SHARING IS CARING
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Sharing info helps franchisees grow, says a franchisor who switched to MYOB online accounting
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Sacha Coburn of Coffee Culture: 'Our franchisees are asking us better questions than they did before'
Sacha Coburn of Coffee Culture believes in plain speaking – and when she speaks, she’s worth listening to.
‘Franchisees without good bookkeepers spend far too much time out in the back office – but the money is made out the front. That’s why in every café we build, we’ve made the office smaller and smaller. After 18 stores, there’s room for a laptop and not much more. The good news is that, with MYOB, that’s all franchisees need.’
Coffee Culture started in Sumner in 1996 and now operates throughout the South Island, with one store north of the Cook Strait. ‘Our philosophy is, “Make a dollar, make a difference,” says Sacha. ‘That’s why we started franchising: we can make a huge difference in the lives of our franchisees and they can make a real difference in their local communities. We teach franchisees how to run a successful coffee shop and, after years of hard work, that business can be worth over half a million dollars.’
Teaching people to run a café is one thing – teaching them to run a profitable business is another, which is why the Coffee Culture team puts a strong emphasis on financial management. ‘Hospitality is a fast-paced industry so if something’s not quite right, the problems can mount up really quickly,’ Sacha points out. ‘We’re unusual in that an arm of the franchisor company actually does the bookkeeping for our franchisees, but if they don’t get figures until 20 days after the month’s end, it’s too late to fix any issues. MYOB online accounting gave us a solution that not only improved franchisees’ access to the key numbers in real time but also helped them understand what the figures actually meant so they could take immediate action.’
The results have been everything Coffee Culture hoped for. ‘Using MYOB helps franchisees improve their knowledge of their business. They are asking us better questions than they did before – they want to understand, because they want to make the best possible decisions. It’s also helped them analyse all the little things that add up to have a big impact on the bottom line. For example, they might have 20 staff and if they give them all $15-worth of food every day, it makes a difference. Or if a delivery slip shows (and you’re charged for) 200 lettuces rather than 20, you’re much more likely to pick it up at the time rather than 6 weeks later.
‘MYOB also makes it easy to share crucial information with others. They can share lots of info with their young team because those 17-year-olds are the future leaders and they are in a position to make a difference. If someone makes an error and orders 300 custard squares instead of 30, people might say, “Oh well, mistakes happen, everyone take some home and we’ll give the rest away.” But if everyone can see how that affects the business, then they all pull together to sell the 300 custard squares instead. That makes a big difference to the bottom line.’
Although Coffee Culture was already familiar with MYOB’s accounting software, making the switch to online accounting was ‘surprisingly straightforward,’ according to Sacha. ‘We used our regular franchisee workshops and meetings to encourage franchisees to predict challenges and suggest solutions. The main concern was learning to drive the software and how to find the info they needed, but they soon overcame that. Some like the comfort of a big stack of paper, but they can still print things out for checking if they like – although I think that’s happening less and less.
‘The other concern was from people who didn’t want their internet speeds to be compromised by having to do their accounting on-line – after all, lots of places still can’t get fibre. But, unlike other online accounting programs, MYOB allows you to work off-line and then synch with the online data when it suits. That way, you get all the benefits of integration with your bank accounts, the IRD, secure back-up and so on, without worrying about internet speeds. All of our franchisees converted within a couple of years and it’s clear the benefits of change outweighed any short-term pain. Thanks a million, MYOB!’
Lauren Taylor, the Franchise Business Development Manager for MYOB, has many years’ experience integrating software and reporting systems into businesses both in New Zealand and overseas.
‘I understand the pain points for small business in introducing new technology, and I have to say that Coffee Culture’s experience of moving to MYOB online accounting is typical. It’s much more straightforward than you expect and it’s so adaptable that you can really use the information it provides to drive your business forward – both at franchisor and franchisee level.
‘MYOB online accounting and the available add-ons can automatically do things franchisees are currently struggling with, from accounting to payroll. We can even provide step-by-step training to help franchisees get the best out of their accounting system.
‘If you want greater transparency, better benchmarking, increased sales and improved margins for franchisees and franchisor alike, give me a call.’
See this advertorial on page 57 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 26 Issue 4
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