By the time he was 24 years old, Jordan Elliot was managing production for a factory and began to feel stuck. “I was up for a promotion, which got me to start playing out my future path in my head,” says Elliot. “If I took the promotion and stayed where I was, I would be caught up in a cycle of working for someone else. I wanted more control over my future.”
As a recent college graduate with a degree in entrepreneurship and international business, Elliot, like many other millennials, had a dream of starting his own business. He worked with a couple different franchise concepts in college and saw this as a good way to become a business owner. “Franchising appealed to me because I realize that I am young and have a lot to learn,” explains Elliot.
Around the same time, Elliot’s mother, Marcia, was at a crossroads herself. She had just sold the family’s manufacturing company and was looking to invest the profits from the sale. The two decided to team up and go into business together.
Elliot’s college experience with franchising also taught him that he did not want to go into the food industry. “After managing a pizza restaurant and marketing for a sandwich shop, I knew I did not want to own either. You spend a lot of time ordering food and monitoring expiration dates. There is a lot of waste. It is hard to manage and the return on investment isn’t great.”
Beyond Elliott’s experience, it was a comment from the sandwich shop franchisee that made a huge impression on him. “The owner said to me, ‘I wish I had gotten into a haircutting franchise instead of this. It is a great business model, simple and easy to operate.’ I took that to heart,” he recalls.
The mother and son team considered their options and decided to follow that franchisee’s advice. Elliot says, “Once we started talking numbers, we saw we could open three salons for the price of one fast-casual restaurant. We felt the profitability would be higher with haircutting as well.”
Elliot and his mother looked at several haircutting brands, including Sport Clips Haircuts. Elliot says, “Sport Clips stood out to us. I had personally been a customer there for some time and was really impressed with the elevated customer experience. The sports theme also appealed to me.”
He continues, “Over the years I followed the franchising industry and kept an eye on what was growing and what was not. You couldn’t help but notice Sport Clips Haircuts. They led not only the haircutting industry, but franchising in general. Their continuity rate is exceptional.”
Elliot also was impressed with the brand’s clear-cut and simple business model. “The semi-absentee business model would allow us to scale quicker and become multi-unit owners,” he explains, “which was a goal of ours.”
Finding alignment with the brand, Jordan and Marcia became team leaders in northwest Ohio in 2016. Today, they have two stores opened, and two more in the works with a goal to ultimately operate six stores. Elliot says, “Having support and a blueprint for success was important and we found that with Sport Clips. There is a person for everything and every aspect of the business. The brand’s support system is substantial and comprehensive.”
Elliot has also found support from the other franchisees in his area saying, “The other team leaders in our market have been incredible mentors. There really is a team culture here. They have been an invaluable resource.”
Working with family, in particular his mother, has been a rewarding experience for Elliot. Building the business together has become a family affair that has bonded the mother-son team. “I think we talk more than we did before even though I now live an hour and half away and am married with a new baby,” he says. “She has played a big role in getting the stores off the ground and handles a lot of the human resource tasks of the business. She is skilled at finding and playing to the strengths of people. It has made me realize that no matter how old you get you always need your mom.”
As a millennial, franchising has given Elliot a clear road map to pursue his personal and financial goals. “Franchising is great for the young entrepreneur because the learning curve is shortened,” Elliot says. “There is a system for everything, which fills in the gaps of inexperience. You don’t have to have a background in the industry. Everything is laid out for you.”
In the last two years, Elliot has successfully opened two stores and welcomed a baby to his family. Yet even when trying to get his business off the ground, he’s had the freedom and flexibility to be hands on with this child. “With Sport Clips, you can grow your business, but still live your life,” he states. “That is important to me, especially at this stage in my life.”
For team leaders who are starting their journey, Elliot advises that starting a business takes patience. “You may not immediately understand the ‘why’ behind some of the processes in place, but you will in time,” he explains. “They work when you follow them.”
Hear more from Jordan Elliot on June’s validation conference call.