In 2005, Scott and Anne Burandt found themselves faced with an impending relocation and job insecurity. The pharmaceutical company Scott, a sales director, worked for was taken over by a venture capital company. Plans were laid out to relocate the company out of state. Neither Scott nor Anne wanted to uproot their four boys, especially for a company that did not provide much in the way of job security.
The couple began to look into business ownership as a way to build wealth, giving them more freedom and stability. They first researched buying a sporting goods store. However, the amount of overhead needed overwhelmed them. They next ruled out the food industry, in part because of the extra costs associated with operating a restaurant.
After determining what they did not want, they knew one thing for sure: the business they invested in had to be a franchise. Scott explains, “We did not want to own a business without the backing of a franchisor. We knew we could implement a system and be successful.”
After looking at available franchise opportunities, they found those in the hair industry appealing. A semi-absentee business model would allow Scott to keep his current job and income while they built their business on the side.
While on a trip to visit family in Chicago, the Burandts noticed a Sport Clips Haircuts store and realized there were no stores in their area. This led them to research the brand, comparing its offering to other hair care brands.
“Sport Clips and its values stood out from the rest,” says Scott. “We did not feel like we were being oversold. It was about whether this was a good mutual fit, rather than just about the sale. We could feel that this company really cares about the success of its team leaders.”
The Burandts opened their first two Sport Clips locations in 2009 in Ohio. Anne left her job with a Montessori academy and took control of the grand opening and operational duties, while Scott, still working as a sales director, oversaw store management on the weekends.
By 2012, the couple had opened several more stores and their business was growing at a steady pace. In June of that year, the company Scott was working for was sold yet again and he was laid off. He decided it was the right time to join the business full time. “With the layoff came a one-year severance,” says Scott, “and since we had not taken any money out of the business, we decided it was time to start giving ourselves a paycheck.”
Finding the balance between being a married couple and working together full time can be challenging, but Anne and Scott made it work for them. “It is very important to define our roles, not just to ourselves but to our team members and managers,” Anne explains. “You can’t allow them to come to you with something that has been defined as your partner’s role. You have to be consistent, presenting a united front.”
Today Scott and Anne have grown their business to a total of 13 stores. After more than a decade as team leaders, they can look back on some of the early mistakes they made and how they were able to overcome them. “With our first store, we listened too much to our team members who were used to how things were done in other concepts. We ended up straying from the system. Once we refocused and leaned into the system, our store made a comeback,” explains Anne. “Our second store was a home run from the start because our managers bought into the system and implemented it from day one.”
When asked about how they feel about their decision to become team leaders, Scott says, “Investing in Sport Clips has been everything we hoped for. We set personal and financial goals that we have already been able to achieve. Most importantly we have the flexibility to be with our family, which was a priority.”
For Scott and Anne Burandt becoming team leaders has been rewarding in other ways beyond the financial aspect. “Providing opportunities and developing the careers of our team members has been very fulfilling,” says Anne. “We even provide corporate-style benefits to our team members.”
Scott adds, “We are very involved owners. Every four to six weeks we go out and meet the new team members. Knowing who is working for us and what their goals are is important to us.”
By putting people first and following the system, the Burandts have been able to scale successfully over the years. “Sport Clips is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time and work to develop your business. If you are patient and follow the system you can do well. You just have to stick with the system,” says Scott. “Everything they told us about Sport Clips was true. We achieved everything we hoped with this opportunity and within the timeline we had established for ourselves.”
And when it comes to advice for anyone considering investing in any franchise? “Do your research. Compare different opportunities with each other,” Scott states. “Understand what sort of support they provide and decide whether or not you can follow their system.”
Hear more from Scott Burandt on this month’s Validation Conference Call.