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.