Validation Conference Call Team Leader Profile: Bobby and Lori Forrest

Meeting as college students at Texas A&M University, Bobby and Lori Forrest had no idea what the future held for them. Bobby graduated with a degree in engineering technology and Lori with a master’s in land economics and real estate. Today, both have moved on from work in their fields of academic study to become successful Sport Clips Haircuts multi-unit owners, something neither of them expected.

After working for someone else for decades, the Forrests realized they wanted to build something of their own. They began to look into franchising as a way to achieve their entrepreneurial aspirations and just like with many of their big decisions, they did their research.

At first, the Forrests examined a quick-service restaurant franchise, but quickly ruled it out because the model required a hands-on approach to the daily operations. They also found the brand mired in territorial disputes. They knew they were looking for an opportunity that would allow them to keep their jobs and wouldn’t require them to serve food.

They found what they were looking for in the Sport Clips business model. Bobby had been a client for a while, and they knew they liked the concept, felt comfortable with it and found alignment with the brand’s core values and culture. The company’s focus on encouraging existing team leader expansion and clearly defined territory policies was also reassuring.

The Forrests also saw the semi-absentee business model as a good fit for their objectives. “We really appreciate that the Sport Clips model takes a conservative approach to building a business. You can keep your full-time job while getting your business off the ground. We found this took the pressure off while learning how to run a business for the first time,” says Bobby.

In 2004, the Forrests became Sport Clips team leaders, acquiring two stores and opening an additional store that same year.

Bobby says, “We were anxious to hit the ground running. The first store took a little longer to get the momentum we had had hoped for. However, once it did, it grew faster and bigger than we had ever imagined. It definitely surpassed our expectations.”

To gain that momentum, the Forrests relied on the brand’s superior training and support systems. Bobby explains, “Over the past few years we have had a chance to talk with franchisees of other brands, and we have come to realize Sport Clips offers an unmatched level of support systems. Sport Clips gives you so many resources, especially when you are starting out. Many franchisors are lacking in this area, and franchisees suffer because of it.”

Of their growth over the years Bobby says, “We didn’t go into this expecting to be able to replace our jobs; we thought this would be more supplemental income. However, once we gained momentum and started scaling, we found ourselves in a position to go all in and quit our day jobs.”

Today the Forrests have 14 stores. The manager-led model has allowed them to scale their business beyond their initial vision without sacrificing quality, offering the championship experience the brand is known for. “We aren’t over extended because we have the infrastructure in place to run the day-to-day operations while we work on the big picture,” Bobby comments.

Working together as a team, the Forrests have found a way to use their complementary skill set effectively. Bobby says, “We matched tasks with our different strengths. Because of my background, I handle the marketing and staffing while Lori is in charge of payroll and operations. She also has a great relationship with the stylists, and they feel comfortable coming to her with certain issues. Defining our roles and keeping them separate ensures we are not duplicating work.”

Bobby has some advice to new team leaders, “You need to embrace the model and not try to change it. Stay within its boundaries. It is a proven system that works, you just have to stick to it. We follow the recommended procedures and policies to the letter and it is part of the reason we have been so successful.”

Hear more from the Forrests on this month’s upcoming Validation Conference Call.

For more details on the Sport Clips offering, click here.