What Franchisors Feel Makes Multi-Unit Operators Excel

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According to multi-unit franchisors we spoke with, much of what makes a single-unit franchisee stand out in their system applies to multi-unit owners: marketing/sales experience, operational expertise, passion, and a willingness to follow an established system. Below are traits franchisors told us they value in multi-unit franchisees:

  • Ability to Delegate: If you’re a hands-on, detail-oriented person who wants to be in your business every day and very involved in every detail, multi-unit ownership might not be the right fit for you.

“It’s very difficult for multi-unit operators to be micro managers,” says Steve Jackson, CEO Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs. “There has to be a balance. I’ve seen people who transition to multi-unit ownership work themselves to death because they do everything themselves.”

  • Having Passion: Your chances of success with anything you do in life increase if you’re passionate about what you are doing. Passion is a source of energy. Ideally you’ll have it for your franchise concept.

“The main risk for multi-unit owners is getting into a system that they don’t feel the passion for,” says Pete Lindsey, Vice President, Franchising of Sport Clips. “Passion drives success.”

  • Access to Capital: Being properly capitalized is important for all franchisees. Those who start operating businesses without adequate working capital won’t be able to pay their bills or employees if the amount of cash coming into the business is not greater than the amount of cash going out, and getting to profitability takes time.

“I would tell anyone considering multi-unit ownership to be aware of what the investment looks like and know how you are going to finance the investment,” says Stacy Eley, Vice President of Operations at MY SALON Suite. “You don’t want to overextend yourself going from one unit to two or even more.”

  • Willingness to Follow an Established System: Franchisees who do not follow the proven systems and procedures provided to them by the franchise company inevitably are less successful that those who do. In addition, they risk censure and even termination by their franchisor.

“The systems and procedures we have in place minimize growing pains for our franchisees,” says Lindsey. “We get them out of the “blocks” well. We offer Team Leader Training Camp that helps them develop skills that prepare them for opening and running their salons. Our technology provides them with the right information to make good decisions and run their businesses efficiently. We also have partnerships for payroll and accounting and soon will be rolling out online check-in.”

“Every franchisee is assigned to a support coordinator who assists them through the getting started process,” says Eley. “In addition, we use an on-boarding project management software that ensures our team and franchisees are on the same page and that nothing falls through the cracks”.

  • Being Motivated and Driven: “We can teach people how to run this business, but a person has to have the motivation and drive it takes to work at owning a successful business,” says Eley. “They must realize that they have to put in the effort to get the results.“
  • Experience: Some franchisors prefer franchisees with specific experience. For example, Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs looks for franchisees who own other food concepts because they already have restaurant experience and know what is needed to run a successful franchise. Other franchisors, however, do not require specific experience. Whether a franchisor wants franchisees to have specific expertise or not, you will be provided with extensive training.

For more advice regarding successful multi-unit franchise ownership including what to look for in a franchise from a multi-unit investment perspective, tips from multi-unit franchisees, 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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