Managing The Changes That Come With Multi-Unit Growth
Growth is not only about driving more profit, it's also about building a portfolio of locations, and to many, a diversity of brands. In the beginning, it is very easy to devote all your time to the first location. But before you know it you are on to your second. You find you are able to split your time between the two and still run the operations as you wish. It's when you move into the third, fourth, and so on that you start to notice a change. Multiple locations for franchisees offer extreme opportunity, but without a growth plan, multi-unit and multi-brand ownership creates challenges to performance.
One of the biggest challenges is analyzing how you sustain growth, while also looking for continued expansion without killing yourself trying to be everything to every location, brand, or business unit. Regardless of the size or diversity of your business, when you look at your strategic plan in terms of where you would like to be, there are key questions that need answering to ensure you can support, sustain, and continue to grow, such as:
- At what level do you need to consider a CFO, controller, or regional managers?
- How do you attract and retain the best talent across multiple locations?
- Are your IT, marketing, and legal resources capable of supporting growth?
- Are you prepared to transition from working in your business to working on your business?
Without a talent recruitment and retention program, growth often results in diluting your talent pool among multiple stores. The net result is usually twice the work for the same profits. Here is where having a defined strategic plan in place will help you overcome these challenges before they become issues. Taking the time to define why you want to grow is a critical step in the process. Most entrepreneurs simply seek good deals, more profit, and notoriety. While these are great motivators for short-term success, they are not enough for long-term sustainable growth. Having a long-term vision will help you determine which deals are right for you as growth opportunities present themselves.
Another critical area often overlooked is growing in your role as a leader/business owner by moving from a hands-on position into one with more oversight and delegation. As your organization grows, transitions, and morphs, how will your role as owner and leader transition and grow? What does that mean in terms of developing bench strength and leaders to assume roles in your organization that are strategically in your best interest to allow someone else to run. Ultimately, the best position for you as a leader may be transitioning from CEO to chairman, or some other role that allows your people to flourish while placing you in the most strategic position for personal fulfillment and organizational growth.
As the franchisee, your ability to stay focused on your strategic plan and leverage your resources (time, people, and money) efficiently is essential to competing in your market. The most compelling reason for you to focus on your strategic plan, in addition to growth, is that it keeps you focused and prepared in an environment of change. Overcoming challenges that can result from organizational growth can be relatively simple if you are proactive in your planning. The ability to be agile, flexible, and reactive when change and innovations are high, is invaluable to the future growth and long-term sustainability of your business.
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