Beth Nilssen
November 13, 2019 / Great Advice

I Want to Be a Franchisee: Teaching a Franchisee How to Be a Great Franchisee

In this series about starting a franchise business, we share how Great Clips helps its franchisees learn best practices for operating their walk-in hair salons.

It’s easy to find franchisors who say they provide extensive training and support to their new franchisees. Dig deeper, however, and the amount of support from the home office might decline dramatically as franchisees become more seasoned. Great Clips® believes there’s no end to what a franchisee can learn.

Lora Peterson, Director of Great Clips University (GCU) & Events, shares how Great Clips develops and delivers continuous learning opportunities for its franchisees, meeting them wherever they are in their business journey.

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 the corporate staff (in the home office and the field) 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 their 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.

GCU: How to build a salon—online

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

LEADS/Academy: How to make a haircut a great experience

Once franchisees have a good foundation of knowledge about the business, they participate in both LEADS (basic leadership training) and Academy (how to deliver the Great Clips experience in the salon). Both of these programs are delivered in a blended format with online courses and an in-person experience.

Academy includes learning about our proprietary system for cutting hair. No, franchisees don’t have to know how to cut hair! But it is critical for them to know what happens during a haircut because it is the foundation of delivering the Great Clips® experience to every customer. Being at LEADS and Academy exposes them to the Great Clips way of doing that.


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.

Institute: How to create a team- and customer-centered culture

Institute is a meeting where franchisees and general managers do a deep dive on one topic, such as training, customer service, or marketing strategies. The entire conference 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 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 the useful strategies and tactics these successful franchisees have to share.

Convention: Connecting, learning, and celebrating

The Great Clips Convention, held every other year, 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. Franchisees and their management teams walk away from Convention with the knowledge they are part of a large, vibrant brand.

Zone Meetings: Connecting locally

Zone Meetings take place in the non-Convention years. Since they are held in four cities across the U.S., these meetings have more of a regional feel than the national convention. There are presentations from corporate executives, breakout sessions, roundtables, recognition for outstanding performance, and, of course, connecting with each other.

Our goal is to help Great Clips® franchisees be as successful as possible. That’s why there is really no end to the training programs and events we offer our franchisees. It’s how we help them build their legacy.

Thanks, Lora, for giving us the big picture of how Great Clips uses training, meetings, and events to help franchisees get off to a great start and continue to grow. Are you a franchisee who has been through similar training? What was most valuable for you? Send a note or give me a call. I’d love to learn more about your interest in franchising.

Beth (Caron) Nilssen
Director of Franchise Development | Great Clips, Inc.
800-947-1143 | [email protected]

Beth Nilssen By Beth Nilssen on November 13, 2019
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