Multi-unit franchise management made easy

Careful planning can help limit the stress that comes with running multiple franchises.

Running a single franchise can prove to be a sizeable challenge. Franchise management becomes even more difficult when multiple units are involved, but the potential rewards entice many franchisees to expand past their first store. Thankfully, owners can mitigate the rigors of owning a multi-unit franchise business by developing new leadership strategies.

Take advantage of technology
The right communication devices will greatly simplify the task of connecting employees across multiple locations. Managers can host online meetings with ease by connecting desktops to online meeting host services. This strategy helps to ease communication between store managers without forcing employees to meet across town. In addition, franchisees will find it easier to communicate new company policies or mission statements if managers are able to faithfully attend leadership meetings.

Managers can also simplify their multi-unit workflow by investing in franchise management software. These programs combine the functionality of programs like Excel and Outlook into a single, seamless interface. Software solutions allow franchisees to eliminate much of the tedious data entry tasks that are common among managers tracking their accounts through Windows Office programs.

Finally, franchisees can benefit from becoming more adept at social media. A company can use Facebook, for example, to build community between stores and spread news about company events. Managers can also use Facebook as a medium for connecting directly to employees and learning more about their lifestyles. User reviews are also an important technology tool for multi-unit managers. These impassioned reviews can serve as red flags warning that a franchise location that needs extra attention.

Lean on your support network
Running a single franchise on your own is hard. The task of managing multiple units without help is nearly impossible. That's why it's vital for multi-unit managers to make use of their franchisors' resources, says Entrepreneur. Tools and strategies provided by franchisors are vetted solutions that can help to limit the difficulties of operating several stores. Franchisees are also encouraged to connect with fellow managers running more than one location. The insight provided by an experienced veteran can help a franchisee make major headway on their biggest problems.

Keep your spirits high
A good attitude is key to success in multi-unit management, notes Franchising. One important factor in maintaining a good attitude is setting realistic expectations. Franchisees should expect their anxiety levels to increase as they take on more stores and responsibility, for example. Passion for a brand will help franchisees to break through the added stress of managing multiple locations. Managers can also keep their spirits high by investing more time and energy into employee training. A talented, motivated staff is the best facilitator of a manager's relaxation time.