Successful business leaders understand that succession planning entails developing strategies today to provide options and capitalize on opportunities when they occur. Taking your business from one to two units to 5, 10, 50-plus is a transitional process, requiring strong leadership, vision, talented people, and an inspiring, motivational culture. Owners and executives who have invested in succession planning already have options, know what they want, and are putting their growth strategies in place.
Our last article focused on strategies for growth; we discussed the importance of leadership development systems within your organization. After you have developed a training plan that will cultivate the leaders of your future franchises, you need to formulate rock-solid systems for your people to follow as the business grows. The magic of the franchise model is the processes and procedures established by the franchisor that allow you to duplicate and grow a business. You can use this same premise to develop your unique processes for opening successful units in your organization.
According to Aicha Bascaro, founder & CEO of the American Franchise Academy, to have a durable growth system, there are a few things that need to be defined:
- Location Selection – This is the most challenging and least known of the new unit opening processes. No matter what knowledge you have, what standards you look for, and how much analysis you do, you will never know – for sure – which is a “winning” location until you begin operations. However, you can get very close if you take the time to determine the winning elements for your existing business and brand. Also, the more units you open, the closer you will get to the “winning formula.”
- Unit Opening Process – Opening a unit has hundreds of small steps. Document those steps, and as you continue to open units, revise and expand upon it to create your “Growth Playbook.” Your playbook will allow you to reduce mistakes and improve the quality and speed of the opening process. After the lease is signed, every day you are not open for business, you are losing money.
- Staffing Readiness – While every unit requires the leaders to be ready, sometimes we underestimate the importance of a well-designed staffing and training plan. If we don’t start at the right time, it can delay the opening or dampen the first impression of the quality of the product or service. Start early. Do it well.
- Grand Opening Process – A unit opening process creates a seamless path towards effectively adding new units; however, it is an entirely different “animal” when you do the big push the last few days before opening. Planning those last few days/weeks very carefully will decide if the grand opening is a success or not. Make sure to not leave anything out of that detailed process, including the Grand Opening marketing plan that will announce to all your neighbors that you are ready to receive them.
Once you can clearly define the strategy for each of these systems, you’ll have the framework that you need to start expanding your multi-unit franchise operation. Keep in mind the critical term here is duplication, so ensuring that these strategies can be duplicated not just once but several times is the key to ensuring the success of your franchise operation unit after unit. Lastly, your first iteration of these strategies is not your end-all-be-all; these are meant to be refined as you learn from your experiences.
Growth is a transitional process because you are changing your company from now to where you want it to be tomorrow. For example, suppose you are planning to expand through acquisitions. In that case, succession strategies are essential to ensure you are not just buying a bigger job but also adding value, scaling effectively, generating revenue, and, eventually, profit. Now get out there and start growing!
We thank Aicha Bascaro for her insight into creating growth systems. Another excellent opportunity for growing your business is to attend the upcoming Multi-Unit Franchising Conference at the end of March. Please stop by our booth #342 to discuss strategies for achieving your vision.
Kendall Rawls knows and understands the challenges that impact the success of an entrepreneurial-owned business. Her unique perspective comes not only from her educational background but, more importantly, from her experience as a second-generation family member employee of The Rawls Group – Business Succession Planners. For more information, visit www.rawlsgroup.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.