A growing number of people are choosing to start a franchise — and for several good reasons: instead of launching a startup from scratch they can plug into an established brand, take advantage of training and support, benefit from their chain’s buying power, get financing help, and more.
However, ask any hands-on franchise owner — and there are hundreds of thousands of them across the U.S. — whether being at the helm of a franchise is “easy money,” and they’ll burst out laughing. And then they’ll start crying. Possibly after that they’ll do both at the same time.
Running a Franchise Can Be Rewarding — but Not Easy!
Here’s why: compared to many other kinds of work — especially precarious employment, which is a scenario that an increasing number of younger workers are experiencing these days — running a franchise can be immensely rewarding on a personal level, and financially profitable on a business level.
However, make no mistake: it’s not a passive income stream. It’s a roll-up-your-sleeves commitment that can involve meeting with bank officials in the early morning, interviewing prospective new hires over lunch, helping fulfill an order in the afternoon — and then perhaps vacuuming just before shutting down. Simply put, successful franchise owners do what it takes to succeed. At times it can be daunting (“why did I do this to myself?”); and at other times it can be amazing (“This is fantastic, I will never go back to a cubicle again!”).
And speaking of successful franchise owners: a growing number of them are doing something else to take the shortest path to sustained profitability: they are choosing cloud based telephone systems (a.k.a. hosted VoIP) vs. conventional landline phone systems.
If you’re running a franchise or you’re on your way to franchise country, then here are 10 things you need to know about cloud based telephone systems (a.k.a. Hosted VoIP or cloud PBX telephone systems) that will put a smile on your face and more money in your business:
- There is no software to purchase, and the only hardware you may need or want to buy are IP phones, a managed router (so the system can be monitored remotely by your vendor), and back-up power units so you can make/receive calls in the event of a local power outage (more on this in #10).
- You’ll save thousands of dollars a year — every year. There are no costly trunk lines to rent, and domestic user-to-user calls are always free. What’s more, your phone bill will be predictable vs. wildly fluctuating from one month to the next, which helps you with budget management and financial forecasting.
- You can easily connect your entire workforce and keep them connected — regardless of where they are. The same goes for connecting multiple locations on a single, centralized system. At the same time, you can give each location a local number, or get a toll-free number.
- If you change locations, you don’t have to deal with the hassle and expense of having the phone company reconfigure your system and possibly dig up new lines. You simply unplug your IP phones from your old location, plug them into your new location, and you’re set to go. Your numbers stay the same.
- You and your team will have immediate access to enterprise-grade calling features that help you compete with the big players in your marketplace. These features include (but aren’t limited to) auto attendant, custom music on hold, voicemail-to-email, live call transfer, and more.
- Adding capacity to a cloud phone system is extremely easy and affordable. Simply purchase additional licenses as you scale up and grow. The system can support a handful of users to over 5000 (hey, it’s important to dream big, right?).
- Installing a cloud phone system is fast and easy. You don’t need permission from your property manager to dig up lines or configure an on-site PBX, because there ARE no lines or on-site PBX. The entire system runs on the one that you already use to access the internet and email.
- You and your team will rarely — or ideally never — miss an important call because cloud phone systems can be accessed anytime, anywhere via smartphone app. You can also set-up ring groups (multiple phones ring at the same time) and hunt groups (specific phones ring in succession) to reduce the likelihood of missed calls. And if voicemail cannot be avoided, the voicemail-to-email feature helps you and your team pick up messages while on-the-go, so that you can return priority calls sooner vs. later.
- If you run into technical challenges or just need some advice on how to use a feature, your cloud phone system vendor will be there to help. You don’t have to hire specialists or add “cloud phone system technician” to your ever-growing list of roles and responsibilities!
- Cloud based telephone systems use a geographically dispersed infrastructure. As a result, if the local power goes out due to severe weather or other event, you and your team can continue making/receiving calls on your smartphones, or you can transfer calls to locations that aren’t impacted by the outage.
The Bottom Line
Experienced franchise owners know what new franchise owners will quickly learn — and hopefully survive the discovery: making the right technology investments isn’t just important, but it’s essential. For all 10 of the reasons described above, a cloud based telephone system should definitely be part of your franchise success story!