The Next Evolution of Small Business Software

Q: What are some of the biggest issues facing franchisors today?

A: The COVID crisis has caused all brands across nearly every industry to close their doors or pause at some point and rethink their operations. Franchisors have been put in a position where they are operating with smaller teams and budgets while ensuring operational and training compliance with COVID guidelines and recommendations. They need to act swiftly to provide guidance and support while also keeping franchisees’ sales steady.

Q: How can small business software be an effective tool that can make a franchisor’s job easier?

A: Now, more than ever, it’s essential that franchisees have the right tools to effectively compete in today’s constantly evolving franchising landscape. Software as a service (SaaS) platforms serve as centralized command centers, enabling transparency and visibility in real time on happenings in each of the business locations. Getting real-time, up-to-date information on each individual location can help franchisors determine the success or lack thereof for each location, which can help lead to the necessary adjustments to ensure success going forward. Additionally, franchise management software can help franchisors with franchisee compliance by ensuring their franchisees meet current brand guidelines and recommendations. Franchisee compliance is extremely important to franchisors because each individual franchisee is responsible for helping to maintain the reputation for the brand. A franchisee misstep can put the entire brand at risk. SaaS platforms help to mitigate that risk.  

Q: How is technology empowering franchisors and franchisees to do more?

A: Generally speaking, technology has made running a business easier for everyone. However, franchisors that utilize small business software across their systems have an opportunity to deliver an exceptional and competitive end-to-end customer experience. This provides a turn-key, easily replicated solution to ensure the success of every location. Reason being that many franchisees are driven to brands that have effective franchise management software available for their use. The challenge we see is that many locations are left to adopt to multiple platforms, with varying levels of execution which leads to inflated costs, complexity, and an inconsistent brand experience. Thryv’s new management console, Hub by Thryv, enables multi-location franchisors to roll out the software to all of their locations. Client data, calendars, payments, marketing automation, social media and more can be easily managed and organized in one spot.

Q: How do you see franchise-focused software evolving over the next few years?  

A: Automated software will continue to evolve and become more prevalent as many franchisors are simplifying their operations and working with smaller teams due to the pandemic. Since franchises command so much volume by virtue of their size, they will continue to need sophisticated systems to manage their business. It’s also important that franchises understand their consumer and the best ways to ensure they optimize their locations to ensure a great experience. Franchise-focused software can help in this space because the technology allows franchisors to replicate the same processes across the system.

We can anticipate that as we continue to navigate the pandemic, we’ll receive additional consumer insights/trends that will help SaaS software evolve over time to meet new expectations. Additionally, the pandemic will force unprofitable SaaS start-ups to fold, or be consolidated by more stable and profitable platforms. This adds a component that must be reviewed by franchisors prior to selecting vendors who are looking for long term partners, without the need to migrate and switch repeatedly.

Matthew Gourgeot is Head of Corporate and Business Development at Thryv, where he is responsible for leading Thryv’s franchise and multi-location division and developing the company’s strategic corporate partnerships. Over the past decade, Matthew has held various leadership roles throughout the organization and at multiple Google Premier SMB Partner companies. He has spent his career supporting Small Business America by helping entrepreneurs start, run and grow their companies while structuring deals with some of the largest business organizations and franchise brands across the United States.

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