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Gary Robins and Supercuts - Navigating Growth with Leasecake

Q&A with Gary Robins, Supercuts franchisee

Transitioning From a Dying Industry

Gary Robins embarked on the journey of franchising following a critical juncture in his entrepreneurial career. The decline of video stores, fueled by technological advancements, prompted him to seek a more resilient and viable business model. Armed with insights from his diverse experiences, Gary established a comprehensive set of criteria to guide his selection of the right franchise brand. The imperative of transitioning to a cash business model, influenced by challenges in accounts receivable from his travel industry venture, became a focal point. Additionally, the quest for a business that would resist the short-term impact of technology and the need for a strategic focus rather than operational involvement further shaped his criteria.

Among the myriad franchise options, hair salons initially ranked low in Gary’s considerations, humorously falling behind the 20-business limit. However, a meticulous and objective analysis brought Supercuts to the forefront. Factors such as unit economics, brand health, and operational simplicity played pivotal roles in Supercuts making the cut. Gary underscored the importance of shared values and culture with the leadership team, recognizing that franchise agreements demand a long-term commitment. Ultimately, Supercuts emerged as the franchise that aligned with Gary’s criteria, offering a promising prospect for sustained success.

Gary Robins is a seasoned franchisee with over 30 years of experience.

Gary is the president of the Franchise Advisory Council of Supercuts, a prominent hair salon chain with over 60 locations across the United States. Gary is also an influential board member of both the International Franchise Association (IFA) and the Coalition of Franchisee Associations.

 

63

Units and Growing

30

Years Experience

4

States

How To Grow as a Franchisee

Gary Robins outlines three key avenues for growth within a franchise, emphasizing the strategic approach to achieving expansion. The first avenue is organic growth, involving the establishment of new stores. Second is the focus on increasing same-store sales, ensuring the optimization of existing locations. The third avenue involves the acquisition of units from other franchisees, adding to the franchise’s overall portfolio. Each of these growth strategies contributes to the overall expansion of the franchise, with their significance varying depending on market conditions.

In the context of the walk-in, non-appointment hair salon business, Gary notes that organic growth opportunities are currently limited. As a result, the strategic emphasis has shifted towards maximizing same-store sales and pursuing acquisitions to sustain aggressive growth. Early on, the franchise targeted growth rates of 20%, requiring careful planning and execution of these three growth avenues.

Gary identifies three compelling reasons for the imperative of continuous growth. Firstly, maintaining growth serves as a defensive measure to keep competitors at bay, preventing them from encroaching on market share. Secondly, growth enhances operational efficiency as the company expands, enabling improvements in systems and processes over time. However, the primary and overarching reason lies in attracting and retaining top talent. Growing companies offer employees the prospect of a brighter future, fostering a sense of security and opportunity. To retain and attract the best personnel, continuous growth becomes not just a strategic choice but a necessity in creating a conducive environment for both professional and personal development.

"We needed to have a strong system in place to manage our real estate, not just for lease dates, but for many other thing –– That's where Leasecake has helped us greatly. I wish I'd started earlier, because lease management software really helped us."

Gary Robins

President of the Franchise Advisory Council of SuperCuts

Let's Talk Locations

Delving into location and lease management, Gary Robins emphasizes the pivotal role of real estate in achieving business success. He cautions against entrusting real estate decisions solely to franchisors, urging new franchisees to actively engage with landlords and brokers. Gary attributes a significant portion of their real estate success to cultivated relationships, providing a competitive advantage in securing prime locations.

Moving beyond relationships, Gary accentuates the dual nature of location selection, deeming it both an art and a science. While recognizing the traditional emphasis on “location, location, location” in real estate, he introduces a unique perspective tailored to the salon business: “manager, manager, manager.” The profound impact of skilled managers on salon success is underscored. Gary stresses the importance of a strategic blend of scientific factors, including demographics and traffic counts, and artistic considerations, involving firsthand exploration and assessment of potential sites. This meticulous approach to choosing locations is deemed indispensable before embarking on the opening of a new store.

Tips for Improving Efficiency as you Grow

As Gary’s business continued its growth trajectory, operational systems underwent the inevitable strain, transforming into more efficient structures once addressed. Notably, lease management emerged as a focal point, revealing a journey of adaptation. Initially, Gary relied on his Outlook calendar, marking lease end dates for the first few leases. However, the scalability of this approach hit a roadblock with 30 leases, prompting a shift to spreadsheet management when the business had approximately 10 locations. Yet, this method proved unsustainable with ongoing expansion, leading to missed dates and highlighting the critical need for an advanced system.

In the contemporary business landscape, missing a lease renewal date carries substantial risks amid high space demand, potentially exposing Gary to landlords seeking higher rents upon re-leasing. The reliance on a spreadsheet became obsolete, a realization rooted in personal challenges and the breakdown of traditional systems involving Outlook calendar reminders and spreadsheets due to the intricate nature of real estate management.

In response to the evolving needs of his expanding organization, Gary recognized the indispensable role of the Leasecake database. This centralized platform not only streamlined lease date management but also served as a repository for insurance certifications, licensing, and HVAC contracts, contributing to the overall efficiency of real estate operations. The implementation of robust systems became imperative, and Leasecake emerged as a pivotal tool in addressing multifaceted real estate requirements. Reflecting on this evolution, Gary expressed a desire for an earlier adoption of lease management software, acknowledging its efficacy in alleviating burdens and stress associated with leadership. The centralized access to information offered by Leasecake facilitated seamless delegation and rapid problem-solving, exemplified by a recent incident where a complex issue was resolved within two minutes, a task that would have taken hours without the streamlined capabilities of Leasecake.

The business journey, punctuated by numerous “Aha!” moments, found practical applications in negotiating letters of intent or leases. Gary, over time, identified approximately 5 or 6 nuanced elements crucial for the business in such negotiations. Leveraging Leasecake, these vital lease details could be swiftly accessed and integrated, simplifying the negotiation process. The platform’s efficiency in information retrieval, allowing for direct copy-and-paste into documents, underscored the tangible benefits of having a centralized system for lease management in Gary’s business landscape.

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