Looking in the mirror: Are you ready for multiple ownership?


Successfully shifting from a single to a multi-unit operator depends largely on your personality and personal issues:

  • Are you a team player?  The more units you own, the more staff you’ll need, including some in managerial positions.  Be sure you can handle coaching a much bigger team.  Be sure that you are able to give up some decision making to employees whom you have hired, trained and trust.
  • Are you an operator or a manager?  It’s easy to say that you want 50 stores; it’s another thing to understand what it takes to manage that many.  Single-unit owners worry about opening the business in the morning, taking care of the events of the day, and closing at night.  As a single-unit owner, you might be used to greeting your customers, training your employees, and taking care of many of the hands-on tasks yourself.  Become a multi-unit franchisee, and you’re forced to be even more of a manager.  You’ll have to build and rely on a support organization.
  • Can you delegate responsibility?  No questions, it’s tough to let go; after all, the franchise is your baby.   Being in two places at once is impossible, so you must develop staff and delegate responsibilities – comfortably.  You’ll probably spend a lot of time nurturing each new unit, and then focus your attention- more or less-on your other franchises as different issues arise.
  • Are you organized?  You’ll have to be.  You might be at a construction site on Tuesday morning and a staff meeting at your existing location in the afternoon.  Assuming responsibility over different locations, with different problems and somewhat different obligations, will make you feel like a juggler sometimes.  Depending on the number of units, you’ll have to set up internal support systems, such as hiring a general manager, bookkeeper, and administrative support staff to free up your time to let you handle more than one location.
  • Is the timing right?  Look at your personal life, and determine whether you can devote time to another project and still maintain your desired lifestyle.
  • Do any family members want to get involved?   Perhaps your spouse wants in.   Perhaps you want your children to earn their own gas money, with an eye on succession.
  • Do you think big?  If you do, you probably won’t be content with a solitary site for very long.  But you also have to know your limitations.  You have to be able to expand, not just want to expand.