A franchisee’s story: How I make a difference

By Beth Caron

We invited Great Clips franchisee Dennis Stevens—who, with his wife Nancy, owns 13 salons in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota—to share what drives him and how he believes he makes a difference as a Great Clips franchisee. What he wrote is a testament to the power of connection, and what can happen when someone uses his personal and professional values—kindness, trust, accountability and hard work—as a foundation to build a successful business.

My wife and I have learned in this wonderful business that there is enough for all. Sure, it’s not perfect and not always easy (we made big mistakes along the way), but opportunities with Great Clips can be life changing for owners, managers and stylists, both personally and financially.

We know that the great franchisees in the system—the ones we respect so much—have quietly and generously given to their staff in hundreds of ways, most of which, by design, goes unnoticed. This inspired us to try to follow in their footsteps. (Their generosity inspired us to become profitable enough to be able to give!) Here’s some of what we have learned.

The greatest joy in being franchisees comes from watching employ­ees grow and succeed in their careers, and hopefully, also in their personal lives. If our employees are cared for and treated with respect and dignity, their personal success and happiness tends to bring financial success to the salon, and also makes for a warm, welcoming, happy environment.

The only asset in our Great Clips business is our people. We spend the majority of our time and money on recruiting, retaining and developing the stylists, most of who have not experienced the opportunities and support that we franchisees may have.

In these last 12 years, we have learned that it is very important to teach life skills, decision-making and accountability. We may need to offer support, both financial and emotional, that may fall into the category of “not our job.” The ultimate goal is to let employees know that we have their back. In every case, these offers were met with tears, followed by appreciative loyalty. It is safe to say that a request for help, which often comes from a concerned fellow stylist or manager, is always the last resort for a proudly self-reliant stylist.

Many times we have celebrated the moment a shift begins to take place—when a hard-working, talented stylist realizes that her success and her future are in her own hands. That realization is a rewarding victo­ry for us all. We celebrate the moment when she realizes that a little help from her franchisees is deserved and that, through her hard work and loyalty, she has earned trust. Being trusted means the world to a stylist.

Respect for them is easy to learn when we acknowledge their victories, forgive some mistakes and watch them treat “our” customers with respect and dignity.

Being Great Clips franchisees has given us so many gifts—includ­ing the gift of financial success. But more important, it gives us the extreme happiness and inspiration we experience knowing, learning from and watching conscientious, accomplished cosmetologists succeed in the workplace, improving the quality of their lives and the lives of their families.

Up Next