Start Your New Franchise has already released a lot of information about technology and how it affects the Franchise Industry but we decided to post this separate article, focusing on technology, because the gravity of how much it really is changing franchises and businesses worldwide. To start off, all you have to do is consider where you are reading this post; it’s on the internet, on a website that helps you navigate the best franchises out there, allowing you to define exactly what you are after with a click of a button easily and intuitively. Then think about how did you get here; did you use a global search engine such as Google, which can provide answers to most of the questions out there, or were you on a social platform that is personalised to show exactly what you and your friends are interested in? Technology has really changed nearly everything in terms of how we complete daily tasks, which was once considered the norm. This article will go into further detail, listing how technology is affecting the franchise industry but also how it is likely to change it in the future.

How has Technology affected the Franchise Industry?

Technology hasn’t just focused on the franchise industry, it has affected all of us at nearly every point of our lives, but it has specifically improved or even hurt franchises in particular in the past. We can’t explain all technology leaps that have affected franchising as that list would be huge, as franchising, in one form or another, has been about since the Middle ages, according to Wikipedia. This means we are only talking the last 10 years but even that small time period has huge technology leaps. Think back to 2007 when the first iPhone was released, how much has that affected business? The iPhone which is still considered one of, or the best, Smartphone and it changed how we communicated on so many levels. This type of mobile communication allows franchisees to pretty much work where they like, as long as they have signal. This is the largest change that has allowed such things as part-time or work at home franchises to thrive. You are no longer required to be in the office or even in a building at all to communicate with your employees or manage the business. It has truly modernised the way in which we operate in business and enables people to be ready to tackle problems anytime, anywhere, at the touch of a finger.

Other Franchises have been created specifically because of technology, for example - Platinum Business Partners. This franchise allows you to create your own online retail business via established ecommerce platforms. This Franchise just wouldn’t exist without technology and they’re many others which are around purely due to technology.

Then you have the other side of technology advancements; some franchises have and will cease to exist because technology has deemed them redundant. If you’ve ever heard of Slice of Strife, an American Pizzeria franchise, then you will know that these have fallen on hard times - why? because of technology. They targeted indoor food courts in malls and other areas, which may be confusing as to how this relates to technology but if you were to consider the reason behind people frequenting malls less, you will find your answer – online shopping. The ability to shop online means less people need to visit these large structures which could take over half an hour to get to when you can just go on your phone and order items without leaving your couch. This shows that technology might not be something that you think will affect your chosen franchise but it really does link into every business, so one way or another and you have to find that link to be aware of any threats or opportunities for your business.

How is Technology going to affect the future of Franchising?

This isn’t a straightforward answer as the capabilities of technology are ever-evolving; driverless cars, something most people couldn’t even conceive 50 years ago now is already happening, but this technology leap alone will change all franchises that operate vehicles. So, to say how exactly it is going to affect the future of franchising is impossible, but we will outline some technology that you should be aware of:

Energy Sources

Energy is a controversial matter because of the affects it has on the planet, which is creating a problem for most businesses because of the tax and customer perception that will hit businesses if they are using “bad” energy sources such as coal, oil & gas. Technology has given us the ability to use renewable energy, something that isn’t entirely cost effective at the moment but look forward to 30 years where we are expecting a much greater return on the investment. If you don’t adapt to new forms of energy for your vehicles, building or factories, then you will be hit with more and more legislation which will require you to pay more to clean the environment for your “bad” energy use, as well as a loss of environmentally concerned customers because you are destroying their planet.

Automation

This is a larger scope of technology than you may initially assume, as the things that people often first think of are robots building cars etc, but automation occurs at many levels of a business. For example, e-commerce, you can put all your products online, automate the buying process, automate the communication to the supply chain, automate the marketing collateral to customer, automate the customer journeys on your site and the list goes on. Automation isn’t a single step in your business, it can be many steps which are constantly evolving and if you don’t adapt to this more efficient model then how can you compete with a business that requires a fraction of your workforce to do the same or even better job?

Internet of Things

If you haven’t heard of this term then I would definitely recommend you research it as its going to be one of the major shifts in technology over the next 15 years – and it has already begun. Internet of Things, in very basic terms, means everything is connected to the internet; think of the new Google Home, a device that’s already in a lot of homes. This device allows people to get answers, communicate and complete a lot of things that a computer could do, just through voice command. To show the scale of Internet of Things, consider the new Fitbit; a device you wear that records your heart rate and others bodily functions as you live your life. These may not seem as directly relevant to franchises but it’s what you can potentially do with these future devices that will become opportunities for franchises. Imagine if Fitbit allowed you to record your bodily systems while completing activates at a gym that can directly link to the gyms software to record how exactly you are performing on each task, what you are finding hard and what needs to improve. This will entice all the elite performance gym goers and will present a competitive edge over other gyms that haven’t adapted, thus meaning a threat for the less technology advanced gym franchises.

How to think about Technology

The point of this article wasn’t to list off all new technologies that might affect a franchise, it’s to make you aware that technological advancements are everywhere and you need to be aware of them and keep up. Start Your New Franchise want you to make your franchise a success and want you to choose the best franchise, so we hope that this article has informed you that a link from a new piece of technology may not be apparent but if you research well enough, you can find a potential threat to your existing business model if you fail to be aware and adapt.

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