Empire Building

“Betcha can’t eat just one!” – Lay’s Potato Chips

Opening one profit center does not finish your growth plans as a business owner.  The first business you bring to market may be very satisfying, meet your immediate needs and lock you in as a fan of business ownership. It may also build a craving for more. 

Growth is a good thing, as humans we have been incrementally growing since we were born.  We go from crawling, to walking, to running, to driving and using Uber.  In everything we do, we begin with the first scary stage and progress to each subsequent stage as we master the previous steps.

Business is much the same, you may start with a single unit, full time or semi-absentee, and then every time you begin to feel comfortable open or acquire a new unit. 

Here are the broad stroke categories you will grow within as you advance your Empire:

  • Building basic business skills
  • Building skills specific to your business(es)
  • Building your team
  • Building infrastructure
  • Building your plan
  • Continuous persistent growth to meet your skills and resources

Basic skills are interesting. Everyone brings skills from their years in corporate America, but most people are specialists, not generalists.  While they will likely be able to handle doing what it takes to run a franchise, it may take them a while to get practiced and comfortable in the role of the generalist business owner. 

What you do want to keep in mind is that some skill shortfalls can be addressed by virtue of the system you choose to partner with.  If you are heavily management skill capable, you want a system that factors in hired marketing and sales skills, and vice versa.  Franchise companies build systems to address different needs and skills, they are not one size fits all in terms of how an owner works the business or the tools and resources available to them.

Skills specific to your business may be cooking, ordering or other customer service skills in a restaurant, where a semi-absentee owner of a service concept may focus on building skills that help them manage their business and team remotely.  Each business will have unique specialized skills.  The owners of semi-absentee businesses may have more overlap from one business to the next as they build their portfolios since their skills will largely be team building and leadership.

There may be no more important skill than building and leading your team.  These are the people that are going to build your brand, keep your customers happy and ultimately determine your success.  Most franchise owners bring some level of management and leadership into their new business.  Once teamed with the training and support offered by the franchise company they get into a good routine running their single or multi-unit business.

Your infrastructure will likely largely consist of the office that oversees your business.  This is where your multi-unit managers may be based along with any in-house HR, marketing recruiting and accounting staff.  How fast you ramp this up depends on the growth of your business.  With one unit you may handle some of these roles and outsource others.  As you grow and it makes sense to bring them in-house you begin to grow your office.  For some business there may be warehousing, pick-up and delivery or other infrastructure that would benefit the business as you grow.

Your plan is the real key to growth and avoiding stagnation. From day one plan with growth in mind.  This may all be within on brand, it may be across multiple brands in time. The more you can take on a global role, placing managers in the business running the day to day operations, you can leverage your time and resources to continue growing.  All too often people limit their own growth potential by trying to control too much.  In the end, if you are not growing it is most likely because you need to build your hiring, managing and leadership skills.

Once you have a plan, the skills, the people and infrastructure it is time for some real empire building!

You will want some key players around you to help with this.  Those include lenders, accounting and legal experts and maybe someone like me to help identify the next things you should be looking at.  When you get busy growing your business you may decide there is a benefit to having someone guiding you to new high priority targets.

At this point you should seek regular consistent growth.  Some of our candidates seek tens or hundreds of units at a time.  Depending on what the market has to offer those may be new units or acquisitions of existing units.

Like the old Potato Chip commercial, it starts with one. Eventually you will crave many more.

What is your success story?  Let’s go find it!

George Knauf is a highly sought after, trusted advisor to many companies; Public, Independent and Franchised, of all sizes and in many markets. His 20 plus years of experience in both start-up and mature business operations makes him uniquely qualified to advise individuals that have dreamed of going into business for themselves in order to gain more control, independence, time flexibility and to be able to earn in proportion to their real contribution. Contact the Franchising USA Expert George’s Hotline 703-424-2980.


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