Your business is growing, and you have reached the point of profitability where you are planting new branches in different locations by the year, or even by the month.
This was the dream… and now you realize that this dream isn’t a piece of cake.
Multi-branched business owners and branch managers around the world share the same challenges of handling multiple branches. You’re not alone. These challenges aren’t impossible to overcome, and all you need is a few techniques to get a tight grip on it.
So, what can you do to better manage branches?
1. Implement uniform processes and systems.
From employee attire to handling customer complaints, staff from all your branches must be onboarded with your company standard operating procedures ultimately so you would be able to maintain your brand of providing good customer service wherever branch that may be.
Document all of these in a handbook or manual. When hiring new people, this should be part of their training before they start off. You could also consider doing a scoreboard-based program, rewarding branches that perform highly on these areas so the staff are motivated to go beyond good enough.
If you don’t have this in place now, work on it before you open your next location.
2. Streamline communication methods.
According to a survey by Manager Complete, 70 percent of small and mid-sized business claim that poor communication is their biggest problem.
Communication is most likely already there; You just have to streamline it. Using an internal social channel for this is helpful as it keeps all communication in one place with the entire team and there is the responsibility for your staff to respond to matters that concern them.
Also, show that you’re taking an active interest in making sure all your branches succeed by making yourself available to support whenever your staff needs you. Be available by video meetings, email, chat, or phone- it might be unrealistic to be available *all the time*, but be so as much as you can.
3. Avoid the urge to micro manage.
You do need to make sure that your branches are performing as expected. But be mindful that you don’t stretch yourself too thin to the point that you are already micro managing your branches.
You have to think strategy-level and maybe sometimes you also have to do the implementation (this is dependent on your organizational structure), but being on top of every single detail will lead to stress and even forgetting your own core responsibilities.
Require regular progress reports. Reports from your branches, say weekly ones, give you an overview of how your branches are improving, and which areas you can help with to push.
Branchify, one of our products at Symph, was created to get business owners/ branch managers away with micromanaging as it is a web app that gives you a real time overview of their branches’ Audit, Maintenance, and Feedback in one system.
Wherever you may be and at whatever time of day, you can just open the app and right then you will see how your branches are doing. (See how it works here.)
The Abaca Group staff who are long-term users of Branchify!
4. Hire good managers
When you have confidence in your branch managers, delegating management tasks become easier.
At first, you would need to put effort on properly apprenticing your managers so you can be sure they run your stores the same way you would. Eventually, you could leave the day-to-day operational details to them and concentrate on the big picture.
Don’t underestimate what your staff are capable of. The right people paired with the right training could take a lot off of your plate. As a bonus, delegating this work to them will make your team feel more involved in the business, which is highly motivating.
Managing multiple branches is difficult but possible. All it takes is a little experimenting and tweaking of the process to get that wheel turning and eventually see that branch never run out of customers going in and out the door!
Let us know if these tips work for you and if you have other techniques you wish to share!