ideas guy, always jotting down ideas, notes, doodles and lists. I used to do this in a diary or notebook, but then I got smart and went digital using OneNote, but Microsoft was too slow in embracing the online space. Another consultant put me on to Evernote which, like Google, isn't pretty to look at, but it does work across desktops and mobiles. You can also use it to save or bookmark webpages, digitise the text in images, and a bunch of other handy stuff that really does help to keep your business and your life in order.




App:                      Evernote

What it is:            Like a scrapbook where you can keep almost anything

Available on:       Android and iOS

Price:                    Free until you get addicted as I did and it becomes worthwhile to pay a small subscription                                for more storage space



Business social networking: Staying connected to colleagues and franchisees


No matter what you think of Facebook and Twitter, more and more businesses – including franchises – are finding that social media has its place in the business environment too, especially in team communication and collaboration tools such as Yammer and Slack which enable teams to keeping in touch, share files and photos, track projects, solve problems and coach franchisees no matter where they – or you – are. More than social media, these tools will help your franchise develop a database of organisational knowledge.


App:                      Yammer

What it is:            “Work-group chat on steroids”

Used by:               More than 200,000 businesses around the world

Available on:       iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

Price:                     Free

 

App:                      Slack

What it is:            The app with the slogan “Be less busy”

Used by:               The NASA team that put robots on Mars, among its many users

Available on:       iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

Price:                     Free

 


Expense reporting: Making business and travel expenses not suck


Travelling is always a part of managing a franchise network, and there’s nothing worse than getting back to the office and having to find, collate and claim all your expense chits and receipts. Expensify changes all that by making it easy to scan and categorise your expenses on the fly and helping you prepare “expense reports that don’t suck”.


App:                      Expensify

What it is:            Expense management and reporting     

Available on:       iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

Price:                    Free



Financial management: Keeping your finger on your franchise’s pulse




Thanks to cloud-based apps such as Xero, gone are the days when franchisors would have to either make personal visits or wait for monthly reports in order to keep tabs on how their franchisees were doing financially. Apart from being a New Zealand-developed app, the nicest features of Xero are its ease of use, clean design, ease of access across different devices, cool reports and graphs, and ability to work with other apps such as Expensify and Vend POS.

 

App:                      Xero

What it is:            Financial management and reporting    

Available on:       iOS, Android, and Windows Phone

Price:                    Standard monthly subscription of NZ$50


Project management: Helping keep you, your team and your projects organised

 

I’ve used many systems over the years to simplify and streamline team and project m

anagement, but Asana is my latest fave, not only because it’s a fun way to work together and so sophisticated that it seems simple, but because it’s completely free for a team of up to 15 people, too.


App:                      Asana

What it is:            Shared task and project management tool for                                  teams
Available on:       Android and iOS                               

Price:                    Free

 


Online booking: Streamlining job management and scheduling for service franchises




“Millions of jobs have been booked and managed with Vonigo,” say the makers of this business management and online booking platform. In a service business, time is money. Vonigo is designed to save time by combining CRM, internal & client-facing scheduling, work order management, estimating, dispatching, routing, GPS, invoicing, payments and reporting, all accessible over the internet from any desktop or mobile device.

 

App:                      Vonigo

What it is:            Business management and online booking and scheduling platform

Available on:        iPad, Mac & PC

Price:                     Subscription starting from US$75 per user per month


 

Point of sale: A better way to manage retail sales

 



A bold claim, but Vend is yet another New Zealand-based software company so it must be true. Being cloud-based, Vend is ideal for franchises because it’s scalable and provides real-time reporting for franchisees and franchisors. It even provides retailers with their own e-commerce platform.


App:                      Vend

What it is:            Retail POS software, inventory, ecommerce and customer loyalty management

Available on:        iPad, Mac & PC

Price:                     Free 30-day trial pricing, annual or monthly subscription based on business size






Article by Robin La Pere, No Ordinary Business and Franchise Consultants

Contact me at robin@noordinary.co.nz.





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This article was written by Robin

La Pere of No Ordinary Franchise Consultants.


Robin's not a tech guy but after many years in the corporate and franchising world, he understands the needs of franchisors and their teams. Because of this, he is able to offer franchises an objective perspective of the best ways to use technology to improve the productivity, workflow and collaboration of their teams and franchisees. He then works with technology experts to ensure the smooth implementation of new technology.


Robin maintains that to achieve effective change management in a franchise, it helps if your consultant has real hands-on experience in franchising and a deep understanding of the different motivations of franchisors and franchisees.


Robin is based in Auckland, New Zealand, but works with clients all over the world. To arrange for a free Initial Consultation, contact him at robin@noordinary.co.nz or use the Contact Form.








 


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