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As a Franchise Owner, Should You Also Manage Your Business?

Restaurant Manager and Executive

Most small businesses run lean, meaning: if the owner is able to do it, she does it. But years ago, when I and my husband owned a Marble Slab Creamery franchise, we made the mistake of trying to save money and manage the store ourselves.

Stop me if this sounds familiar: in addition to being responsible for overall store numbers and finances (revenues, expenses, payroll), we also:

  • Created the weekly schedule

  • Took complaints and whines from our teen staff

  • Ordered inventory

  • Marketed the business

  • Scooped ice cream daily

Oh, and we were also both running our own businesses outside of the franchise! Talk about biting off more than we could chew!

Looking back, it’s no surprise that the business went under. Hiring a manager -- and the right manager, at that -- is absolutely imperative for the success of your franchise.

Start By Knowing What You Need

Even if you don’t want to own that role of manager long-term, it’s a wise idea to spend some time managing the business so you know what it takes. Being on top of the ins and outs of your business will help you when you do spend time there and check in with your soon-to-be manager regularly.

Create a training manual based on how you want things done. Some of this may be mandated by the franchisor, but you may have your preferences about how the store is kept clean or products stocked. Once you’ve created processes for all the duties of your future manager, you can create a job description, using those duties as bullet points on the required skills and experience you’re looking for.

Set Expectations High

You want a manager who can essentially be “you” when you’re not there. He should be diligent about keeping employees in line, managing shrinkage, and keeping customers happy. He should be experienced in managing financial accounts, dealing with irate customers, and handling employee disputes.

Interview enough people to find exactly what you’re looking for; never settle, or you may come to regret it later. Offer competitive compensation to attract top-tier talent. You don’t want your desire to be cheap to limit the quality of the manager candidates you attract.

Don’t Leave the Scene Just Yet

Yes, you can rest assured that you have someone competent managing your franchise on your behalf, but that doesn’t excuse you from being present. Check in regularly (and perhaps occasionally unannounced so you can observe how your store is run when they’re not expecting you) and stay up to date on what’s happening.

Even if you aren’t managing the day-to-day, you want to ensure that your company is being run the right way, so stay on top of it.

Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a marketing firm specializing in content writing and social media management. She’s written three business books, including How to Get More Customers With Press Releases, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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