Branching out, Scaling up
Manage Multiple Locations the Effective Way
Having to manage multiple business locations is a positive challenge. It means your business is growing, and you need to scale up to meet increasing demands. However, business growth that goes unplanned or mismanaged comes with its own problems.
In a 2015 survey conducted by Epicor, “business leaders in Singapore found growth to be difficult as well as rewarding, suggesting businesses locally need to prepare for growth more effectively. More than half (62%) admitted that they found growth challenging”[i].
Scale and update your management systems
Bert Martinez, founder of a business training and communications company with multiple locations offers his advice: "You must have systems in place to be able to standardise the quality of your communications, products and results…Systems will allow you to duplicate offices and grow faster with reduced training times and supervision."[ii]
The easiest way to do this is to invest in products that scale up with your business effortlessly. For instance, look out for cloud-based solutions like Office 365, StarHub’s SmartUC and ePayroll, with pay-per-user models that ensure you only pay for what you need.
Ensure consistent communication across the board
Having robust systems and technology is undeniably important. However, all these tools will be rendered ineffective without a proper communications system in place. This is especially true for businesses with multiple locations. Surveys show that up to 70% of businesses consider poor communication their number one problem:
For a unified communications system that not only connects all your business outlets or offices, but allows you to stay on top of your business on-the-go, opt for StarHub’s SmartUC Hosted. The SmartUC solution lets your teams make free calls between branches as well as enjoy all the traditional office phone solutions such as call forwarding, 3-way conferencing and call hunting.
Get regular progress reports
Checking in physically at each location is important, but does not give you a complete idea of how each branch or outlet is being run daily. According to Entrepreneur, regular reports “help with goal setting, show …who is doing great … and who may require more help, and let you put into writing any needs that certain locations may be lacking.”[iii]
These reports provide a bias-free means of tracking each outlet’s profitability by measuring a set list of KPIs. This lets you note and compare each branch’s strengths and weaknesses for better management.
If you’re in retail, StarHub’s Smart Retail next-gen Point-of-Sales solutions help you track your inventory and progress with web-based reporting. The Smart Retail data analytics solution also helps collate a database of consumer information, which you can tap on to drive more actionable insights.
Coordinate activities across all branches
Training staff from different branches together can help them project a more consistent brand image across outlets. It also facilitates a shared brand identity, eliminating possible friction and unconstructive competitiveness between branches.
You can also host the occasional party or event, to give your employees the chance to get to know one another in a more relaxed setting. It’s a good opportunity for them to exchange tips, or learn more about each branch’s business operations. You can also use this occasion to get to know your team more personally.
The global Epicor survey uncovered that “[t]o support business growth, and prepare for its challenges better, 78 percent of businesses believe that an effective and integrated IT infrastructure is essential.” If you ensure that your communications, management and progress tracking systems are in place and fully maximised, managing your various branches will be that much simpler.
[i] Questex, "Unplanned growth is painful for SMBs: study", 20 Jun 2016
[ii] Inc, “How to Manage Multiple Business Locations”, 4 Mar 2010
[iii] Entrepreneur, “4 Tips for Managing Multiple Locations of Your Business”, 18 May 2015