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Are you Ready to Become a Multi-Unit Franchisee?

multi-unit franchising planning Feb 13, 2024
Become a Multi-Unit Franchisee

Transitioning from a single-unit franchisee into a multi-unit franchise organization requires significant preparation, skills, and abilities. But the good news is that you can prepare to afront this new endeavor and set yourself up for success.

Take note of these 12 steps you need to cover before you go into a multi-unit mode. Use this as a checklist to ensure you meet the criteria to become a successful multi-unit franchisee and ensure a prosperous transition.

  • Mind that these best practices apply whether you are a single-unit franchisee or if you already operate 2, 3, or 4 units, especially if you didn’t prepare for that growth and are struggling with your franchise.

If that’s your case, review this list to identify the elements that are missing in your strategy, and take time to develop them so you can put yourself and your organization on the path to success.

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1. Financial stability

What you should have: enough capital reserves and a strong financial track record on all the units you have to make sure that you are not expanding financial challenges but profitability when you grow.

If you are not ready: 

  • Strengthen your financial position by looking at your current profitability by unit to study how can you maximize profitability in each of the units.
  • Improve your revenue, cost of goods, and labor costs so you can be prepared, financially speaking, to grow profitably in the units you will open in the future.
  • Reduce your debt so you can expand without any debts or at least, with more favorable interest rates.


2. Operational excellence

What you should have: The franchisor already gives you a great product, service, and image, as well as operational systems. But you also have to define business systems, processes, and procedures that can be delegated and replicated across multiple units.

If you are not ready:  

  • Streamline operations in your existing units.
  • Document all of your processes and procedures.
  • Implement training programs that can be scaled.
  • Make sure the business management systems you created are being followed


3. Leadership skills

What you should have: The ability to lead, manage, and inspire a large team of people that’s going to grow. It is not the same thing to manage 1 or 2 units with people who know because you have built a relationship with them. As you grow, the ability to have all of that reduces because you don't spend much time with them.

If you are not ready: 

  • Read leadership books to improve your skills.
  • Invest in leadership training or franchise coaching.
  • Seek mentorship from experienced business owners and fellow multi-unit franchisees that you admire.


4. Strategic vision

What you should have: A clear growth plan and long-term vision of where you want your franchise organization to be in the future. If you know that, you’ll be able to go over the ups and downs of business ownership, focus on your plan as you go through the journey, and make better decisions.

If you are not ready:  

  • Develop a business plan with specific goals, milestones, and clear timelines for scaling your franchise business.
  • Defining what necessary steps you have to take will help you get where you want to be.
  • Analyze what is the ultimate goal of your organization and what you want to accomplish with your business endeavor.


5. Time management

What you should have: When you have 1 or 2 units, more than likely you are doing all of the work but as you grow, you have to acquire the ability to delegate effectively so you can manage your time efficiently. You cannot do it all, even if your organization is small because then, you won’t be able to focus on the important things in your business.

If you are not ready:

  • Learn how to prioritize tasks by discerning between what’s important from what’s urgent.
  • Train your team properly so you can delegate responsibilities to them.
  • Consider hiring or promoting a manager into a district manager to oversee daily operations so you can have the freedom to concentrate on growth and strategy.


6. Industry knowledge

What you should have: Being aware of what is happening politically, economically, in the franchise sector, as well as in your specific industry is key for multi-unit franchisees because your business is going to be affected by those external factors. Having a deep understanding of market trends will also help you be prepared for what’s coming.

If you are not ready: 

  • Engage in continuous learning through seminars, workshops, and industry events to stay informed and adaptable.
  • This will help you make better decisions as you go in becoming a multi-unit franchisee.


7. Adaptability

What you should have: Having the flexibility to adapt to changing business conditions is critical, especially nowadays with many disruptions happening across the world. Even though you may have a plan and certain strategies in place, you have to understand that in business, things change all the time, and embracing that will help you enjoy the journey of becoming a multi-unit franchisee.

If you are not ready:

  • Practice problem-solving and decision-making in various scenarios to enhance your adaptability skills.
  • Try to find different solutions to problems you had in the past, thinking of alternatives that could have worked but you didn’t see back then.
  • If for some reason you get stressed, angry, or upset about a difficulty you face, analyze if there’s something you can do about it or if it is out of your hands to solve.


8. Risk management

What you should have: As you grow you’ll be taking more and more risks. You have to work on the ability to assess and manage the risks associated with expanding your business, and also, know how to react and have a plan B if something doesn’t work the way you expected. 

If you are not ready: 

  • Develop a risk management plan s you can feel confident and be prepared if disruption happens.
  • Find a business advisor who can help you identify potential risks, both internal and external, design strategies to mitigate them, and address the issues if they impact your business.


9. Networking

What you should have: Having strong relationships with fellow franchisees, other industry professionals, and especially with your franchisor will be very helpful when becoming a multi-unit franchisee. The more and more you get involved in your franchise brand, the bigger player you'll be and the better growth opportunities you'll have.

If you are not ready: 

  • Actively participate in franchise associations, local business groups, and online communities to build your network.
  • Make sure you go to the franchisor conferences to get to know fellow franchisees who can share with you their best franchise practices.
  • Build a relationship with your franchise business consultant.
  • Get close to other franchisees in your area so you can go to them if anything happens.


10. Commitment

What you should have: Being committed to the brand and willing to adhere to the franchisor's system is another element of success for multi-unit franchisees. And for you to be able to be truly committed, you have to enjoy what you do, so choosing the right brand is critical

If you are not ready: 

  • Reassess your alignment with the franchise's values and goals.
  • Ensure that you are fully engaged before deciding to expand your business.


11. Balance

What you should have: The only way in which you can prevent burnout and poor performance in your business is by having a balanced approach to work and life. This is especially important because entrepreneurs tend to work more hours than other team members and this could affect their lives.

If you are not ready: 

  • Implement systems in your day-to-day work to promote work-life balance, such as scheduling and personal well-being practices.
  • Not everything is about the business! You need to take care of yourself because the better that you are the better that you are going to lead the organization.
12. Family support

What you should have: especially at the beginning of the journey of becoming a multi-unit franchisee, before you can delegate operations, having solid backing from your family members will be very beneficial. It will help a lot if everyone understands the demands and changes that scaling the business will entail not only for you but also for them.

If you are not ready: 

  • Have open discussions with your family about the implications of becoming a multi-unit franchisee.
  • Ensure they are on board and consider their concerns and suggestions.
  • Establish clear boundaries and support systems to maintain family relationships and home life during this transition.


Do you have what it takes to position yourself for multi-unit franchise ownershipIf you are missing something from this list, focus on the personal and professional development of these areas before growing your organization, so you can better prepare yourself and aim towards success.

You are not alone! Explore our programs to find out how the American Franchise Academy can help. We have designed three best-in-class programs to help you acquire these skills and knowledge before you grow so you can have an easy and fun multi-unit journey.

Learn more about these programs here!



  • If you were to multiply your units today, would you bring debt and financial challenges to the new stores, or rather, profitability?
  • What is your long-term plan and vision for your franchise?
  • How risk-averse are you? Are you willing to embrace a more flexible business approach?
  •  Do you have a work-life balance? What can you do to accomplish that?