Lynette McKee

What is the key to successful growth? Some will say selling franchisees, some will say you have to select the right site, and others will say making sure all of the timelines are met for the transition from construction to opening and operating the business. All are correct, because every step of the process is critical to having a successfully run business that maintains itself for the long term.

How do you manage each area of the business, manage a team and successfully reach your targeted goals? All successful businesses and the most productive and efficient departments within a business share a common attribute: a business plan. And they successfully execute every aspect of the plan every day. Planning is the key to performance and performance is the key to success.

The most critical area initially is creating the business plan. This overall planning document will drive the business. In developing the plan, the executive team and other stakeholders that understand the organization's day-to-day issues should identify four to five goals the business will try to achieve. Place these goals onto a scorecard, which can track the brand's performance on a monthly basis.

Below are some examples of how a new chain restaurant might approach this.

  • Organizational Plan/Structure. Include the decision process of executive members and the development of appropriate human resources processes and procedures for all employees.
  • Five-Year Goals. Include targets for both same-store sales and new growth through franchising or company growth.
  • Site Model. Develop a site model or models to define the type of new development the brand will pursue. Include demographics, types of properties (in-line, end cap,
  • freestanding, non-traditional) and building layout(s) to generate a replicable store development model.
  • Franchising Program. Outline how to structure or improve a franchising program to meet the goals and a roadmap of how to achieve them.
  • Running/Improvement Of Current Business Operations. This would incorporate the day-to-day management of running the business as best in class.

With these basic goals established, it's time to develop an operating plan that will ensure the activities lead to meeting those goals and objectives. The plan should designate a project manager per deliverable, the support team for each deliverable and the due dates of the deliverables.

Consider having the department heads craft their deliverables and objectives, getting input and buy-in from the team. By focusing on the important items, the less important things will take care of themselves. Developing your plan for franchise sales, site selection, architecture and design, construction management and transition planning to operational turnover will see vast improvements.

What's the final key to success? Tracking. This will help the team understand the impact of its efforts on an ongoing basis.

Development is tough and multifaceted but you can drive your business to success through careful planning. That key will turn the lock to a new performance that will set your brand and your team ahead of the rest.