Sport Clips Haircuts may be a rapidly growing franchise, but it is intent on ensuring that growth is sustainable. This is evident in the brand’s exceptionally high continuity rate. Through its proven system, Sport Clips has recognized that when a store meets or exceeds its grand opening goals, that store is also more successful in the long term.
Because unit level growth is a top priority for Sport Clips, the brand has dedicated tremendous resources into each store’s grand opening process. The faster a store can be self-sustaining and generate revenue, the faster a team leader can scale and ultimately reach their long-term goals.
Bob Villarreal, grand opening manager, attests to the importance of a store’s grand opening, “You only get one grand opening. It is imperative to take the time and do it right. You can’t sprint to profitability, you have to view it as a marathon. This process should not be rushed.”
This dedication to a successful beginning for each store has resulted in a comprehensive and highly individualized grand opening support system.
To further enhance support in this area, the rookie camp team was assembled last year. This team of grand opening specialists brought an additional layer of support to a store’s first year of operation. The team, led by rookie camp director Jeff Deraway, offers increased one-on-one in-store coaching visits and direct support.
Of the team, Deraway says, “There is a point-person for every step, helping guide the grand opening process and taking team leaders through their first year. Using a systematic approach, we look at an individual store’s metrics and design a plan with actionable steps to help stores hit their targets.”
This increased focus has already shown results. “Not even a year since implementing the rookie camp team, we have seen a dramatic increase in the performances of our rookie stores. As we fine tune the support we expect even better results,” says Deraway.
Villarreal explains that it’s important to ensure grand opening success and that recurring revenue is key. “Getting clients in the store is one thing, but you have to deliver on the experience to make them want to come back,” he says. “Everything inside the four walls of that store needs to be correct. The grand opening toolkit, which includes the Store Opening Playbook (SOP), has everything you need to accomplish that.”
He continues, “From the build out process to your grand opening and all the way through your first six months, the SOP has detailed timelines to help keep stores on schedule and in position to reach the grand opening goals. Three to four months out from the grand opening, team leaders will spend time on their recruiting plan and getting those key team members in place. Eight-to-ten days out will be working on team training and the grand opening. There are benchmarks and points of contacts each step of the way to support team leaders in their grand opening success.”
Sport Clips’ comprehensive support is characterized by a multilayered approach. Villareal explains, “Consistency is key to how we have been able to duplicate success across the network. With other brands, it’s possible a franchisee will lose their level of support the further away from the hub they get. Not with Sport Clips. We have systems in place and people in the field to help the support stay consistent and individualized. Support is store-specific and flexible and follow up is done on a regular basis.”
The establishment of a grand opening fund is also something that differentiates Sport Clips. A dedicated grand opening fund of $30,000 is established well before the opening to cover marketing expenses, which is done specifically for that store in the community.
According to John Lester, field marketing director, the team of field marketing specialists work with team leaders to develop individualized marketing plans for their grand opening. “Building relationships in the community is essential,” he explains. “We help team leaders see the opportunities for community involvement and getting people to know who you are and where you are. We show team leaders how to take that team excitement outside the store into the community.”
Villarreal concludes, “You will spend more time on the business in the beginning, but it’s important to invest enough time upfront to learn the system. Your first store will take the most time because you don’t know what you don’t know. Subsequent stores have a shorter learning curve. In the first weeks surrounding your first store’s grand opening you may spend 40 hours a week training or working on your business. A month out you may see that drop down to 30 hours. Our timeline is a good reference to know what to expect. The end goal is to get you to that 15-to-20-hour per week mark. It is possible, and we have a plan to get you there.”