While it may seem like a risky venture, research has shown that franchises with 10 or more company units show more success than those with fewer locations. The important factor is not the number of locations, but the multi site management structure that’s set in place.
If you are considering an expansion or are about to embark on becoming a multi-location business, read on for some important tips on keeping things on track.
The Challenges of Multi Site Management
To overcome any obstacle, it’s important to first know what challenges can arise. here are some common situations when expanding to a multi-location business that you’ll want to be aware of.
These issues may include:
Employees not receiving adequate attention
A decline in communication
Prolonged time on completing projects, due to teams being spread out
An “us vs. them” mentality among location employees
Poor supervision as a result of a lack of leadership
Creating Uniform Procedures
The first place you’ll want to start is by taking a look at your current procedures and seeing how adaptable they are in your new locations. More locations usually mean the development of new positions like managers and assistant managers, so there’s a good chance you’ll have to revise procedures from scratch.
You’ll want to be sure that your procedures are straightforward and not overly excessive. The more employees you have, the less you’ll want to worry about minor details, at least in the beginning. Focus more on procedures in regards to scheduling, handling money, and employee expectations.
Knowing What to Look for in Managers
If this is your first time expanding, it may be your first time hiring managers as well. Before opening up the position and holding interviews, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re looking for.
Managers with previous leadership experience should be a minimum requirement in this situation. You want to know how skilled the individual is at keeping team morale high. You also want a manager that’s comfortable with frequent communications.
Later on, we’ll go more into the importance of communication between locations. However, just know you’ll want to avoid an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality in your potential manager.
When it comes to managing a multi-location business, it’s never been more vital (or more difficult) to create clear communications between your businesses. You can avoid having issues arise by having clear communication methods in place from the get-go.
This can take place through an app like Whatsapp or Slack, through weekly or biweekly meetings, or even through email. The importance is that regular communication is a known priority for all locations.
A Strong Team Culture
The stronger your team culture, the lower employee turn over rate you’ll experience. You can achieve this by building strong relationships between teams that encourage working together in a positive mindset.
Some methods to build team relationships include conferences, executive coaching, and fun events. The more opportunities you have to bring multiple locations to one place, the stronger employee satisfaction will be within your business.
You’re not the only business owner searching for answers on managing multiple locations. As a result, a number of apps and programs have been introduced to simplify multi-location management.
These apps, platforms, and software programs can help cover multiple areas of your business. Some tech solutions will simplify keeping track of your inventory, while others can help you manage employee shifts.
You can use tools to manage and automate your multi-unit accounting. An added perk is the more business tasks you can have automated, the fewer employees you’ll need to hire.
Check the Reports
Trust is an important thing to have with your managers and employees. However, any smart business owner will tell you it’s best to rely on more than just trust. be sure that weekly email reports are a part of your business practices.
These reports should include costs, profit, employee performance, and any complaints or issues that may have occurred that week. The last thing you want is to find a location was experiencing issues long before you knew about it. Using benchmarks to measure your locations against each other is a great way to have more successful managers help ones that might be struggling, and create some healthy competition between locations.
Invest in Proper Training
To maintain employee expectations and have a uniform brand culture across locations, you’ll want to ensure that every employee undergoes the same quality of training.
This means having solid training procedures in place at all of your locations that can easily be applied to any level hire. If you can streamline this even further into an employee manual, video, or presentation you’ll know exactly what each employee was taught from the beginning.
Keep Global Challenges in Mind
If your multi-location expansion is happening on an international scale, it’s important to know that there will be additional challenges you’ll face. By being aware of them ahead of time you can set systems in place as a form of damage control.
Some issues that may occur for international locations include:
Cultural and Social Norms
Differences in Holiday Schedules
Internet Availability (and speeds)
Grow Your Knowledge
It’s important to remember that creating solid structures within multiple locations is not a one time practice. Stay ahead of the game by reading books from successful entrepreneurs, taking online classes, and attending industry conferences.
Since new technology is being introduced on a daily basis, subscribe to a relevant blog or podcast to stay in the loop.
Facing the Growing Pains
Every expanding business faces growing pains. However, getting your multi-site management procedures down early on could ultimately save your business.
We strongly suggest examining all of your resources ahead of time to create a system that can grow along with your business. It’s also important to learn as you go. Experience is a great teacher, and if you find new structures need to be set into place as you go, adapt accordingly.
You can always start by getting your accounting in order using Ceterus, we specialize in multi-unit franchisees and have a full accounting solution, including franchise and industry specific accountants plus an app built specifically for multi-unit businesses. You can learn more by contacting us today.