If your business is successful enough that you’re thinking about a second location, then that’s news to celebrate. The prospect of expanding your business is an exciting one. It’s an opportunity to serve a new community, broaden your reach, and build your brand. Of course, it’s not without risk. Before you decide to take the leap, make sure to give these questions plenty of consideration.
1. What is the best location?
When choosing where to open your business, the old saying about property is true: The three things that matter are location, location, location. This is still true when it comes to opening a second location. Ideally, you should choose a space that is close enough to your first location that you have a built-in customer base. If you’re far away from the first location, it takes more work to connect with the community. This can put you at a disadvantage because you’ll be diverting resources to marketing and publicity that could be better used elsewhere.
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2. What is the competitive landscape?
A mistake that entrepreneurs can make is assuming that once they have an established business in one space, subsequent locations will thrive. So, for instance, if you were successful in opening a coffee shop in a neighborhood that didn’t have one, you can’t assume you’ll do just as well in an area with coffee shops on every corner. Before you expand, study potential neighborhoods and buildings. Research like you are opening your first location. If you’re opening in a different city or state, the average rents and minimum wage might be higher. You should also take this into account when you’re running the numbers to see if you have the cash flow to expand.
3. How will the new location be received?
Sometimes messages get lost in translation, and that can be true for businesses, too. Trying to recreate the magic of your first space can be impossible, so don’t get too wrapped up in creating an exact copy. What is important is that you retain the core values of your business that make you so appealing to your customers, like providing great food, incredible customer service, or a friendly environment. It doesn’t matter if the decor or floor plan of the new location is a bit different as long as you remain true to the spirit of your business.
4. Are you ready to train a new staff?
You already know how important a trained, friendly staff is to the success of your business. This is especially true as you prepare to open a second location and need their help to get operations going. When training new employees, consistency is key, so if you don’t already have a training manual, it’s time to create one. A manual is only part of the process, though — you also need to appoint key staffers (preferably those who have been with you for a while) to help train team members and ensure that each new hire meets the high expectations you have set for your business.
5. Do you have the right technology in place?
Once you have multiple locations, it’s more important than ever that you have an integrated system that enables you to easily track sales, check timecards, monitor employee performance, schedule appointments, and more — all from one place. Square Dashboard allows you to see your whole business at a glance, so you can do things like review sales reports, accept payments, and check inventory.