Seeing your small business grow and expand is one of the most satisfying feelings you can have in your professional life. Opening a second location – or a third, a fourth and so on – brings a real feeling of accomplishment and, hopefully, makes your business a lot more profitable. Unfortunately, however, it’s exactly when your business grows that you’ll have to redouble your efforts to keep your business vibrant and moving forward. This is no time to rest on your laurels. Multiple locations mean more work, more employees, more inventory and satisfying more customers. Managing a single shop is one thing, managing a growing enterprise with varied locations – and customer bases – is another thing. Of course you faced the challenge of getting the business off the ground in the first place, so look at it as facing a new challenge. To help you, here’s some tips on managing multiple business locations.

Check in regularly

You may have put a great manager in place at your new location who you know and trust, but you can’t let that take the place of observing what is going on at all your shops personally. It’s your company and you need to know firsthand how employees are interacting with your customers and one other. You also need to know whether those employees are taking accurate inventory counts, how clean the stores are and whether or not they need renovations and repairs.

Still, not everything has to be done in person. Check in with your locations regularly and use tools like Skype and video conferencing to regularly meet with employees and let them know you appreciate their hard work and dedication.

The biggest problem small business owners face is losing touch with one of their stores. The key to managing multiple business locations is delegating authority and trusting your supervisors. But don’t let that turn into an “out of sight, out of mind” trap. Make sure you talk frequently with all your employees.

Write weekly progress reports.

Since you’re not at every location every day, detailed reports can help you keep on top of what’s happening financially at each location. Which locations – and employees – are doing great with sales? What weaknesses have to be addressed at each shop?

Make sure that the reports are designed to be objective and point out strengths and weaknesses at each location. There are several programs and apps on the market to help with the reports.

Hold special events

It can’t be all work and no play and you can reward employees with special events like company parties, picnics and social gatherings. This boosts morale and let’s your employees from different locations interact and develop working – and social – relationships. This also gives you and your employees the chance to network, which is a big part of managing multiple business locations.

Events also give you, the boss, a chance to talk to your employees in a relaxed setting and hear their concerns and any issues they feel need addressing. You strengthen your relationships with your employees and they feel listened to and rewarded.

Hold regular training sessions

Training sessions can be held quarterly or twice a year and they give you a chance to talk about professional topics with your employees. You can use guest speakers, specialized training seminars – depending on your business’s needs – do team-building exercises and go over your goals for the quarter.

With multiple locations, it’s important to make sure all employees at all sites are on the same page and again feel that they have a means of communicating with management. You can also build morale with awards and special acknowledgements.

Strive for consistency

Develop procedures that are consistent across all your locations. Different shops may have different priorities or layouts, but that can’t mean each location does things their own way.  Keep the employee handbook consistent across all locations as well as training and shift structure. This also will allow your locations to occasionally share employees without requiring additional training.

Following these tips will be a good start to managing multiple business locations with ease.