5 tips for multi-site franchise management

Kate Elizabeth — 26th March 2019

Successful franchise networks with sustainable and successful business models naturally encourage franchisees to become multi-site franchisees. These franchisees benefit because they understand the business and can scale in and around their original territory, or even in entirely different regions.

Becoming a multi-site franchisee doesn't happen by magic; it takes some next level planning and commitment to the company. We have five tips for multi-site franchise management.

1. Understand the subtle differences

While the business' brand promise remains the same across the whole network, there are subtle differences to your offer and positioning in different locations and regions. We really do mean subtle - much of your offer will be the same, but the price might alter, or perhaps your stock mix or stock turn rate is different.

Take time to understand these differences.

If your second, third or fourth site is greenfield, apply what you know concerning your current store/s and the market to take your best approximation of the right mix, and then iterate from there.

If your new site/s are already in the network, use the existing data to deeply understand what works and where you would like to see improvement.

2. Empower your instore team

With a multi-site setup, the chances are you have at least one store with a manager in place.

Ensure your teams in each store understand your expectations, how to deliver results and what autonomy they have. The last thing you, they, or your customers want, is for your team to have to call to check something or ask for your approval for what should be a simple situation.

Yes, empowerment is established through trust, but be a person who builds trust quickly, and easily and both you and your instore teams will benefit.

3. Decide how to run and split your LAM marketing budget

While you are establishing new stores, you might find it appropriate to increase the proportion of revenue you allocate to your local area marketing (LAM) budget.

Understand that different stores might need a different marketing mix - letterbox drops might work in one area but be unavailable in other areas, you might have a very loyal and digital savvy market in one store and another store with more competition around it might need additional offers or marketing presence.

Plan your marketing mix and budget at least six months in advance, in response to the national marketing calendar, and use your instore team to execute the plan - don't do all the heavy lifting by yourself. Your instore teams will also be able to provide feedback about the success and positioning of the marketing.

4. Nail reporting and visibility

Start as you mean to go on. As you grow your multi-site presence know what metrics are important to revenue, profit, cash flow, loyalty and repeat business and set up reports accordingly. Visibility into these key metrics will help empower your team and will allow you to make sensible iterative decisions on marketing and sales strategy.

Daily and weekly reporting in high-volume businesses is an absolute must - and don't just receive the automated reports and not do a deeper dive into the data. Encourage your team each week to make suggestions about altering the strategy or operational plan based on the reports and their visibility through your team.

5. Understand your full sales cycle

Sales happen, certainly, but across your multi-site franchise domain, understand the full sales cycle - from research and awareness through to advocacy. There will be subtle differences between stores, but collectively you have the opportunity to implement a strong customer experience and lifecycle across all of your sites, and create efficiencies when doing so.

Map the full current customer journey, make iterations where you need to and then roll out the journey, expectations and tools across your mini-network. This universal implementation ensures that no matter which of your locations a customer is in, they receive the same experience and word spreads about high quality, consistent, customer-centric service.

Multi-site franchise management takes planning, hard work, the right tools and stable finances and there is a lot of upside when handled well.

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