Managing a multi-location business is no easy task. One of the hardest parts is transferring inventory between locations. Whether it’s across town or cross-country, knowing how to manage inventory transfers is key to keeping your numbers accurate...
Inc. put out a great piece this week on expansion strategies and it got us thinking — how do you choose when, where and if it's time to expand into a new location? While a new location can be one of the most scary and risky moves a successful business can make, but so rewarding when you see your business grow leaps and bounds. We rounded up a few questions that we suggest asking yourself before expanding to a new location.
Does the new location reach customers you cannot reach with the current location?
If you're a food truck, for example, a second truck be able to cover private catering events while the others keeps trucking on the streets. Or if you're a fitness studio on the south side of town and you're losing north side customers because you're just too far away, maybe it might be time to look at a second space on the other side of town. Perhaps you're thinking of opening another location in an entirely new metro area — do you know the market well enough to know if people will like what you're bringing to their city?
Does the new location have any benefits or challenges that you haven't had to deal with at your current location or that might make it more or less appealing than another area you're looking into?
Is parking easier in one area than the other? Are there any tax benefits? Is the neighborhood business association more active? Make an old fashioned pros and cons list with your staff and trusted partners. Most importantly though, get advice from nearby business owners so you can make the best move.
Do you have trustworthy managers who are ready to take on (a lot) more responsibility?
You can't be in two places at once. Without a solid team in place, a new location is doomed to fall apart. Solid management and well-trained staff are going to be absolutely
If this is your first foray into multiple locations, will your current customers support the expansion or be turned off?
This depends on your community, your city and the line of work you're in, but moving into multiple locations is a huge move and may rattle your current customers. While we hope most will be excited about your success, some might fear that you won't be as connected to your customers or your products as those "good ol' days." To curb this, reach out to your loyal customers before, during and after the expansion to ask for feedback!
We hope this helped get the wheels turning about new locations — and we're sending you all kinds of good energy as you make this big decision on your expansion.
Any more advice to share? Let us know in the comments!
We've been working on some fun updates in the secret laboratory for a few weeks now and we're excited to announce that Shopventory now fully supports inventory management for businesses with multiple locations. High fives all around!
With this new multiple location capability, you can now...
-Keep an eye on all your locations from one simple dashboard -Manage a central warehouse -Maintain inventory counts automatically for off-site pop-up shops, festivals and weekend markets -Make inventory transfers between locations -Update inventory among locations with quick bulk upload spreadsheets customized for your business -Mix and match POS devices—Square at one store and PayPal Here at another? No problem.
We didn't stop at multiple locations—we also just released an update so you can search and filter inventory while you edit, which we hope will save you some time. When setting an alerts, you can also create an alert based on location, item name, category name or quantity (or any combination) so that your alerts are truly the best for your business.
Our new Standard plan ($59/month) includes support for up to three locations. If you're interested in trying out any of these new features, give us a whirl for free by signing up here or upgrade by emailing us at email@example.com.
With so many of our clients managing multiple locations and participating in off-site sales, we really hope you love this new feature. And if you have any suggestions to make it better, please let us know.
Our best ideas always come from you!