Is becoming a multi-location business right for you? We’ve put together a series of steps to analyze the factors involved and help you make a smart decision.
1. Determine whether you’re in a position to expand.
There are many signs that your business has outgrown its single location, including not enough space to handle current volume, worsening customer service due to heavy traffic delays, and a need for your product or service in other territories.
The first step is to evaluate whether you’re ready for the additional challenges of operating multiple locations. Be sure to examine:
• Financial ability to absorb the costs of opening a new location
• Staff that can handle operations at your original location while you’re birthing the new one
• Increased demands on your time and energy before, during and after the launch
2. Create a vision of your ideal new space.
Before you begin actual planning, do some dreaming. Will it be a carbon copy of the original location? Or do you want improvements and modifications based on what you’ve learned in your current location or different market conditions in the new one?
3. Choose a location.
This step is critical because a bad location or landlord can ruin your business. Carefully examine space configurations, customer accessibility and lease terms, bearing in mind that you’ll probably be committing to at least a 5-year deal. Keep a checklist of the features your new location must have.
Even finding the right real estate agent can be difficult. As a small business owner, you probably won’t be at the top of their priority list. Be prepared to do a lot of looking on your own, through commercial real estate websites and simply walking the streets.
4. Put the plan into action.
Every business and industry will have its own requirements, so we can only discuss this process in a very general way. Your implementation may include:
• Design the space with an architect and/or interior designer
• Build out the space, install fixtures
• Order additional inventory
• Train staff to run the original location and make decisions without you
• Hire and train additional staff for the new location
5. Optimize the launch.
Before opening day, give your new baby its best chance to thrive with some or all of these activities:
• Clear your schedule of any other commitments
• Make existing customers aware of the new location through social media and other marketing channels
• Invite press coverage — post press releases, add a newsworthy gimmick (such as a contest or celebrity appearance) to your grand opening event
• Have a soft opening to iron out the glitches
• Advertise the grand opening to the general public
Throughout the process of opening a second location, your financial status could be the difference between success and failure. As small business specialists, Xendoo can help you make the right moves, explain your numbers, and set you free from time-sucking bookkeeping tasks. After all, you have enough on your plate!
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