The Second Location | Notes for Emerging Brands

Look Before You Leap

Congratulations! Your blood, sweat, and tears have paid off and the brand you’ve built is finally getting the recognition (and revenue) it deserves.

As the next box on your “Market Domination Checklist” suggests, it’s time to open a second location. This should be easy, right? You did it once and you can should would like to be able to pull it all off again. 

And then, again and again and again.

But before you sign a lease you should know that the success of a first location does not guarantee the success of a second.

To help with this potentially daunting double-up, we’ve put together some considerations as you prepare to take even more of the world by storm. 

(Spoiler Alert: you’ll be making LOTS of lists. And asking yourself hard questions, mostly through lists.)

Make Your Case

Carefully assess the pros and cons of opening a second location.

Approach the case for a second location with the same rigor you applied to the initial business plan. All those original bullet points still need to be covered—funding, build out, staffing, marketing—but you’ll also need to continue supporting your first location.

Ask yourself if you truly have the capacity and team needed to do both things well. Be honest, because kidding yourself will only damage the brand you’ve already built.

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Purpose Replicate or Perfect?

If your ultimate goal is to franchise your concept, each element of your business must be as replicable as possible. Your second location is a perfect opportunity to identify what elements of your concept will naturally repeat and which things are too custom to execute under different circumstances by not you.

Make a list that identifies the core elements of your brand experience. Beyond your product or service, brand experience encompasses the look and feel of your location, the attitude of your staff, and a thousand other things that set you apart. 

Then review the list to see what you would or would not be willing to compromise on, with an eye toward streamlining operations while still delivering on what your clients have come to both love and expect.

Place Site Selection

Your first location will set the bar for your second location.

Unless you’re a licensed real estate agent, you’ll most likely be working with a professional to land the perfect space.

Some things to consider heading into the conversation:

  • Are you interested in either renting or purchasing a location?
  • What’s the average foot or drive-by traffic?
  • What competitors might be lurking in this area?
  • Do the location’s demographics compliment your business offering?
  • What are the major economic/cultural drivers surrounding your location? 
  • How will this community grow over time?

Our recommendation? Work with a company with extensive experience in the franchise space—like our friends at Fransite.

Processes & People How To Do Everything

Unlike most other areas in life, being obsessive and paranoid will definitely pay off here.

Take the time to create training manuals for everything from the POS system to customer follow-ups. Get granular, be specific. If something isn’t detailed your staff may improvise without your input.

That being said: do empower your staff to contribute to the process. Some of the best ideas aren’t derived from whiteboard sessions, but from the staff directly involved with how the brand operates in the world.

Listen to your staff; they see things that love may have blinded you to.

Focus on Leadership

The success of a second location rests with leadership.

Unless you’re a highly paid international assassin, business is personal.

The staff you hire will be responsible for ensuring that your brand is executed as intended and that your clients are well taken care of. But instead of micro-managing every hire, focus on choosing the right manager.

Sure, you’ll need to find reliable workers, but a manager who’s invested in your company’s mission and way of doing business will lead and re enforce their team according to that example.

Sit down and work out a wish list of all the qualities and qualifications that your dream manager would possess. Then research similar roles and job titles at your competitors to develop a profile of your perfect fit.

Conclusion

There are miles to go beyond these points and a million variations per vertical and brand.
But, if these fundamentals of people, processes, place, and purpose are rock solid, you’ll have the internal guidance necessary to overcome whatever challenges lie between you and total world domination success.

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