Validation Conference Call Team Leader Profile: Chris Martin

Chris Martin was a sales and account executive with a Fortune 100 company, specializing in legal research tools and firm management software. While he enjoyed great success in his career, he began to think about his future and what his exit strategy from the corporate world would look like.

Martin saw franchising as a means to expand his investment portfolio, increasing his professional assets and revenues. He looked into several different business models, including a quick service restaurant and a massage franchise, but Sport Clips Haircuts stood out from the rest.

When asked what differentiated the brand from the pack Martin says, “I liked that it was not owner-operator. I was not looking to leave my job at the time. Also, the brand is strong in my market. I felt really good about my conversations with Joe Klimek, Sport Clips area developer for Houston. He really walked me through everything and took great care in addressing all my concerns. I saw a lot of opportunity in front of me.”

As part of his due diligence, Martin consulted a trusted franchise lawyer to help him look at the Sport Clips Franchise Disclosure Document. In Items 3 & 4, they found no litigation or bankruptcy history, which would have raised a red flag. The initial and ongoing costs under Items 5 & 6 were clearly summarized and transparent. Unlike some franchisors, Sport Clips royalty is 6% of net sales vs. gross. The Item 7 (Initial Investment) provided a very clear picture of what it would take to capitalize and buildout store(s).

According to Martin, his lawyer was really impressed with what she saw, and her opinion of the brand was very positive, which really helped him make his decision.

Martin purchased an existing store and was able to maximize its potential, turning it into a high performing store in about a year and a half. Martin says, “The store has experienced double digit growth. My area coach, Heather McKnight, and the Sport Clips support team really helped me get on the right path. Starting out I had no idea what I was doing. Following the system made all the difference.”

Martin adds, “So many savvy entrepreneurs have a vision of what they want and how they want to do it. It is almost ingrained in our nature, so to follow a system may seem counterintuitive. To be successful in a franchise though, you have to trust in the system. Sure, you can put in your own flavor, but a proven system won’t let you down.”

Martin has been able to add is own flavor through innovative marketing and use of social media. He says, “All of my stores are in an urban market, which is a little different than most Sport Clips team leaders. My competition is at a much higher price point than usual, so marketing to that demographic takes different strategies. But once we get people in the stores, they keep coming back for the MVP Experience. “

Today Martin has five stores, with his sixth on the horizon. Recently, he made the big decision to take a step back from his corporate job to focus on scaling his business. He says, “Travel was a big part of my corporate job. I have young kids and I was missing a lot at home. Sport Clips has provided me with a better work-life balance. I have more flexibility and more control.”

For new team leaders starting out, Martin emphasized, “Follow the system because it works. Ask a lot of questions. Sport Clips wants you to be successful and they will provide you with the tools to help.”

Having been down the same discovery process many others are going through now, Martin offers this advice, “There will be tough times, its natural in all business. Making sure the business model is the right fit will help you get through those times and come out successful on the other side. There comes a point in the decision-making process where you just have to jump. Don’t be paralyzed by fear of the unknown.”

Hear more from Chris Martin on this month’s Validation Conference Call.