After Doug Porter, and his wife Ann, started settling into retirement life, Porter found he had “too much curiosity and energy,” and began to search for a new project. Having just left a CEO position in the corporate world, freedom and flexibility were his top priorities.
“The semi-absentee business model appealed to me. I had several friends who owned haircare franchises and I liked the lifestyle that brought,” explains Porter. “The industry and potential rewards were big draws. However, I couldn’t get excited about the brands they were with.”
He did find himself getting excited about another brand. “I really liked the atmosphere and fun environment I found at Sport Clips Haircuts. I also liked that it catered to a niche group and the MVP Experience adds value to the client. Beyond that, I felt the leadership was focused on constant improvement, which is such an important quality. I felt like this was the brand for me.”
Initially, when Porter contacted Sport Clips there was no availability in his preferred market of San Diego, California. Being intent on moving to San Diego from Chicago, Porter put his ownership plans on hold. “Ann and I had always really enjoyed the San Diego lifestyle. It was where I was stationed when I was a pilot with the Navy. My wife and I were married there. We bought our vacation home in 2007 with dreams of retiring there.”
A few years later, after transitioning to San Diego full-time, an opportunity to take over an existing Sport Clips location in San Diego presented itself. Porter says, “It all lined up. I jumped at the chance.”
In November of 2017, Porter acquired two existing stores. He would then acquire three more stores in the following two years. Porter has done well in his new role as team leader and was named Sport Clips’ Rookie Team Leader of the year for 2019.
On creating high performing stores, Porter says, “What I have seen when I have taken over a store is that the system was not being followed. By following Sport Clips’ system, focusing on operations and empowering the managers, I had everything I needed to get the stores on track. Two areas I have paid particular attention to have been store culture and employee retention.”
Store culture is also important for a successful store, according to Porter. “It is so important to get the culture right in the store. I have found that respecting the store’s manager and working together with them to build the culture together is the best way to do that.
“Giving back is a big part of our store culture. We raise money for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Association. We also go to our local Ronald McDonald House and cut hair for families staying there. It not only gives us individual perspective, but it also bonds us as a team.”
As a team leader, Porter approaches his role with a servant leadership style. “On any given day you can catch me can vacuuming the floor or helping out in other little ways. It is important for your team to see you involved and caring. You get out of this what you put in, so you have to be engaged.”
When it comes to employee retention, Porter says, “As I have focused more on retention, I have found that I haven’t had to spend any significant money on recruiting. How you treat your stylists is how in turn the stylists will treat the clients.”
For Porter this means going the extra mile whenever he can. “I make sure the needs of the team members are being addressed. Sometimes it was as simple as going to the hardware store and buying a lock for the bathroom door or providing a coffee machine. Little things like that go a long way.”
He continues, “And sometimes it is identifying where a team member is struggling and addressing that. This could be helping them get extra training or it can be helping them understand the pay structure and how they can use it to their advantage. This goes back to being engaged.”
Helping his 55+ employees grow personally and professionally has been one of the most rewarding aspects as a team leader for Porter. “Sport Clips does an incredible job at providing training and resources for stylists to grow their career. I promote from within whenever possible. And knowing that I have a direct hand in helping my team members prosper with this system has been very satisfying.”
Two years into his Sport Clips journey, Porter says, “My experience over these past couple of years has reinforced exactly what Sport Clips put out in Discovery Day. The culture has stayed true. I enjoy being in the stores. The salon environment is fun.”
“Before retirement, I was working 80 hours a week. My schedule was not my own. Now I get to determine my schedule. Now, some of my duties as a team leader have me going to community events, like concerts or sporting events. I don’t see this as work, it’s fun! I definitely have more freedom and flexibility than I ever did in the corporate world. This was a good move for me.”
Hear more from Doug Porter on July’s Validation Conference Call.