Support Systems That Set Up Multi-Unit Owners for Success
By Josh Robinson, Pearle Vision
Multi-unit franchise owners have to juggle all of the same business tasks that any franchisee has to handle – but multiple times over. They can use all the support they can get from their franchisors.
Business owners who know how hard they work to operate one location must think, “How do they do it?” The answer is simple: Multi-unit owners work hard, hire smart, capable team members and lean heavily on scalable business systems. Scalability is made possible by streamlined systems, established supply chains and comprehensive marketing programs.
At Pearle Vision, I have the pleasure of working with many multi-unit owners, some of whom have signed area development agreements. They plan, even before they open their first store, to operate multiple locations, so they appreciate the benefits of an area development agreement. They also understand that operating multiple locations requires the ability to scale their business quickly.
Here are some of the programs and systems that multi-unit owners say help them scale their franchise businesses:
Streamlined Operations and Systems
Franchisors that provide streamlined operations and systems make multi-unit owners’ lives easier. Efficient operating systems – like those provided for billing, filing insurance claims and payment – provide scalability that helps multi-unit owners operate their locations more easily.
At Pearle Vision, franchisees use eyecon, an operating system that comprises patient information, sales records, inventory management, insurance and billing support and the point of sale system. Franchise owners can save time and paperwork by using a comprehensive operating system like eyecon.
Established Supply Chain
Access to an efficient, established supply chain is essential for multi-unit owners. Because they are likely purchasing products for several locations simultaneously, they cannot afford to run low on inventory. In a retail operation, like Pearle Vision’s EyeCare Centers, stores must be able to meet customer demand or the customers will turn to a competitor who can meet their needs.
There is an old adage that says franchise owners are in business for themselves but not by themselves. Supply chain is a great example of that, especially for multi-unit owners. Large franchisors such as Pearle Vision have established supply chains to ensure franchisees have the products they need when their customers need them. In some cases, larger brands also wield strong buying power and are able to negotiate discounts from vendors, which is another nice benefit for franchisees.
National Marketing Program
A national marketing program is also important to scalability, because it raises brand awareness and allows multi-unit owners to focus on local strategies and tactics. A holistic marketing strategy combines national advertising, local ads and events. A comprehensive marketing program gives franchisees the local marketing tools they need and provides social media support and regional marketing specialists to offer market-specific solutions. Multi-unit owners with multiple sites in one media market can stretch their marketing dollars further by pooling advertising funds.
Pearle Vision’s multi-unit owners appreciate its award-winning national consumer marketing program, which helps to attract patients to their neighborhood EyeCare Centers. Licensed owners control their local marketing efforts, but the program is simplified in that it allows local marketing to layer on national advertising to yield a broader impact.
Franchises with streamlined operating systems, established supply chains and comprehensive marketing programs create scalable systems to support their multi-unit owners. An investor whose goal is to be a multi-unit owner will consider the scalability of systems as they consider various business models. Ideally, they will find one that is right for them and that works the same whether they are operating one location, five, 10 or 20.
Josh Robinson is vice president of licensing & development at Pearle Vision and is responsible for defining and developing business strategies to grow the Pearle Vision franchise system. He has more than 20 years of experience supporting franchisees and helping them optimize the performance of their businesses. To learn more about the Pearle Vision franchise opportunity, visit ownapearlevision.com or call 1-800-PEARLE-1. For more information about International Franchise Association (IFA) franchisor member Pearle Vision, click here.