The 7 Most Critical Responsibilities of a District Manager

If a district manager is not doing a good job, perhaps it’s because they don't have the guidance or the training to do so, especially for those that used to be unit managers. After all, the abilities and skills that made them thrive then are not the same as what makes a successful multi-unit leader

  • Great district managers require the development of additional skills and knowledge to be successful. 

Think about it! A unit or general manager’s job is dictated by the day-to-day operations of the brand and the business they run every day in those four walls. But what the multi-unit leaders do completely depends on the district’s situation as well as on what happens in each unit within the district. 

That’s why the set of abilities they need to be successful at this position is completely different from that of a successful unit manager.

Over our many years of experience, analysis, research, and having worked with over 100 district managers,...

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100 District Managers Trained and 10 Lessons We’ve Learned from Them

In the spring of 2021, we launched our best-in-class Multi-Unit Leadership Certification program, and 100 participants have completed the program so far. 

  • Although we are the ones delivering this amazing program to aspiring, existing, and even tenured district managers and multi-unit leaders, we’ve also become apprentices in the last two years.

That’s why in this blog post, I’ll share the top 10 learnings we have had. These things have been eye-opening and some have helped us adjust our program to make it even better. 

If you are a district manager, a business owner, or a multi-unit franchisee, and you have one or more district managers, this program is for you! Click here to learn more about it!


Lesson 1: most multi-unit leaders are what we call “super GMs” because they do not understand what is their role as a multi-unit leader and district manager. That role is completely different from the one...

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4 Systems for Multi-Unit Franchisee Success

The secret to multi-unit franchisee success lies behind the systems that allow them to delegate operations with confidence and focus on leadership, strategy, and growth.

  • There are four systems that these franchisees implement in their organizations to do exactly this. The best part is you can learn these strategies to be just like them!

First, let’s define what is a system. This refers to a set of processes and procedures that, when implemented well, produce a predictable and consistent result. 

This is why franchising is so effective! In this business model, the founder of a proven brand created systems around a well-positioned and desirable product or a service so that you, as a franchisee, could duplicate those processes and procedures with a high level of excellence, and then obtain the expected predictable results in your own business.

Do you Have the Right Franchise? 5 Clues to Find Out


Success systems defined by the franchisor

There are three types of...

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Why You Need a Management Manual

When you invest in a franchise you receive detailed step-by-step guidelines to duplicate the proven brand systems. These are contained in an operations manual, which you must follow to know how to operate the business.

Having this document is a great benefit for the new franchisee because then they can sell a desirable product or service and reproduce the brand, image, and marketing efforts the same way the franchisor does. This brings customers and revenue to their business.

But this is only half of the process in the franchise industry. And, although it is great to have a brand that brings revenue, revenue is not profit. 

  • In order to have success in the long term, you also need to implement business systems, documented in a management manual. 

Today’s blog will review what should be in that management manual and the benefits of investing time and effort in this key task.


Who should write down the management manual?

Bad news the franchisor doesn’t...

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How to Avoid Being an Overwhelmed Business Owner

It is said that when you are at the top, the buck stops with you as a business owner or a franchisee. While it is true that you are responsible for what happens in your company, this doesn't mean that you must do it all. It doesn't mean that at all.

  • Being accountable for everything, and actually doing everything, will lead to more stress, problems, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. That does not do you any good as a leader of your organization. 

Believe me, I have been in situations like these constantly, and I have to redirect myself to reduce that level of overwhelm and still get things done. That’s what I'm going to share with you next, some tips for business owners and leaders to eliminate the overwhelm.


Why do business owners feel overwhelmed?

Independent business owners, entrepreneurs, and franchisees tend to be overwhelmed because they want things done in a certain way and believe that nobody else can properly execute the business but them, at...

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Why District Managers Fail (and How to Prevent it!)

Superstar general managers get promoted to district managers every day. But unfortunately, those promotions are not always successful and the new district managers fail at their job.

  • Business owners tend to think that, because these employees did such a good job managing one unit, they’ll for sure be great multi-unit leaders. The reality could not be further from the truth. 

Why does this happen? In my +35 years of experience in the franchise world, I’ve identified three of the reasons why district managers fail, as well as the strategies you can implement to help ensure their success in the long term.

Reason #1: The district manager’s job is completely different from their previous position

General managers are required to execute the brand and business management systems within the four walls of the unit. And they often work shoulder to shoulder with the one-unit franchisee, because these business owners get involved with the operation, sometimes...

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Multi-Unit Manager vs. Multi-Unit Leader, Which One Do You Need?

Do you know the difference between a Multi-Unit Leader and a Multi-Unit Manager? People tend to confuse these two and even use them interchangeably which is not only confusing but also dangerous for your business!

  • There is a significant difference in these concepts and if you are –or plan to be– a multi-unit business owner you need to understand this to make better decisions, or it can cost you big time.

Let’s review the differences between each so you can determine which one you need in your business. 


What is a Unit Manager?
  • A unit manager is the leader of a business unit and they are responsible for everything that happens inside, as well as for the team's performance and results.

They are also accountable for the execution of the brand systems (the product, the service, and the image) and of your business management systems (people, team income, profit, and growing that unit's results). 

Learn all about the biggest secret in the franchise...

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Why You Must Train Your District Manager

Why did you become a franchisee? Some of you might have been corporate executives that wanted to have your own business. Perhaps you retired and we're looking to invest in something productive. Maybe you intended to build an enterprise to have time and financial freedom. Or you are just a dreamer that always wanted to operate your own business and be in charge of your life

  • Whatever your reason to become a franchisee, there is something that you all have in common: you wanted to have the power to own your destiny. 

When you have one franchise unit, you are actually acquiring a job because its cash flow and profitability don’t allow you to be independent.

That is why here at The American Franchise Academy we encourage investors to become multi-unit franchisees because that’s how you multiply your profitability.

Once you do that, you are able to hire a district manager to whom you can delegate operations. By having this professional on your team, you can...

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District Manager: How Many Units Should They Oversee?

Multi-unit franchisees can truly have time and financial freedom. But the more stores they operate, the less attention they can give each one.

  • That’s why having a district manager becomes critical to ensure that all units function optimally. 

But, how many stores should they oversee? Here are five considerations you must analyze to make sure the district manager performs at their best.


1. Distance

If the units are far away, your district manager will spend a significant amount of time getting from one store to another.

And, if the distance is considerable enough, there may be an increase in expenses like gasoline, hotel (if they have to spend an overnight), food, and other supplies required to travel.

This means that even within your organization, how many units a district manager should oversee might differ, depending on how close or far the units are.


2. Complexity

How complex your business model is and the industry you operate in will also...

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Escape The Hell of Owing 2-4 Franchise Units

When you own one franchised unit you can pretty much control everything that happens between the four walls of your store. You get to hire, train, and manage all the people, so they get to know you and you get to know them. 

Even if you lack the proper business and management systems, you can compensate by just spending more time there and making things happen.

Different story when you are a multi-unit franchisee and you own more stores. To begin with, you probably have a unit manager in each unit and one or multiple district managers overseeing those locations. 

These leaders are the ones that inspire and lead the team to execute the systems for the business's success. They also manage all the operation details so you, the owner, can focus on the strategic growth of your brand and the scalability of your profits and, ultimately, achieve the desired financial and time freedom.

  • Sound great, doesn’t it? But there’s a catch. For you to go from a one-unit job into...
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