I want to be a franchisee: Step 12 —Learning the Salon Business through Training & Events

By Beth Caron

Thinking about becoming a franchisee? Excited about the opportunities out there but overwhelmed with what you need to know? Here’s the next part in our series of informational posts about how franchising works.

Our guest blogger is Lora Peterson, Director of Great Clips University, an online learning center for Great Clips franchisees and managers. She also directs the production of meetings and conferences. In this post, she talks about how new franchisees are introduced to the Great Clips system through training and company-sponsored events.

We just wrapped up one of our key events for new franchisees: Building Your Legacy. This event is held two or three times a year, and over the course of two days, franchisees learn about all the tools and resources available to them as they start and build their businesses. They find out whom they can call for support, and perhaps, most important, they create relationships with both the corporate staff and other franchisees.

The meeting is called Building Your Legacy because that’s our goal in everything we do—giving franchisees the chance to learn as much as they can so they can grow profitable businesses, creating a legacy for themselves and their families. In order for them to do that, they need to know about the company, the expectations of being a franchisee and how to build a great foundation for their business.

Great Clips University is one resource for that information. We took the entire process of building a new salon—what most new franchisees are aiming for in their first year—and put that information online: courses in real estate, purchasing, marketing, recruiting, compensation, salon operations, scheduling for a grand opening, and more. Each course takes about 15 minutes to complete, and they must complete all the courses within a certain timeframe.

Once franchisees have a good foundation of knowledge about the business, they attend a Management Training program (the basics of managing a haircare salon) and Great Clips Academy for Hair (teaching new stylists and managers the Great Clips cutting system and customer service system). No, franchisees don’t have to know how to cut hair! But, it is critical that they know how to deliver great service to every customer. Being at Academy exposes them to the Great Clips way of doing that.

Equally important, Academy is a great place for franchisees to learn how stylists think and act, and what they’re expected to do in the salon—valuable information that will be applicable when they begin to recruit and hire staff.

In addition to these training courses, there are also company-sponsored meetings and events held throughout the year. These are optional but highly recommended. We find that the most successful franchisees are the ones who take advantage of every opportunity to connect with more experienced franchisees.

The Institute takes place every spring; it’s a meeting where franchisees and general managers do a deep dive on one topic. This past year, the theme was Overcoming Barriers and the discussion was about overcoming whatever is stopping a franchisee from growing as fast as he or she wants.

Institute focuses on very practical ideas and strategies for running a business. The franchisees who go to it tend to be the ones who own three to eight salons and they are very willing to share their experiences with other franchisees. New franchisees, especially, find this a great place to be a sponge and soak up what all of these very successful franchisees have to share.

Additionally, every year, we have either a Convention or Zone Meetings.

Our Convention, held every other fall, combines learning with celebration. More than 2,000 franchisees, general managers, managers and vendors come together to learn about the latest in the haircare industry, hear from nationally recognized business experts, share best practices in general sessions and breakouts, recognize individual and group successes, and enjoy great entertainment. Convention allows people to reconnect with old friends, meet new franchisees, and learn about the broader picture of what’s happening in the company and the industry. Franchisees and salon staff walk away from Convention with the realization that Great Clips is more than just their salon; they truly get a broader sense that they are part of a large, vibrant organization.

Zone Meetings take place in the non-Convention years. Since they are held in four cities around the United States, Zone Meetings have more of a regional feel than the national convention, but the content is similar. There are presentations from corporate executives, breakout sessions, roundtables, recognition for outstanding performance, and, of course, connecting with each other.

That’s the big picture of how Great Clips uses training, meetings and events to help new franchisees get off to a great start. Are you a franchisee who has been through similar training? What was most valuable for you? Share you thoughts below.

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