In this “Meet the Mentor” series, we share key insights from leading franchise professionals to help you learn from their experiences and get inspired by their successes. Whether you want to own a franchise, operate your system more efficiently, or improve your work-life balance as a franchisor, these high performers will provide the advice you need.
Interviews were conducted pre-COVID-19 and in some cases titles and positions have changed since then.
Recognizing the huge potential and relative lack of competition in the men’s and boys’ haircut market in the early 1990s, Gordon Logan started Sport Clips.
Assembling a group of passionate industry professionals, Logan and his team worked together to develop the unique Sport Clips Haircuts concept you know today — top haircutting services in a fun sports-themed environment.
Prior to founding Sport Clips, Logan served as an Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force, after which he worked as a financial planning and control consultant with Price Waterhouse & Co. in Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of MIT and The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
In this Q&A, Logan offers advice for franchisors and franchisees, stressing that discipline lies in focusing on the details, such as metrics and reporting.
Q: What is one of the best or most worthwhile operations investments you’ve ever made in your franchise business?
A: Selecting the right manager for our first Sport Clips! 25 years later, Julie Vargas is now our VP of Career Development and next year will serve as chairperson of the accrediting commission for beauty schools. Julie proved our concept and has been an invaluable asset to us over the years.
Q: In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to (distractions, invitations, etc.)? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?
A: The discipline to focus on the critical few versus the important many. Our reporting and measurements have been streamlined to highlight the metrics that will move the business the farthest the fastest.
Q: What advice would you give to a smart, driven, new franchisee about to enter the new world of franchising? What advice should they ignore?
A: Look at the experience of the people behind the franchise, their track record and their reputations. Carefully study the Item 19 (and don’t even consider one that doesn’t have an Item 19 disclosure), but often the real story is in Item 20.
Calculate the continuity rate. The Financial Disclosure Document (FDD) only gives three years’ data, which is helpful, but five years would be better. And, run away from any franchise that has an excessive closure rate. A continuity rate of 80% should be an absolute minimum. There are many franchises with rates of 90% or better. It’s always better to have the odds in your favor.
Also, be very cautious about start-up franchises with fewer than 50 open and operating locations and those with only a couple of years’ experience in franchising. All franchises start somewhere, but a more stable franchise with a solid track record can give you more data to evaluate and more franchisees to talk to.
Finally, talk to more than one or two existing franchisees to get a flavor for their relationship with the franchisor, and ask about the culture the franchisor has established. Culture is a very underrated metric, one that is hard to define but one that will be very important to your experience as a franchisee. Ignore advice from those who stand to gain from your decision to follow their advice!
Q: If you could have a gigantic banner at a major franchising event with anything on it regarding the truth about franchising – metaphorically speaking – what would it say and why?
A: Zig Ziglar: “You can have anything you want if you help other people get what they want.” Sums up franchising perfectly!
To provide you with more insights and advice from successful franchise brands, we regularly host expert-led webinars. Learn how to update your FDD in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic by watching our recorded webinar, “What Franchisors Must — and Must NOT — Do With FDDs Now.”