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Industry • Best Practice

How to Manage Multiple Businesses: 4 Critical Steps for Multi-Location Salons

Managing multiple businesses is complicated regardless of your industry. But it’s entirely possible if you follow these four crucial steps.

Expanding to multiple locations is a common goal for salon owners, but managing a multi-location business is exponentially more difficult than running your first solo salon. You can only be in one place at a time as an owner, regardless of whether you choose to operate franchises or a chain. An “out of sight, out of mind” mentality can become a pitfall for owners who are spread too thin, leading to neglect of locations where you aren’t present on any given day. Communication across locations and their teams can become strained, and staff collaboration and morale can both suffer.

These are just some of the reasons making a multi-location business model work is so complex. Managing multiple businesses requires a strong brand foundation, an empowered leadership team you can trust to get the job done, and modern systems and processes designed to scale with your business as it grows and succeeds.

So, looking to learn how to manage multiple businesses? Start here. These are four critical steps for how to successfully expand your salon and manage multiple businesses without losing track of your core business goals or your client’s needs.

How to manage multiple businesses the right way

1. Strengthen your company’s brand and culture

To successfully expand to multiple locations, you need to know who you are as a company. Spend the time to develop your brand. It will ensure a consistent experience at each of your locations, both for clients and employees. Each location you open will naturally develop its own personality as an interpretation of that brand, introducing unique flavor and style to your core identity instead of pulling it in different directions.

Creating a strong company culture goes hand in hand with those brand efforts. Clients get a taste of company culture every time they walk in the door, but it really starts at the staff level. Make sure to spread out your time among your multiple locations and look for opportunities to bring staff together and boost morale. You might hold training events that bring together employees from different locations, host retreats to celebrate managers, or reward extraordinary wins, for example.

2. Delegate and empower your management team

According to industry research, the number one thing that keeps salon owners up at night is their managers. When you own and operate one salon location, it’s easy to fall into the routine of being a solitary leader. The buck stops with you, and you can both oversee and manage every moving piece of the business as it unfolds. But once you expand into multiple locations, it’s virtually impossible to do everything by yourself.

Successful multi-location salon owners are those who master the art of delegation. Training a manager or management team for each location will help lead to trusting relationships with the people you depend on. Transparency and open communication are good ways to foster a spirit of collaboration and teamwork, making it that much easier for things to run smoothly even if you’re not physically on-site.

After managing everything on your own, it can be difficult for owners to transition into hands-off delegation across multiple salons. With that said, micromanaging is another pitfall of expansion. Instead, try empowering your team to work independently. Set your managers and employees up with the training, resources, and tools they need to excel. In addition to supporting each location’s success, you’ll also give your team a sense of power that will help them become personally invested in your business’ greater goals.

3. Balance location-specific and company-wide efforts

Depending on how far apart your salons are, it’s likely that each location will show different results and have different needs. Client behavior, revenue patterns, seasonal trends, and demand cycles can all vary widely from neighborhood to neighborhood, city to city, or even country to country. Although your brand identity and customer experience should be consistent at every salon you operate, it’s also helpful to tailor your business and marketing strategies based on the details of each location.

Imagine that one location needs to bring in new customers, while another salon across town is seeing retail products gather dust on the shelves; that would be a good opportunity to customize your efforts to support each location’s goals. At the same time, global marketing campaigns that apply to every location will draw everything together, creating an umbrella effort from which all your salons can benefit. Balancing location-specific and company-wide campaigns will help keep your brand experience strong while still paying attention and responding to each salon’s needs.

4. Build infrastructure with salon management software

Streamlining your operational systems is a good way to support multi-location business success. Some owners cobble together tech stacks over time, adding new software applications as needs arise. Although that strategy may seem like it spreads out the total spend, over time those fees can pile up to a hefty sum. The patchwork approach also risks redundancies, since most software solutions serve multiple functions, and different programs don’t always work together seamlessly.  

That’s why it’s a good idea to implement powerful management software from day one. Establishing a strong foundation will make it that much easier to grow your business, even as you spread your efforts across multiple locations. Management software helps keep your teams organized, centralizing all your business and client data in a single system. With customizable permission settings, you should be able to grant employees access to everything they need and nothing that they don’t.

Make sure your salon management solution also supports key business functions like staff scheduling, client bookings, and securely collecting payments. That way, your employees at every location will be set up to offer your customers the same high quality of service and brand experience that they would have had at your very first salon.

Software bonus points: Find a management solution that supports custom API integrations. That way, you’ll be able to deploy your new software seamlessly across all your franchise or chain locations, no matter what systems they’re already using.

Boulevard was built to help your business achieve profitability at scale without losing an inch of sanity. See for yourself! Get a free demo today.