Sweetening a Multi-Unit Deal
What is the best decision you have made to accelerate new store openings?
KEYSER: “There are three things actually. First, find lending institutions that are interested in doing deals for multiple locations at once versus a separate loan for each location. Once you are approved for six locations, go out and find six great locations and open them. Having strong and clean financials makes this a much easier and enjoyable task. It’s very difficult to negotiate and sign leases for which you don’t have secured financing.
“Second, hiring an area manager who focuses on existing locations to make sure they are getting the proper attention needed. Opening new stores, if you plan on making them open big, can be time consuming, especially if you want to open five or more a year. I am glad I have a team member who is working diligently to improve same-store numbers at a faster rate than I was able to when I was responsible for everything. It’s vital that you grow your existing locations just as much as you grow the total number of units you operate. Banks want to see that your organization can handle the growing pains associated with fast unit growth.
“And third, creating a system where each store opening is done exactly the same as the last one and the results are the same. Sure, there are minor variations for each location, but if you know you’re going to open on a certain date, you should know when you are going to recruit employees and so on. It creates a flow plan that allows you to have multiple stores in various stages of getting built or in its “Grand Opening” phase. Now everything is done with a checklist. If something was forgotten, it’s because it didn’t get checked off. Most franchise concepts have something like this already to follow. Checklists are great places to start and add personal notes if needed. And, they deal with everything from when to do interviews, to when to start and finish training, even when the grand opening marketing starts.”
Jesse Keyser is a Little Caesars and Sport Clips Haircuts franchisee. He has five Little Caesars shops in Carbondale, Marion, Herrin and Harrisburg, Ill. and Murray, Ky. In addition, he owns and operates eight Sport Clips hair salons located in Illinois, Missouri and Michigan. He can be reached at Jesse@KeyserEnterprises.com.
KLAUBERTS: “You need to have healthy teams operating each of your units to successfully open new units. A healthy team is able to discuss and resolve conflict within the team. You need a strong leader, but not an overbearing leader, a leader that can facilitate discussion, but who does not stifle discussion.
“Without a healthy team, customer service will degrade. Customers will pick up on the tension within the business. Team members will hold back on going the extra mile for a customer for fear of their own team members’ possible reaction.
“A healthy team can be an example for your new unit to model. You can cross train leaders from the new unit in the model.
“Our employees typically spend 50 hours a week at work. A healthy team makes for an enjoyable workplace. This leads to higher customer satisfaction and higher productivity and profitability.”
Nola and Brian Klaubert own and operate three Christian Brothers Automotive franchise full-service auto repair facilities in suburban Atlanta. Their shops have been voted “Best Mechanic” for the past six years in a row. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.