Volano and the SaaS Model

March 3, 2014
Our Heads are in the Cloud
Our Heads are in the Cloud

Volano has and will always be a custom software consultant. But like many project-based businesses, we want to diversify our revenue stream to ensure long term, bottom line growth and sustainability. Developing software that customers can lease on a monthly basis or software as a service (SaaS) is an area where we have invested a lot of time and resources. While we continue to market and sell the most efficient and cost-effective workflow management solution on the market, Steelwool, we are starting to make ourselves known in the Franchise Industry with our latest mobile app, Action Card.

Volano returned from the pre-Mardis Gras festivities of New Orleans and the IFA Convention with some great takeaways and marching orders. The value of the convention cannot be understated. Between time on the convention supplier floor, break-out sessions, roundtable discussions, networking coffees, dinners and after hours talks, we were glad we made the decision to showcase our mobile brand standards review tool. Here are a few things we learned about the market fit and viability of Action Card, our brand standards mobile review tool.

Protect Your Brand

I sat in on a business roundtable discussion lead by the Vice President of Operations at the UPS Stores, Jim Hillquist. Since Action Card was built to help streamline the site review process, I wanted to listen to what franchisors and Jim had to say on that topic. He asked the group which consisted primarily of franchisors what the most important outcome of their site visits was. Answers ranged from relationship building to revenue generation. The answer he gave was “protect your brand.” James has thirty years of experience with UPS Stores and is responsible for over 3,000 nationwide locations. Whether the issues had to do with compliance and legal liability or simply the importance of following a proven model at each location for the sake of all of the franchisees who bought into a brand, it was agreed that the review process was critical to the integrity of the franchise brand.

Find the Right Franchisee

Dave Buzza, the Chief Development Officer with Alphagraphics wears a couple of hats, both recruiting good franchise owners and then managing their success. He discussed the three types of franchisees; the willing and able, the willing and unable and the unwilling and unable. Each required a different management style and protocol. Dave stated that since he has to ‘live with who he recruits,’ finding the right owners and screening them carefully is where brand standardization and success begins. Alphagraphics does not plan on seeing a return on investment from new owners for five years. The key reason for this is the shear amount of capital and resources devoted to recruiting (not selling) the right franchisees.

What Does Action Card Need to Do Next?

Based on feedback from our clients, prospects and brand experts with whom we spoke, we’ve decided to add some new features to Action Card.

Volano forecast a modest 50 clients utilizing Action Card by the end of 2014. There is a great need in the franchise space for tools that help not only ensure brand standards but that facilitate collaboration and good will between the franchisor and the franchisee. We’re excited to continue working with our franchise partners.