A hallmark of a mature and healthy franchise system is the presence of a franchise advisory council. Made up of franchisee representatives, these councils act as a formal channel of communication between a franchisor and its franchisees. Creating a two-way street of communication, the council’s main objective is to foster productive dialogue and amplify franchisee voices.
Sport Clips Haircuts strongly believes one of its greatest resources lies in its people, and teamwork is at the foundation of its core values. Working closely with its Team Leader Advisory Council (TLAC), the brand is committed to using the council’s valuable input and insight when making decisions that impact the system and its future. Shared knowledge and experience are advantages of being part of a franchise system. Sport Clips is leveraging this advantage for the benefit of its team leaders.
The TLAC is made up of seven team leader representatives. Team leaders in each of Sport Clips’ five geographic regions elect a representative. Each serves a two-year term, and the different regions’ elections are staggered. One member is appointed by Sport Clips’ leadership and the final member is elected by the TLAC committee itself. The appointed positions are one-year terms. At least one of the representatives needs to have three or fewer stores. The council is set up this way to provide a wide cross section of team leaders that is also dynamic, to allow everyone in the system to feel represented and heard.
Joe Klimek, acting president of the Area Developer Advisory Council, works closely with the TLAC to help consolidate information they receive from their markets, identify best practices, and provide the area developer perspective to the dialogue. He says, “Leadership has done an exceptional job expanding TLAC over the years. Gordon saw the value of this council early on and as new markets were added, so were council spots. Each market is so unique, so having representation be regional was important.”
Wayne Freeman, a team leader in the Midwest with 16 stores, currently serves as the chairperson for TLAC. “The council helps everyone, from the team leaders to the area developers to leadership, all get on the same page. Together, we determine priorities and discuss important decisions about the direction of new concepts, products and programs. Sport Clips also seeks our input on where we see opportunities for improvement. I appreciate that I can be a direct voice for my fellow team leaders,” says Freeman.
Team leader success is a top priority for Sport Clips, and TLAC provides a forum to help understand more about its franchisees’ needs and creating enhanced programs and services. Freeman elaborates, “Sport Clips listens to what barriers to success team leaders are encountering and works to find ways to help overcome them. For example, many team leaders needed easier access to QuickBooks, and Sport Clips responded.”
Sport Clips also uses the council as a test market for new ideas and concepts and to participate in strategic planning. “When the new point of sale system was introduced, the Team Leader Advisory Council was asked to test it out and provide feedback to help optimize it. We were also able to ask questions and get a good understanding of the benefits of the upgraded system. We then were able to pass that understanding on to our network. When a new system is implemented, it is helpful to understand the why behind it, and as a council we explored that in depth before it was rolled out.”
Team leaders are a direct link to clients and what is going on within the four walls of the stores. Sport Clips recognizes its ability to provide invaluable industry observations, insight as to what the competition is doing, and offer suggestions on how to maintain the brand’s position as an industry leader, as well as safeguarding brand integrity. The role of the TLAC is to maintain open communication, affecting positive change that benefits both the brand and team leaders. Freeman concludes, “I encourage every team leader, especially new ones, to create an open and frequent dialogue with their TLAC representatives. We really want a good cross section of representation in our discussions, and this can only happen if more people get involved. We are all in this together. The more communication and feedback we have, the more effective we can be, especially as the system continues to grow.”
Klimek agrees, “I urge team leaders to get to know their representative and communicate frequently with them. They are a tremendous resource, and team leaders should never hesitate to reach out to them.”
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Sport Clips is committed to fostering and improving relations with team leaders. The Team Leader Advisory Council acts as an additional support system, providing a second tier of information and recommendations, and it is one of the many reasons it is good to be an owner. To continue the conversation about how Sport Clips supports team leader success, please fill out our inquiry form, and visit our research pages!