This week Josh speaks with Jason Case, Founder and CEO of Pulse Technology. They talk about franchises and the critical importance of using systems and processes.
Jason Case is the CEO of Pulse Technology a CRM and Marketing/Workflow Automation software that helps you build a business that runs more efficiently.
Before you can scale a business, you need a solid foundation in place. This foundation should consist of the right processes and systems to support your growth. Jason can help you implement these processes, which will give you the power to scale efficiently.
He is also the Founder of Franchise Max, a company that provides a platform for franchisors and franchisees to use the same application to run their business smoothly.
In today's episode you will learn about:
- What makes a great franchise
- The importance of setting up automation in your business
- Why having real-time reporting is important
- Why it's so important to spend time building out the backend processes to support your business
Narrator: Welcome to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where you'll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You'll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when emergency strikes, fully fund a growth program, and fund your retirement program. When you do this, you will have a sale‑ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want, in the way you want.
In Cracking the Cash Flow Code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he's learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning, and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.
Josh Patrick: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick and you're at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Today, my guest today is Jason Case. Jason is from Pulse Technology CRM. An interesting guy, interesting company with something that's really, really important for us to be talking about which is what I call business in a box. Jason's company provides software solutions, system solutions for franchisors to bring to their franchisees so everyone's on the same page, doing the same thing in the same way which is what it takes to have a great franchise.
So, instead of me talking about what makes a great franchise, because I'm just sort of making this up, let's bring Jason on. He's the expert and he can tell us about it.
Hey, Jason, how are you today?
Jason: Good. Thanks for having me on, Josh.
Did I get the basic right about that? About what you guys do and why it's important for franchisors to use you?
Jason: Yeah. So we have a technology that we actually developed for a dealership‑type business, so franchise model, kind of like a step below legal franchise system that they sold dealership models. And that's kind of what got us into this. And we helped them scale from zero to 200 units in about 10 months, so it’s extremely fast growth and the software was a key part of that growth.
So, what our software does is it allows the franchisor to really automate many things in their franchise system, everything from the corporate office down to the franchisees, but providing kind of systemized solutions. So, you're really providing the resources to streamline that business in the box. So, if you think about a McDonald's or a retail establishment like that, a lot of those business‑in‑a‑box type systems are created when you're building that retail location or that restaurant establishment.
But with service‑based businesses, it's not necessarily that way, right? So, you have the processes that you use as a franchise organization. There hasn't really been a technology that easily allows a franchisor to streamline and pass those processes on to new franchisees which is that business in the box that you're talking about and that's where a Pulse Technology comes in. We have a version for franchise organizations that allows that whole process to just be quickly added to each new franchisee, quickly make updates to all your processes and stuff like that, and provides excellent resources for your franchisees to succeed, and for you as a franchisor to really streamline your systems.
Josh: It seems to me that one of the challenges of creating a franchise is putting all the systems together and all the documentation for the systems together in a way that would make sense for the franchisees to be able to successfully implement. I know that the government spends a lot of time looking over franchisors’ shoulders, making sure that they are doing the best things they can to make their franchisees successful. I assume your software helps with that.
Jason: Yeah. So, actually, we're creating some really big partnerships now with companies all over the world. Some people that are really specialized and adding resources that specialize in the management and how that stuff can be set up. I was actually talking to a guy that's been, you know, in the franchising space since 1994 and, you know, we've had several meetings. Weactually one with him later today. FDD is a Franchise Disclosure Document, it's what each franchise system needs to provide to franchisees. And he said, you know, he reviews those documents on a regular basis and he's seen like franchise systems that are a restaurant type that has nothing to do with like making subs but, in their franchise disclosure document, it says a sub shop just because they get like templated versions of these franchise disclosure documents but never necessarily take the time to read them. So, he specializes in reviewing all that stuff, helping like kind of set those processes and stuff up. And we've been collaborating and working together to where we can take some of his processes that he's had, decades of experience, and put those in a systemized fashion, in our software, which really helps manage all that stuff and systemize the delivery of those documents to your franchisees and so forth. And everything from training.
So, we have a partnership with a company out of New Zealand that we've been working on for a while now where it'll help having a learning management software fully integrated with our software to where, you know, you can provide training. And we're actually working with this guy that's, you know, been in this with decades of experience, specific structures on the training elements, right. So, having the training tool and the resources there, that's great. But, if you don't have specific processes on how to set that stuff up, then it might not be as effective as possible. So, yeah, those are all things that our software helps with. And we're actually bringing in really industry‑leading experts to help fine tune the processes to kind of create really valuable solution for franchise systems to work from.
Josh: The thing that I've noticed is-- I mean, there's thousands of franchisors out there in the world. You know, I've talked to a couple of franchise folks in the show, in the past, and before I talk to the first person, I thought, “Oh, there’s probably a couple of hundred franchise opportunities in the world.” It's more like high in the five figures, anyhow, if not more.
Jason: I actually talked with someone the other day. I think there's like over 775,000 franchise establishments in the US, from like a franchisee standpoint. And that's just in the United States alone.
Josh: So, I have a question for you. So, I've got a business and, you know, the business is doing well. I've got, say, three units out in my business. And it's a service‑based business. It could be a cleaning business or it could be an advice business. And I think I've got my stuff down pretty well and I want to go into franchises. Now, my understanding, if I went back 10 years and I wanted to do that, it will cost me somewhere around a quarter of a million dollars. Using your type of software and the technology that's available today, if I wanted to develop a new franchise, what would the cost be or approximate be if I was to use a product like yours to help systematize and put all the stuff in place I need to have in place?
Jason: So, there's a lot of different things that go into the franchise setup, right. There's the whole legal side which we don't personally get into. And that's where a lot of the cost is of getting things like that set up. But as far as like setting your business up to get systemized and streamlined, I mean, our software starts at $49 a month per franchise location, so very, very efficient. And there's really not a solution out there that's like that for new and emerging franchise systems until what we're releasing.
And with the partnership that we're creating out of New Zealand, pretty soon, we're going to have a fully integrated single sign‑on system with all your learning management modules even actually website packages to where you can offer pre‑built websites to your franchisees, if you want them to have you’re their website and to fully integrate in into our CRM, and marketing workflow automation software, and quoting, invoicing tools and stuff. So, you'll have the full suite of tools for a very affordable price to get started. And that's very important because, otherwise, if you start franchising and start going at it, and having each franchise set up their own kind of processes that you guide them through, there's going to be a disconnect along the way, right? And it's not going to be necessarily set up like you had originally set up when you first started.
So, with our system, that allows that consistency, in each new franchisee that sets up and allow you can make quick updates, you know, across the board because as you evolve as a franchise brand, there's going to be changes that you need to make and having it fully integrated like that allows you to make those changes. Also, to have real‑time reporting, you know, on your franchise systems. A lot of franchisors have to wait monthly or quarterly, do meetings, to get numbers. With our system, you can get real‑time data so you are able to reach out and offer a lending hand to your franchisees that you see might need it or kind of understand some key areas that you can add support to other franchisees based on what you see some system doing really well at.
Josh: So, it sounds to me like what your software does is it allows you to have uniformity between the business units out in the field?
Jason: 100%, yep.
Josh: So, wouldn't it make sense-- I mean, I used to have a food service and vending company, service business, and we had four different operations. It was always a challenge for us to get the four operations to actually do the same things in the same way. So, I'm assuming your software would help with that particular issue?
Jason: Exactly what it does, yep.
So, we've talked to a lot of franchisees out there that bought into franchise organizations, and then they feel like they're sold really well but once they, you know, get up and running, they feel like there's a disconnect, right, and they don't have all the resources available to them. More so, in the service‑based franchise areas. And that's not necessarily the franchisor’s fault. I don't think any franchisor really means to do that. However, as you get busy, as a franchise organization, if you don't have their systems and processes in place, it makes it hard to efficiently do that. And with our software, it allows you to really, as soon as the franchisee comes up, boom, you can put that that consistency, those same processes, the same everything that you have set up, right into that new franchise organization.
Josh: So, what I'm hearing here is-- and this is what we've been talking about for the last, you know, 12 minutes or so, is that systems are a really important piece of having a business that's economically sustainable. So, in your opinion, why are systems really important to have?
Jason: Well, I mean, if you don't have systems in place, your business is going to crumble. I don't care if you're a franchise or just a stand‑alone business. As you start to scale, if you don't have some sort of systems and processes in place, then things are going to start to crumble as you start to grow. And those systems and processes in place really help support not only you as a franchisor, but helps support your franchisees, you know, as they start to grow too.
Josh: So, let's just say this is not a franchise operation because people who are going into franchises know they have to follow the rules of the franchisor or they get fired or, at least, they will learn that along the process. But I've talked to tons and tons of blue‑collar businesses, and I will start preaching from the pew of systemization for your business, and they'll say to me something like it-- is always a version of this but something like, “You know, my people don't want to be told what to do. We want to give them a problem and give them a way to solve it.” What would you say to somebody who said that to you?
Jason: Well, I don't think it comes down to micromanaging, right, or toning that someone--that's funny you brought that up. I just had a conversation about this with someone yesterday. And I think that's the wrong way to look at it. Really, it’s the way you approach it. So, if you're giving a process to your employees to follow, they should actually value that, right. You're actually making their job easier. So, it's what we call training on the process not the system, right. So, actually, understanding the processes and how you can train on those processes, right. So, if you got a new employee coming on, or from a franchise organization, got a new franchisee coming on, you’re training on the processes that you know work. So, instead of like having that employee trying to figure it out on their own or that franchisee trying to figure out on their own that's why you're buying into a franchise system, you kind of want some processes to follow, right, that you know that work. So, hopefully, you don't have to micromanage that and that's where the systems come in, right.
So, if you have the systems in place, you don't necessarily have to micromanage. You have the reporting there and stuff like that. And, obviously, if the numbers aren't making sense, then you should probably look at that stuff.
Josh: Yeah. I was always under the false impression, when I had my food service company, that my employees wanted to figure out what the customers wanted where, they were at the front line so they would know what the customer wanted and they would be in the position to provide those needs in the best way possible, and that was completely wrong. What I learned, along that way, was that the more systems we put in place, the happier our employees got because they knew what they had to do for excellence.
Jason: It makes their job easier, too.
Josh: It made their job a lot easier. I mean, you know, I'll give you an example. When, you know, those restaurant snack machines with candies, and chips, and pastries in it. Well, we used to have 120 items in our warehouse that go into those machines. Now, there were only 40 slots, so we used to think that the drivers wanted to go shopping for what their customers wanted. And what would happen is, we’d have a row of Snickers, and a row of Jujubes, and a row of M&M’s, and a row of Chuckles. You know, really crummy candy next to good‑selling candy. And every time the driver went, they'd be out of the M&M’s and the Snickers and they sold one of the other stuff.
So, over the course of years, as we learned more and more about this, by using some quality management processes, we went from having 140 items in, our warehouse down to 25. And we had 14 in the machines at one time, and we would just rotate, but we didn't rotate very much. Most of the time, the machines had 95% of our sales came from 14 items.
Jason: Ain’t that interesting, once you know the data, and you start--
Josh: Yeah. And once we knew the data. And it made it easier for our drivers to know what to put in the machine. They would put more in at a time. So, instead of doing $40 every time they open the door, they had $140 every time they opened the door which is almost a 350% improvement in productivity. It was huge.
Jason: Productivity, profit margins, everything. You know, it impacts the whole organization, so yeah.
Josh: And then, I learned another thing about systems which I'm sure that you guys carry is that not only did our employees like it more but our customers did also because they knew what to expect and we have more consistency in what we provide it.
Jason: 100%, right. So, if you don't have systems in place, as you start to grow, you're going to have less and less time and, if you don't have those systems, you're going to be running it inefficiently. So, who takes the hit there? Usually, your customers because you don't have the time to offer the value like you did when you first started. So, where the systems and processes come in place allows you to add consistency to every single customer so they all experience the same great service that you provide. So yeah, systems are a huge, huge part of that.
Josh: Yeah, that's been our learning over the years.
So, when somebody goes and establishes systems, what do you think is the most efficient way for them to document what they do?
Jason: You know, I mean, I think like every business, when they first start, you know, they've got some kind of systems. You know, you do. But they mainly live in their head as a--
Josh: Right. They live in the owner’s head. That's where their systems live.
Jason: Right, right. That's a tricky question because I think it comes down to what type of system or what type of process that you're trying to document, right. Some should be written documentation, some should probably be a mixture of written and video documentation, some could be flowcharts and mind maps of where it's going to go and what the next step in the process is and things of that nature. It's a mixture of things, depending on, I guess, what that system is.
Josh: So, who should do the documenting?
Jason: I think it should be on to the person that's actually doing it. You know, that's the process I've always taken is delegate it to the person that's actually doing it. So, if it's your employee, and that's their job, and they're doing it, have them document it. You know, they know the process way better than you if they're the one actually doing the job.
Josh: Yeah, that's actually really good advice. And here's why I think it's good advice. Almost every owner I know is a fan of bright, shiny objects. They don't do systems. They understand systems might be important, but they hate them themselves.
Josh: And if I tell them they have to document the systems in their company, I can promise you they'll never document it. In fact, all they’re going to do is argue with me about why they shouldn't have to do it and, therefore, we don't need systems.
But when we say to ‘em-- and you, you hit right in the head, “Hey, the person doing the job is the expert at the job, let them document it.” It’s almost universal. They say to me, “You mean, I can do that? I can have them document the job themselves?” And I said, “Yeah, I didn't know there was a rule against that.”
Jason: So then, this comes down to actually creating a system and process of the documentation, right?
Jason: So, how it should be done. Make it easy for them to document it, you know.
But if you're ever considering franchising, right, those systems and processes are absolutely essential. So, that's why your franchisees are buying into your franchise organization. And the better you can have those systems and processes, the better success they're going to be, the less churn you're going to have. From a franchisee, there’s a better retention you know you're going to keep across your organization and so forth. The better value you're going to be able to offer.
So, think, you know, when you first start and before you even start franchising, hopefully, your values providing great customer experience, you know. But, as you start selling new franchise organizations, those values could change and not necessarily-- hopefully, you’re qualifying who'd buy‑in into your franchise organization based on that. But if the systems and processes aren't the same, and you don't have that same consistency, that new franchisee, they probably want to offer a valuable or a great customer experience but, if you don't have the systems and processes in place for them to do so, then that customer experience and customer service could be sacrificed because of that so.
Josh: Hey, Jason, unfortunately, we are out of time. And this is an interesting thing. And I'm going to encourage folks who are listening to go to Pulse Technology CRM. By the way, the url-- well, I'll let you tell it, Jason, in a minute.
But the reason I want you to do this, even if you don't have a franchise, if you have multiple units and you think you have any chance of franchising, getting this technology side and the information side done before even start the franchising process will likely get you ahead of the curve in a huge manner.
So, Jason, how do people find you?
Jason: Yeah. So, you can find us online at thepulsespot.com. That's T‑H‑E‑P‑U‑L‑S‑E‑S‑P‑O‑T.com. And you can also look me up on LinkedIn or look up our business on LinkedIn. We're on LinkedIn as well. Those would be some good spots to start.
And I have two things I'd like you to do. The first one is really important. So please, please, please, please, please, please, please go to wherever you listen to this podcast and give us an honest rating and review. If you love the show, say I love the show. If you hate the show, say I hate the show. But just do it, please, because it's really important for us.
And the second thing is, we have a thing, which I put together years and years ago. It kind of started off as a joke but it's become something that's very popular for folks to download. So, we have a periodic table of business elements. And what that is, it's a whole bunch of strategies that businesses can use to make their businesses more successful and, ultimately, more sustainable. It's really easy to get and it's free. You go to www.stage2planning.com/periodic. That's www.stage2planning.com/periodic and you'll have it in your inbox in just a few short seconds.
So, this is Josh Patrick. We're with Jason Case. You're at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You've been listening to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?”
If you've liked what you've heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 extension 102, or visit us on our website at www.sustainablebusiness.co, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.