By the time they reached their 30s, Jason and Alyssa Bowman were established in their industrial engineering careers. Jason, a financial analyst for a credit card company and Alyssa, an operations analyst with a hospital, will both tell you something was missing. Jason says, “We came to the realization that neither of us wanted to work for a corporation for the rest of our lives. I craved more flexibility and creativity in my day-to-day.”
The couple looked toward business ownership as their next step. “We decided franchising best fit our situation and goals. We liked the idea of having a lot of the guesswork done for us already. We felt the learning curve of starting a business would be shortened,” says Jason.
Having decided on franchising to reach their entrepreneurial goals, they soon ruled out businesses with the owner/operator model. Alyssa explains, “Being a little risk averse, we wanted to do this while still living within our means. We did not want a job replacement, we wanted to build something over time. The semi-absentee business model would allow Jason to continue working his day job and give me the flexibility to juggle what the business needed from me and the needs of our growing family.”
With thorough research, carefully analyzing several offerings, the Bowmans decided to invest in Sport Clips Haircuts. Jason says, “Sport Clips had the best combination of all the aspects we had prioritized in our search. We found the concept to be interesting and liked the way the business model was structured. It would give us the flexibility we needed. We found the model to fit us the best.”
In late 2005, Jason and Alyssa became Sport Clips’ first team leaders in the Idaho market, signing on for five licenses. They immediately opened their first two stores in 2006.
Of the early years of being team leaders, Alyssa comments, “When Jason and I first became parents, long before becoming team leaders, we made the commitment to not put our kids in full time daycare. At one point we had three stores and three kids, all under seven years old. I’ll admit it was a hectic time, however, we had the flexibility to keep that commitment.”
Today the Bowmans have grown to nine stores in southwestern Idaho. “We are proud to be able to offer quality employment to our community and local economy. Sport Clips provides a defined career path and a consistent paycheck for stylists in an industry where that isn’t always the case,” says Alyssa.
Jason adds, “One of the most rewarding aspects of becoming a team leader was unexpected. We didn’t realize what an impact we could have on the people on our team. It has been so amazing to watch our stylists’ careers grow. We get to play a part in helping them move toward accomplishing their goals. This is something neither of us felt in the corporate world. I felt more like a cog in the machine there.”
Finding fulfillment in becoming employers of choice in their community, the Bowmans have also found fulfillment in building relationships with other team leaders in the Sport Clips network. “Starting a business can be isolating at times. To have reassurance from other team leaders who have gone through the same process and draw from their experience is invaluable. It has helped keep a positive mindset through the obstacles,” says Alyssa.
Jason adds, “Sport Clips’ team leaders are an amazing and positive group of people. They are supportive and helpful. Sport Clips really encourages the team culture within its network. An example of this is the high priority they put on events like the annual Huddle. The company is built on a strong foundation of values.”
He goes on to say, “During our business search, we realized the value of a solid franchisor. Not all franchisors are as invested in franchisee success as Sport Clips. Many are out to make a quick buck off the sale. Sport Clips is in it for the long haul. We have always felt they were looking out for our interests and treated us fairly and ethically. The values have stayed consistent since we joined the system in 2005, even when they experience rapid growth.”
When asked if they had any advice to someone trying to decide if a business offering was the best fit for them, Alyssa says this, “During your discovery process, don’t be afraid to talk to franchisees who are doing poorly or have failed. Ask them why. We did this and found that most of the time they weren’t following the system. We also found that they had just spread themselves too thin from the beginning and weren’t putting in enough time. We felt prepared enough to avoid those same pitfalls. It gave us the confidence to move forward.”
With nine stores in operation, the Bowmans feel good about their decision to invest in Sport Clips. Jason was even able to leave his corporate job once they were able to pay off any money borrowed and replace his corporate salary. Jason concludes, “We made the decision to become team leaders because we wanted to build a business that would provide financial freedom and flexibility in our life. Sport Clips has exceeded all of our expectations.”
Hear more from the Bowmans on November’s Validation Conference Call.