Not every entrepreneur starts a small business. Many opt to buy and help grow an existing franchise instead of starting from scratch. There are a lot of benefits to franchising, as branding, marketing, product research, and other costly processes are already taken care of by the corporation.

Even as a franchise owner, it’s important to treat each individual franchise as your own small business. There’s still hiring, firing, payroll, inventory, local marketing, and other important duties to take care of. While the corporation may have you covered, the only way to guarantee your business is properly listed online is to verify it yourself.

Claiming a Franchise Online

Luckily, we at Connectivity are experts at growing businesses and brands online. Claiming your business online is just one of many ways franchisees can build an online following. It’s also the most important.

Claiming a business online literally puts it on the map. Registering with Yelp for Business Owners, Google My Business, Foursquare for Business, and Apple Maps Connect makes it visible from the large majority of mapping applications widely used throughout the world.

All it takes is registering with each site and filling out the forms with all the proper business information. Linking to the corporate website, listing business hours, and putting a name to the address makes a business easy to find. Google provides a good breakdown of who should list themselves that’s in-line with what the other services look for.

Franchisees often benefit from a corporate website with SEO taken care of on the corporate side. Claiming a franchise location on mapping programs simply ensures the specific location benefits from the overall branding effort.

Claiming Multiple Franchises or Locations

Many of these services also allow bulk uploads, which is helpful for people who own multiple locations of the same franchise or even multiple franchises. These services are also used by corporate representatives in order to mass update everyone at once, keeping the brand looking credible and efficient.

Bulk uploads are accomplished by uploading a spreadsheet file in .csv, .xls, or .txt format. Google and Apple allow bulk uploads for free, but Yelp and Foursquare charge a premium for the feature.

Avoiding Duplicate or Conflicting Entries

One of the downsides of being a franchisee is the corporation may decide to change a policy and take over claiming locations online in order to streamline the process. Some franchises also operate in a manner in which they rebrand existing businesses, so the original branding may already be claimed for the business location.

Conflicts like this are exactly what claiming a business online is designed to alleviate. So long as the new party updating the information can verify ownership, Google, Apple, Yelp, and Foursquare’s algorithms should automatically overwrite the existing entry, though manual intervention may be necessary.

If necessary, delete the older entry so customers aren’t seeing outdated information that may cause them to shop at your competitor.

These conflicts are a manual process because multiple businesses can often use the same address in a shared workspace. This is seen in restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, and even banks and other services within grocery and department stores. Warehouses and other worksites are often shared in the industrial sector as well.

So long as the franchisee and corporation understand what’s expected of each other and openly communicate, there shouldn’t be any issues with conflicting information. Though the corporation often takes care of streamlined marketing, things can slip through the cracks. Don’t risk letting your franchise get passed over because it wasn’t claimed online.