Gravit-e Blog

November 06, 2014

8 Major Benefits Of Custom Software For Franchises

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Franchising is one of the best ways to build your brand and grow your business quickly. However, just because you qualify to sell franchises doesn’t mean you will find buyers.  Becoming a successful franchisor involves making many thoughtful decisions early on to distinguish your business from competitors.  

 

Why should someone buy a franchise from you rather than start their own business from scratch?

 

How do you create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

 

If you’re a relatively new franchise and don’t have much brand recognition your business model, processes, and intellectual property will be what attracts buyers.  Having strong business software that is tailored to your unique business practices can be an integral part of your franchise strategy.

 

Benefits of Custom Software For Franchises:

 

  • Any software built for your business is your intellectual property. When someone buys a franchise they get access to your business software.  If your business is using commercial software that can easily be bought by anyone then there is nothing differentiating your technology from that of your competitors.

  • Your unique business software becomes part of your USP, allowing you to attract more franchise opportunities.

  • Custom software makes it easier for your franchisees to replicate your business processes and business model. At the same time it makes it more difficult for franchisees to replicate your business should they decide to venture out on their own.

  • Custom software contributes to the overall success of each franchise by ensuring employees are working with the most efficient systems possible.

  • You can maintain a birdseye view of all of your franchises. Custom software can provide you with real-time monitoring.

  • Custom software collects the data you deem important rather than being limited to the data capture of a software vendor. Pooling this data helps you gain important insights and spot trends in your business.

  • Custom software is designed to fit your business needs without excess features or lacking any components.

  • Custom franchise software is designed to scale with you.  Meaning you don’t have to overhaul your software systems if you find yourself going from 1 to 5 or 5 to 50 franchisees.

 

With over 76,000 franchise locations operating within Canada alone, it’s important to make your franchising opportunity stand out from the rest.  Ensuring your business software is cutting edge is an essential in today’s marketplace.

 

October 27, 2014

Financing A Startup In British Columbia

Startup-BC-financing

Do you have a great idea for a new business but are lacking the funds to put your ideas into action? Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.  Beyond personal savings, family, and friends there are many options for financing your startup in British Columbia.  Here is some information to get you started:

 

Small Business Loans

Attaining a small business loan can be difficult as Canadian banks are typically conservative and startups are frequently deemed high risk. Banks are not the only place to look for a small business loan:

 

Canadian Small Business Financing Program

Helps new and established businesses get up to $500,000 in financing.  You can apply at any bank or credit union in Canada.

 

BDC Market Expansion Financing

This loan is designed for established businesses looking to fund their growth.  You can receive up to $250,000 if you qualify.

 

BDC Startup Financing Program

Startups and businesses in the early growth phase may be eligible for a loans up to $100,000.

 

Community Loan Funds

Community Investment Funds are non-profit organizations dedicated to helping people who can’t get the loans they need from traditional sources due to insufficient credit history or collateral.  Loans range from $2000-$150,000.  Community Futures British Columbia helps BC residents start or buy a business. 

 

Industry Specific Funding

There are funds across Canada and within British Columbia that offer industry specific funding such as the AgriInnovation Program and BC Hydro’s Product Incentive Program

 

Funding For Young Entrepreneurs

There are several programs that focus on helping young entrepreneurs (typically age 30 and under) start successful businesses. One such program is Futurpreneur Canada, a non-profit organization which helps aspiring business owners aged 18 through 39 through mentoring, coaching, and financing of up to $45,000. 

 

Small Business Funding For Minority Groups

If you belong to one of many of Canada's recognized minority groups you may qualify for unique grants and loans.  Here are a few examples of the funding available to Canadian minorities:

Aboriginal Business Entrepreneurship Development (ABED) 

This is a program run by the Government of Canada that provides Canadians of Aboriginal heritage with business funding in the form of non-repayable grants. An individual may receive up to $99,000 while a community owned business may receive up to 250,000.

 

First Citizen’s Fund

If you are a Aboriginal resident of BC you may be eligible for a business loan of up to $75,000.

 

Coast Opportunity Funds 

This program provides funding to First Nations communities whose projects have a positive environmental or social impact.  

 

Entrepreneurs With Disabilities Program

This program offers mentoring, counselling, and training to entrepreneurs with disabilities.  In some locations business loans are offered as well.

 

Womens Enterprise Resource Centre BC

Provides women with up to $100,000 to start, purchase, or grow a business in BC.

 

Business Accelerators and Incubators

Business incubators and accelerators are programs designed to promote the successful development of entrepreneurial companies. This is accomplished by providing business resources and services and access to business contacts. Some of them may even provide funding in return for equity.  The British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC) has published an article on their blog that thoroughly outlines the many business incubators throughout BC.

 

Angel Investors 

Angel investors are individuals looking to fund small businesses and startups that they consider to be viable investments.  They are typically looking for a higher return on investment than other investment options, such as the stock market, would offer.  They usually like to play an active role in the business itself and take some equity, which can be very beneficial given the right match. 

 

Venture Capital

Venture capital is money provided by investors to fund a business deemed to have ong-term growth potential.  You can typically get more funding from VCs than you would Angel Investors, though the funding is harder to obtain.  In addition they typically like to play a major role in company decisions and take a significant amount of equity, There are many venture capital firms throughout British Columbia.  If you plan to pitch your business to VCs be sure to be prepared with all your ducks in a row.

 

Apply and Gain Insight

As you can see there are many options for financing your business.  Even if you don’t plan on using a particular form of financing, such as a bank loan, going through the process of applying can provide useful insights into your business and help you steer towards success.  Finding out why and why not banks and investors would choose to finance your business can provide you with constructive criticism from business experts. 

 

Further Resources

A Complete List Of Government Grants Across Canada

 

Financing Your Startup Beyond Family, Friends, and Fools

 

Small Business BC’s Overview of Government Financing

 

 

 

October 15, 2014

How Custom Software Improves Job Satisfaction

Job-satisfaction

How your employees feel about their work permeates your entire business. Keeping your employees happy will increase retention, morale and productivity, and will lead to better customer service. 

New software is introduced to solve problems, but it can create more work if it forces your employees to adapt to the software. By choosing a custom software solution that fits your business, you can improve job satisfaction, and save time and money.

 

Ease Frustrations

Using software that doesn’t match your business needs is cumbersome and your employees will inevitably become frustrated. Custom software improves workflow, allowing your staff to focus on the job, rather than the logistics of workplace technology. 

 

Reduce Redundancy

How often do your employees handle the same information? Do they have to manually enter the same data over and over again? Custom software can minimize data entry by integrating your commercial software systems so they communicate or adding functionality to your current software, or you can build an application that handles data precisely as you need.

 

Decrease Training Time

With new technology comes a learning curve for your employees. You may need multiple commercial software programs, and your employees will require training for each program. Training is costly and time consuming, particularly for smaller businesses with leaner staffs. Because custom software is tailored for your business, it is easier to learn and use. This will decrease training time and save you a lot of money and wasted effort.

 

Improve Help and Support

Not every business has the luxury of a large information technology department. If you’re a small business owner, your IT team may be one staff member or non-existent. As a result you become dependent on commercial software vendors for support, which can lead to long wait times and varying support quality.  

 

When working with a software development company like Gravit-e, you can expect a high level of support. We are available 24/7 to help with any issues and can quickly solve problems with our custom products. When we build custom software solutions we take the time to understand exactly what your needs are, and continue to host and maintain your applications after they have been implemented.

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