Celebrating 12 Years of Growth

By Beth Caron

 “MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (August 29, 2016) – Great Clips, the world’s largest hair salon brand, solidified its position as the global leader and international icon in the haircare industry with the opening of its 4,000th franchise. The 4,000th Great Clips hair salon, located inside the Meijer store in Flat Rock, Michigan, just south of Detroit, is the latest addition to a franchise network that stretches throughout the U.S. and Canada."

That’s an excerpt from a recent press release sent out by the Great Clips home office, announcing the opening of Great Clips’ 4,000 franchise salon (and in less than two months, we’re already up to 4,049!).

We received a lot of press coverage for this significant milestone (herehere and here) and it was definitely something to cheer about, which we did!

Further down in the release was a sentence that received just about as much attention from many in the business media:

“The brand’s success is proven by nearly 12 consecutive years of growth in same-salon sales and 43 quarters of customer count increases.”

Twelve years = 48 consecutive quarters. Consecutive is the key word here because it’s an achievement practically unheard of in the business world.

Think back to what has happened over those 12 years. During the mid-2000s, the recurrent theme from economists was one word: slowdown. Economic growth and job gains were both sluggish as our economy headed into what is now referred to as the Great Recession.

For most industries, it was tough to keep going, let alone keep growing. Not so for Great Clips. During some of the most challenging economic years that many of us have ever experienced in our personal and professional lifetimes, Great Clips salon owners grew their independent franchise businesses consecutively for 48 quarters. That’s twelve years of growth.

When prospective franchisees ask me how this was possible, it’s easy to rattle off some of the key advantages to being a franchisee in this industry, but the one that gets the most head-nods is related to the prospect of growth: Ours is a business that can’t be outsourced or replaced by the internet, and practically everyone needs to get a haircut. And, regardless of economic conditions, when people are looking for ways to save money, the walk-in hair salon niche that Great Clips holds in the marketplace is a great place to be.

I often share some great information from Great Clips COO Rob Goggins that was posted on this blog awhile back. It focuses on why industry growth is a valuable factor to consider before making a franchise investment:

What makes a great franchise opportunity? AllBusiness.com posted an article recently about the 10 signs you should look for when thinking about buying a franchise—whether it’s a haircare salon or something else (although I really can’t understand why you’d consider anything else!).

The first one on the list is industry growth. Before you start any business, you’ll want to know if there is growth potential in the industry you’re considering. Here are some questions I think are important to consider (and then I’ve related that question to the Great Clips category of walk-in salons):

  1. Is this a product or service that people are going to want more of in the future?
    Haircare is a $55 billion industry and getting bigger every year because almost everyone needs a haircut. Customers realize the advantage of a walk-in salon for ease in scheduling and good value. And I believe that’s not going to change anytime soon.
  2. Is it a market category that is recession proof, or even better, will grow in both good times and bad?
    Regardless of the economic situation, people still get haircuts. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, cosmetology is ranked as the most recession-proof industry a business owner can pursue.
  3. Is it an industry that has a built-in demand, offering a product or service that brings customers back to the business regularly?
    Most people get their haircut every four to six weeks, which creates a reliable return-customer base for hair salons.
  4. Is it a product or service that can’t be replaced by technology or done by someone overseas?
    Hair care salons aren’t a fad and the work can’t be done online, overseas or with new technology. Unless, of course, you find someone with a Flowbee.

Hmm, with advancements like this in the haircutting industry, I’m more confident than ever that the future of Great Clips is bright! (A Flowbee? Described on its website as delivering a “refreshing vacuum haircut.” I kid you not.)

Are you interested in knowing more about what it’s like to be a Great Clips franchisee? (No haircutting—or Flowbee—experience required.) Send me a note or give me a call. I’d love to talk with you!

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