By Paul Reyes-Fournier, Mindojo

You have created a brand and have enough demand that a second, third or even more stores are a possibility. However, with multiple locations come multiple challenges associated with having one head govern multiple bodies. If done correctly, keeping all of these parts moving smoothly can save money, generate increased revenue and expand your brand.

Using Multi-unit Agreements to Your Advantage

If you are adding a store, think about adding more than one. Even if several locations are not yet in your budget, assume they are when you draw up lease and franchise agreements. If purchasing a franchise or business, there are economic advantages to optioning more than one at a time.

Multi-unit franchising agreements may allow you to purchase one location now, another in 18 months and a third in three years. This type of arrangement will lock in a price and give you a discount.

The same holds true for leases and vendors. Using contracts that offer economy of scale will save you a huge amount in the end.

Inventory Control That Will Save You Money

One store has one set of inventory; several stores still have only one set of inventory. It would be a mistake to see each location as separate when it comes to product. Of course, each needs to have enough supply on hand to deal with customer demand, but the overall control of the inventory should be centralized. This will allow you to make better purchasing deals, mitigate against stale products and switch inventory between locations to make them seem fresh without additional costs.

Inventory security should also be centralized using IP security cameras. Create one security and purchasing procedure that incorporates all of your locations as if they were one. Having everything linked with one point-of-sales system will help in managing all of your inventory.

Focus on Your Online Presence

Different locations do not mean that you have different businesses. You likely have created a solid online presence, but if you have not yet ventured online, then do so immediately.

As a multi-location business owner, the Internet will be the hub for all of your marketing. Social media and your company website will drive customers to new locations while bolstering your marketing penetration.

The Internet has a tendency to amplify things that happen in a business. Bad press gets shared quickly, but so does good news. For fans of your company, multiple location expansion is some of the best news of all. Use it to your advantage.

Rotate Staff and Outsource What You Can

If your new stores are within 20 miles of each other, they can share staff. This can be a cost saving when training is involved. Giving your people enough hours to be happy with the job is an important aspect to employee retention.

Rather than managing human resources tasks, outsource them. HR can be a nightmare, and as a newly expanded business owner, you have more important things to do. The two most commonly used payroll services are Oasis and ADP.

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