Tips on Becoming a Multi-Unit Franchisee!

Posted by Jim Otto

multiunit.jpgAsk almost anyone who has opened their own franchise business, and they'll tell you that success rarely happens overnight! Building your store into a thriving business sometimes takes a healthy financial commitment, as well as patience, perseverance and of course - hard work! But after you've opened your first store, should you consider opening another? What about three or four? Or 25? In the world of franchising, with hard work and setting goals, you can achieve these dreams. But understandably, you have to make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew! 

While many franchisees may be perfectly happy with achieving success through opening one franchise location, opening multiple units requires certain abilities which may catch some people by surprise. For example, a franchisee will find that it's a completely different ball game managing multiple units. It's not like it was when they only had one store to worry about! Now, with many moving parts and employees to manage, a franchisee will need to step into a role more like that of a CEO (with managers, human resources and accounting staff to help grow the business). In other words, it'll be a lot more difficult and stressful to try to micro-manage every detail when multiple units are owned. This is where hiring the right people and trusting them to help you grow with multiple units is extremely important when pursuing this path. And sure, under a multi-unit model your employees might not do it exactly the way you would have done it, but as long as it's delivering the results, don't sweat it.  If you can get an employee to do it 80% of the way you would have - you have a great employee!

Additionally, a franchisee considering opening another store should make sure that they're not just falling prey to a "bigger is better" mentality. Because if a franchisee has opened 4 locations and 2 are losing money, it may end up being less profitable than having one or two stores that they're much more able to capably manage and grow - and ultimately make even more money than they would have made with 4 locations. Without the right systems in place for multi-unit ownership, it can become really difficult for one person to manage the growth of numerous locations, and the great customer service or experience that was once provided with just one or two stores might be an unfortunate casualty.

Location is another factor to consider when owning multiple units. Of course establishing a business in the right area to maximize profits is always key. But it's also good to be aware that the farther apart your franchise locations are from each other, the more challenging it might become to manage properly. Not only that, but distance might impact how much shipping or delivery of retail from your warehouse costs, which could cut into profit margins as well. 

And then there's those unexpected emergencies that might happen when you own more than one store. For example, what happens if one of the stores you've opened is located in a great area, but road construction for several months impacts the flow of customers? Because of this, it's sometimes a good idea to make sure that you have multiple ways to support the business in case of those scenarios that temporarily causes a dip in your profits. To illustrate this concept, consider a business owner who owns several book stores. In order to diversify incomes for unexpected financial situations, this owner also sells books online, hosts school book fairs, and perhaps works as a small publisher for local authors.

In the end, there's sure to be a lot of other valuable decisions to think about before investing the time, energy and monetary resources into multi-unit development. But with careful research, networking with other multiunit franchisees, and attending workshops or conferences, those business owners interested in the potential that this exciting avenue of franchising represents will be better equipped for whatever comes down the road!

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