The Academy

Super Tips for Managing Multiple Locations of Your Business

You opened your business in a small space in a busy city, say Lagos, Kano or Aba. Your hard work paid off and business started booming. And though you were grateful for the expansion, you suddenly find yourself having to juggle more than one location, a larger team of employees and the needs of hundreds or even thousands of customers. It can seem overwhelming, sure. But with the right preparation, managerial skills and dedicated workforce to support you, you can keep your business running smoothly as it continues to flourish. Let’s take a look at four strategies you can take to juggle multiple locations, tasks and people all at once.

1. Check in with locations

You need to witness firsthand how other locations are doing. Don’t sit in Kano open a branch in Kaura Namoda and expect it to do well. When visiting your branches, you should be looking at how employees are interacting with your customers and with one another, whether those employees are taking accurate inventory counts, how clean the stores are and whether or not they need renovations and repairs. It’s not enough to send an assistant or a manager to do this job. As owner, you know what a successful store should look like. It’s also important to check in with your various locations on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean you’re physically there every day. Once a week or even once every few weeks should be sufficient as long as there are no complaints. If you're simply checking in with employees, set up virtual meetings using available social media networks, especially WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype. Make sure that at these meetings, you start with the positives first, and let employees know that you value their dedication.

2. Ask for weekly progress reports

Let's say you visit your stores and talk to employees. Everything may seem fine, but you have to know for sure. This is why weekly progress reports are critical. Weekly reports help with goal-setting, show employees who are doing great with sales and who may require more help, and let you put into writing any needs that certain locations may be lacking. Progress reports are objective and show, on paper, your stores’ strengths and weaknesses. 

3. Host a party or gathering

Your employees can make or break your company. You want to make them feel appreciated and part of a group effort. A few times a year, then, hold a get-together or party so that you can talk to your employees one-on-one, hear them out if they have any issues and strengthen your relationships. It’s also a chance for employees at different stores to get to know one another. Remember to keep things casual; the point of the gathering is to make employees feel relaxed and closer to you and the business.

4. Hold quarterly training sessions

A quarterly training session is where you’re able to talk about professional topics with your employees. You can bring in interesting guest speakers like corporate comedians or other successful business owners, do team-building exercises and go over your goals for the quarter. At these sessions, the objective is to ensure that everybody is on the same page, and no one feels as if he or she is lagging behind. It’s where employees can get answers to their questions and be motivated to improve their work. To show your admiration for your employees, you might think about handing out awards and gift cards to those who have reached and/or exceeded their store’s sales goals. Managing multiple locations can seem overwhelming, but you need to always remember that it’s a positive thing. Your business is doing well, and you have the proof to show it. 

Adapted from entrepreneur.com