When it comes to running a business, organization is central to productivity and overall efficiency.
This is especially true when you’re running multiple locations.
While you may have gotten away with a certain degree of disorganization as a small business, this sort of thing doesn’t work when it comes to running multiple locations.
Managing a business from one location is already difficult enough, but managing multiple locations adds a whole other dimension to the mix.
Those additional locations are symbolic of business growth and a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t negate the fact that more effort, or at least a different way of doing things, will be necessary when running a couple of different branches.
A business owner always has to master the skill of pivoting and that’s especially true as you go on to own multiple locations.
This blog post will take a look at some tips to successfully run your business from multiple locations.
1. Build Strong Management
Hiring is a leading challenge for CEOs; however, it is also partly a skill that can be developed with time and experience.
Effective hiring ultimately comes down to developing a strong company culture and then asking the right questions to ensure that candidates are a good fit for your company.
The point here is that this is a skill that will serve you well when it comes to managing multiple locations. You have to put your trust in a few key people to oversee what you can’t. This is the first step. Detailed job descriptions will be important here.
Your business has to run effectively without you.
That means that management has to be capable of making key decisions without you.
Every successful business person knows that business success comes with delegating – passing some of the reins over to the most capable people. Entrepreneurs get themselves into a lot of trouble when they take on too much.
When you have two locations, doing things yourself is no longer feasible.
2. Establish Standard Operating Procedures
When it comes to running a business from multiple locations, having standard operating procedures is essential. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, it puts your team on the right track. Standard procedures allow your business to run like a well-oiled machine; behind the scenes, your business should function exactly like a fast food chain.
Here are some essential tips for writing standard operating procedures.
By this, we meant that regardless of the location, things should be done the same way. This is also important for your customers. It ensures that customers can expect the same level of customer service and experience regardless of the location.
It is this sort of consistency that allows you to grow your brand. It doesn’t mean that every location should a carbon copy of the other (in fact, that’s not the case at all).
It just means that establishing standard procedures – especially for the most important aspects of your business – will allow your team to function before efficiently while also delivering a consistent customer experience and experience at the same time.
When it comes to owning multiple locations, it is important to think about ensuring your brand is visible in both locations.
Ultimately, your brand is what holds your businesses together, so it is imperative that you reflect on whether or not you’re delivering a consistent brand experience. This is why establishing standard operating procedures is so important.
3. Utilize Weekly Progress Reports
Weekly progress reports give you the hard data to actually evaluate how your business is doing in very concrete terms.
Progress reports hold everyone accountable; they allow you to set goals, identify areas of the business that may need extra attention and so on. They also allow you to measure performance across both locations.
The key in all of this, however, is to actually make a point to evaluate the progress reports. If they become an additional administrative task but they are not being acted upon, the reports will be futile.
Also keep in mind that progress reports shouldn’t be a timely task for your employees. Ensure that they are quick but practical – they give you the data you need. There are effective progress reports and progress reports that are not so effective.
4. Have Weekly Meetings With Managers
A central aspect of running a business with multiple locations is maintaining strong lines of communication.
This is accomplished through several different means: weekly progress reports, weekly meetings with managers and, as you will see below, visiting both locations on a regular basis.
Weekly meetings (or whatever is feasible given your schedule) will keep you in the loop and keep everyone accountable.
Your meetings don’t need to be lengthy (in fact, the best meetings never are), but by committing to a weekly meeting from the beginning, you are essentially committing to strong lines of communication.
Again, efficient meetings are especially important when you are running multiple locations. A great way to streamline your meetings even further is by making use of various online voice call software like Skype.
Also having a checklist of items to discuss at each meeting so that the meeting is much more efficient is also a good idea.
5. Visit All Locations Regularly
By this point, you know that effective communication is essential for running multiple locations. The third part of this is by making a point to visit all locations on a regular basis. Again, this ensures that everyone is accountable.
It shows employees that you care about both branches by visibly taking an active role.
It also gives you the opportunity to examine how things are functioning first-hand.
6. Run Your Business From the Cloud
In terms of the logistics of managing multiple locations, running those businesses from the cloud is key. Storing all of your data in the cloud allows you to run your business from wherever you are.
What you store will vary depending on the nature of your business, but some examples here include inventory management, customer relationship management, HR or business management softwares like Yocale.
Ultimately, running your businesses from the cloud allows you to maintain a sense of control at all times, which is important when you have to be in two places at once.
7. Negotiate For Lower Prices With Suppliers
When you own multiple locations, you are now in a position to negotiate for lower prices from your suppliers/vendors.
Bulk discounts, for example, could be applied to your phone and Internet services or even office supplies. Look into shared services wherever possible.
Keep in mind that your overhead costs should usually go down when you open multiple locations.
8. Have Company-Wide Training Sessions Throughout the Year
Training sessions can look different, but they all have the same goal: to advance all employees and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
A benefit of holding training sessions throughout the year is that employees can collaborate on the best practices that are working for their particular location. These practices can be applied to the secondary branch so that a consistent brand experience is achieved.
9. Host Company-Wide Functions (Build Relationships)
Managerial relationships play a leading role in creating engaged employees – employees who are involved, enthusiastic about the future of the business and are willing to do more.
Extensive research shows that the one way you can create engaged employees is by making them feel valued – again, a task entirely in the hands of managers.
Sure, your managers will have an important role, but it is also important for owners to also make employees feel valued.
There are many ways to make employees feel valued, but it largely comes down to developing rapport – a task much more difficult when it comes to running multiple locations.
That’s why hosting work gatherings or team building exercises throughout the year can be a great way to develop those relationships and show that employees are valued. It’s also a way for employees at other locations to meet one another as well.
The Bottom Line
Organization is the foundation for running multiple locations effectively. This is what allows you to deliver a consistent brand experience and, ultimately, grow your business.
Examples here include establishing standard operating procedures, monitoring progress reports and committing to weekly meetings with key personnel.
Strong communication is another central pillar of running multiple locations. But, again, it is organization that makes this possible.
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