Why This Franchise Executive Believes Strategic Plans Are Anything but Boring

By Rob Goggins

Leaders at the Great Clips corporate office developed a five-year strategic plan and a corresponding Growth Scorecard. They mapped strategies and success metrics in the areas of customer care, franchisee profitability, internal development, and other areas important to the growth and health of the organization. Great Clips President Rob Goggins is a big fan of strategic planning—a BIG fan! For those of us who don’t find such planning quite as enthralling as he does, Rob agreed to give us his insights on how strategy can be a critical success factor for franchisors and their franchisees.

Okay. I get it. I have learned that not everyone shares my affection—some would say fixation— for strategic plans, metrics, KPIs, success criteria, and all those things related to strategy and tactics. Yet, at the same time, I know so many successful Great Clips franchisees who set goals, track progress, and celebrate achievements.

I’m a big believer in strategic plans, whether you’re the franchise owner of a walk-in hair salon or on the leadership team of a billion-dollar franchise organization. Good strategic planning contributes to a successful outcome because it helps you determine where you want to go in the future, and then identify the important actions and measurements that will get you there.

What does a strategic plan look like?

The five-year Great Clips, Inc. Strategic Plan and the corresponding annual Growth Scorecard are all about establishing goals, objectives, and plans around the actions of everyone who works for Great Clips, Inc. (the corporate office). Obviously, much of that work eventually affects everyone in the system, including franchisees and their salon staff.

Here’s one example of what that looks like: A couple of years ago, we wanted to find out if there were consistent best practices among the more successful new franchisees. Among other things, was there a secret sauce that made it easier for them to gain traction when opening their first franchised hair salons?

We launched a study to identify those practices that positively affected the odds of success in the first six months. The study revealed that the most successful franchisees put a heavy focus on specific operational metrics from Day 1, and by doing so, they were able to find new and creative ways to serve more customers more efficiently.

Strategy leads to initiatives which lead to results

The results of this study led to a major initiative that changed how we support newer franchisees. The results of that initiative were equally impressive—franchisees who received this support and executed on certain metrics had more rapid short- and long-term growth.

I like this story for several reasons (and these reasons can apply to any size business):

First, it’s a great example of execution. We identified a challenge, and we assembled an internal group to tackle the issue and develop a plan, and new franchisees saw positive results.

Second, we’re now applying that method to new challenges and opportunities, and then sharing what we learn across the system.

And, last, it is proof of the strength of our strategic plan, which included a focus on new franchisees achieving measurable success early on. The plan helped us define the challenge, establish our direction, and make decisions on how to allocate resources.

So, yes, I’m kind of a nerd about strategic plans and metrics and KPIs—and I love sharing my enthusiasm because I see how much a good plan can lead to success for our franchisees.

— Rob Goggins

Are you a planner or do you like to be more spontaneous? We have franchisees who tend toward both styles. Give me a call so we can talk about your interest in making a franchise investment.

Beth (Caron) Nilssen
Director of Franchise Development | Great Clips, Inc.
800-947-1143 |
franchise@greatclips.com