How to Add Multiple Business Locations
To add multiple business locations, without chaos erupting at the various locations, you need standardization! Specifically, you need well-written documents compiled into an operations manual, showing how multiple location organization works.
Without written standards, a business with multiple locations will face errors, miscommunication and employee turnover; customers leaving and never returning, etc. Consequently, this will leave management wondering what happened to their successful growing business. In addition, management may scratch their heads and reminisce about how well it was working with just ONE location!”
Although the original location is running well, as complexity multiplies, so goes non-conformance. In fact, non-conformance that causes chaos grows exponentially.
The reason this happens with multiple location businesses is the original business location was NEVER a turnkey operation; never FRANCHISE-READY. This is due to the fact that written step-by-step processes, defining how the business operates from opening until closing, were not implemented. No one took the time to write it all down.
This is not rocket science!
Franchise-Ready, the Goal of Multiple Business Locations
A corporate logo, employee uniforms, and a few processes standardized at all the locations, doesn’t make a business franchise-ready. Moreover, great franchises have well-defined, standardized processes by which their franchisees operate. In addition, they compile the written processes into a continually updated Operations Manual.
Most importantly, if there are gaps in the step-by-step, written operational processes, the multi-location organization will begin to breakdown. Therefore, the more locations, the greater the dysfunction! As the old adage says, “The bigger they are, the harder they fall!”
The Original Location Must Operate Flawlessly
To solve a breakdown in the system, the original location must be able to operate flawlessly, without owners having to be on-site. Once you accomplish flawless execution in the main location, the business can move forward with franchising or multi-location efforts. Again, the most crucial step is documenting into a written operations manual, how this smooth-running business operates. It’s tedious, but you may create a “golden goose” that just keeps bringing the gold, without you being onsite!
We strongly recommend you rent the video or go see the movie called, “The Founder.” It’s about how McDonald’s became the world-wide franchise it is today.
Most Business Software Doesn’t Cover the Bases for Organization
Today, with all the technology available, you would assume businesses could easily obtain software that would solve their frustrations. However, this is not the case, because most software, designed for small businesses, do things like, track jobs, service or point-of-sale, etc. Furthermore, control systems that ensure correct performance of business operations, including the use of software itself, do not exist. For example, processes like quality and service control, daily routine checklists and many other control systems used for smooth operation.
Many software solutions lack the necessary features to completely ORGANIZE a business. However, to be fair, there are some EPR software that have many excellent features; although, most are NOT affordable for many small businesses. For this reason, most businesses resort to manual, paper-type systems or an array of simple apps. Therefore, the result is poor management practices, due to lack of written operational processes.
As an owner or manager, reflect for a minute on the daily tasks you must accomplish to keep your business running. Moreover, consider ALL the other people in your business, and their daily routine tasks, needing fulfillment to keep the business operating.
Obviously, this only scratches the surface of all processes needed to operate even a small business; much less, at the level of a large Franchise Business.
DON’T FAINT, this is doable!
You Can Do It | It’s Not Endless | We Did It!
In summary, on and on it goes, but it’s NOT ENDLESS and it’s NOT HOPELESS.
Therefore, writing down step-by-step processes of how each aspect of a business operates is the starting point. Moreover, when writing the processes, you begin to see how they integrate with each other. As a result, you see where the holes/gaps are in your overall SYSTEM. This is when hope starts becoming reality!
Therefore, once you have a complete operations manual of how a business operates, you have the KEY for adding location after location. As a result, it only takes a little tweaking and updating the system from time to time, to keep multiple business locations operating at their peak.
Ultimately, these written integrated processes are “The System” of how a business operates.
Did I mention? Great Systems WORK!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.