Gordon Logan earned an engineering degree from MIT, flew in the Air Force and worked as a corporate consultant when he got out. He had zero experience cutting hair, or anything else to do with hair care for that matter. Yet he bought into a hair care franchise. After a decade of operating hair salons—and learning hard lessons about how NOT to run a franchise system—he founded, franchised and grew the Sport Clips empire to more than 1,500 stores across the US and Canada.
What’s that mean to you? If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a franchise but hesitated because you lack the experience, you can learn something from Logan.
“I have an engineering degree, flew C-130s in the Air Force and I worked as a consultant at Price Waterhouse for a few years before I became a franchisee myself. I knew nothing about the hair care business,” he said during a recent virtual G.I. Jobs Get Franchised Workshop where he and Austin Meek, broker relationship manager for Neighborly’s 17 home service franchise brands, explained the benefits of franchising for veterans.
No Experience Necessary
Veterans shouldn’t let their lack of experience in a given industry stand in the way, Logan said.
“I think that very few franchisors look for people who are skilled in that particular trade or occupation. We’re looking for business people who have demonstrated leadership qualities, abilities to build a team, who are passionate about developing people and helping people grow and develop. Those are the things we look for,” Logan said. “And again, veterans are really well suited for that because they have so much responsibility at an early age in the military and we get so much leadership training. That really is a big leg up for veterans coming into franchising if they have those skills.”
“Veterans have so much responsibility at an early age in the military and we get so much leadership training. That really is a big leg up for veteranscoming into franchising if they have those skills.”– Gordon Logan, Sport Clips
You Get to Avoid Other People’s Mistakes
Logan learned what mistakes to avoid during his 10 years as a franchise owner with another system that ran into financial difficulties and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Veterans interested in buying a franchise benefit from the mistakes of others.
“The business format system that franchisors have has been proven,” Logan said. “We’ve made a lot of mistakes. And we’ve developed systems and procedures and training programs to help our franchisees avoid the same mistakes.”
It’s no secret that buying in bulk is cheaper. So franchisees benefit from better prices for products, and even services such as credit card processing. Favorable pricing is a big advantage compared to veterans who launch startups.
Properly marketing your business can be costly. Franchise systems offer the power of marketing collectively.
“Many if not most franchisors have an advertising firm, and collectively you can use those dollars much more efficiently than you can by doing it one by one and market by market,” Logan said.
This ties back to benefiting from the mistakes of others. New franchise owners are trained in the program, systems and procedures that have already proven successful. Plus, franchisors offer ongoing training for both franchisees and their employees to stay on top of trends.
“We stay on top of technology, which is increasingly important for almost every industry—including hair cutting, which is not typically thought of as a technical industry,” Logan said smiling.
New franchisees can ask experienced franchise owners questions along the way, a huge advantage, Logan said.
“Networking opportunities with other franchisees is one of the biggest advantages of being part of a franchise. You’ll find that most successful franchisees are more than willing to share best practices and help you develop your franchise to be successful.”
Many franchise owners started out working in the businesses they now own. Franchises offer upward mobility to their employees.
“All of those things are reasons why franchises tend to be more successful,” Logan said.