6 Tips for Achieving Multi-Unit Operator Success From a Franchisee Who Has



We thought you’d find it beneficial to hear what helped a successful franchisee achieve multi-unit success, so asked Todd Owen (front left of photo) who owns four Painting with a Twist studios to share his thoughts. Here’s what he told us:

  1. Achieve Alignment: “Everything we do is about strategy. We have strategies behind growth, sales, customer experience, people (talent development), marketing, expense structure, studio standards, standard operating procedures and structure of our business model. One of the most important strategies is alignment, ensuring each unit is procedurally operating identically. It enables cross-pollination of our talent. Any studio manager, or even myself, can go into any of our studios and everything is located in the same place, with the same filing system, with the same expectations, and procedurally is run identical. We are very process driven from an alignment standpoint.”
  2. Have a Clear Vision When It Comes to Growth: “Within less than two years, we have four studios and a growth strategy within a targeted geographic area. Once we get up to eight to ten studios and beyond, we will have ‘scale’ we can leverage to become the dominant paint-and-sip player in the area. Whether through the purchase of existing studios or through new units, we want to achieve our goal to ultimately have 20 to 30 or more locations.”
  3. Control Expenses: “Unnecessary expenses can creep into your business. You have to be careful or it will stunt your growth and your bottom line. Just take one unnecessary expense of $100 per month, multiplied 12 times, multiplied by four units, multiplied by five years equates $24,000. Diligently scrub your expenses monthly. If removing an expense doesn’t hurt your customers or employees and isn’t required by law, then get rid of it.”
  4. Hire and Grow the Right Talent: “It’s very hard to grow if you don’t have the fundamental concept of identifying and teaching talent. We believe in teaching our employees everything there is about running a small business and we are very open with all components of the business including the financials. We believe ‘the more you share the more they’ll care,’ which exponentially gives you a greater chance of reaching your goals.”
  5. Build a Strong Corporate Culture: “The culture of a multi-unit business can determine the level of success or failure one has, so we put a very high ticket on this point. We work hard at creating a culture of family, trust, expectations, accountability, and collaboration.”
  6. Listen to Your Employees: “As in any organization, the best ideas come from the folks who are doing the day-to day-operations. We’ve benefited immensely from listening and reacting to their suggestions and ideas where it made sense.”

For more advice regarding successful multi-unit franchise ownership including what to look for in a franchise from a multi-unit investment perspective and how to finance multi-unit expansion, read our latest Top 50 Multi-Unit Franchises guide.


As the Editorial Director at Franchise Business Review, Emma Pearson reports regularly on today's top franchise opportunities and the latest trends in franchising. She also writes and oversees the publishing of Franchise Business Review's annual Top Franchises, Top Low-Cost Franchises, Top Franchises for Veterans and many other specialized franchise reports. They feature the only lists of top franchises based on feedback from those who know best - the franchisees who own them.

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