Owning a business is the ultimate goal for entrepreneurs, but what happens after you open your first successful location?
How can you grow your business? Looking towards the future, it’s important to consider these questions, and the answer may be simple: multi-unit franchising.
In my role at The UPS Store, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with many successful multi-center owners. In fact, in 2015, 49 percent of The UPS Store franchise network was comprised of multi-center owners. Overall, multi-center ownership is on the rise with multi-unit franchisees owning about 53 percent of the 450,000 franchise units in the United States in 2015, according to FranData.
That’s because franchising offers a unique opportunity to support multi-center ownership. Franchisees are able to grow their ownership to multiple locations because they have access to franchise system benefits and resources such as ongoing training and support, a proven business model and brand recognition.
Training and Support
One of the greatest benefits of the franchise system is the training and support provided by the franchisor. For example, The UPS Store offers training classes specifically designed for multi-center owners. This training, along with bi-annual conventions and networking opportunities with other multi-center owners, are just some of the resources in place to better support owners looking to grow.
Franchisees also have access to senior leaders at The UPS Store who can be an invaluable resource as they expand beyond their first franchise location. In these conversations, I’m often asked to give franchisees advice based on my own experience and what I’ve seen in our franchise network. Much of this advice can be applied to any franchisee looking to grow their business:
- Position yourself to move forward and grow. It is important to have conversations about growing your business all the time and move away from the single unit mindset. Empower people around you to make day-to-day decisions so you can focus on your overall vision.
- Staffing is critical and key to success. Surround yourself with people that compliment your strengths and support your weaknesses.
- Have a business plan with a strategy and a time-frame. Developing a business can take time, so it’s important to establish a reasonable timeframe for growth. It’s equally important to have a plan in place with a strategy to achieve that growth.
- Take advantage of the resources offered by your franchisor. Franchising comes with an operations manual that lays out the keys to success, which is a huge benefit opposed to having to write your own plan. The type of support you will receive as a franchisee may vary, so ask a lot of questions. Be sure to ask the right questions and find out about all the support options available – even if you think you may not need it.
Most of all, be passionate about your franchise. Growth in this industry comes from smart business owners who love what they do and care about how their businesses impact their local economies and communities.
Strong business model
For The UPS Store, multi-center ownership is a strategic element of our brand and is baked into our business model. Having a strong business model presents an opportunity for franchisees who were initially looking to own a single unit to more easily grow their business. As such, we offer resources such as a Premiere Ownership Program which gives multi- center owners preferred discounts from vendors and financial support for owners who meet and maintain operational standards and requirements.
For franchisees like Ralph Wills who owns 13 The UPS Store locations in the Tampa, FL. area, the business model that supports multi-center ownership was a deciding factor in choosing a franchise.
“The UPS Store was a great fit for me because the business is set up to support the multi-center owner,” said Wills. “I work hard to grow my business, but knowing I have the support of The UPS Store brand gives me the advantage to be a successful multi-center owner. Having this backing allows me to be in business for myself, not by myself.”
The business model also allows franchisees to manage their resources more effectively by sharing staffing, marketing and operational costs among centers. Rather than focusing on each center individually, franchisees can look at their business as a whole to make decisions that will benefit all of their centers.
Being part of an established brand like The UPS Store is very impactful and drives customers to the stores. Building a brand takes time and money, but with a franchise system the franchisor is responsible for developing the brand reputation. A recognized, reputable brand can make it easier to make an immediate connection with consumers.
“The UPS Store is a quality, strong brand,” said Wills. “Most other brands don’t have the strength of a quality organization behind them like The UPS Store.”
While UPS was founded in 1907, the UPS shield was introduced in 1916, and has evolved into various forms for the past 100 years. Today, the shield has become one of the most recognizable brand logos. When customers see the shield, they know they are going to get a quality experience from a trusted brand.
Tim Davis became president of The UPS Store, Inc. in 2012. Prior to The UPS Store, Davis held a variety of leadership positions for ConnectShip, Inc. Davis has earned Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation from the International Franchise Association and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Davis is a former U.S. Marine Corps captain and a Gulf War Veteran.