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How a Strategic Plan Helps When Things Don't Go as Expected Great Clips, Inc. President Rob Goggins knows first-hand how a strategic plan can make a difference for a business during challenging times.

Great Clips

Strategic plans can be a lifeline for companies looking to thrive in good times; those plans can also be a life preserver for companies hoping to survive challenging times. That's according to Rob Goggins, president of Great Clips, Inc., a 100 percent franchisee-owned walk-in hair salon business with more than 1,100 franchisees operating more than 4,400 salons across the U.S. and Canada.

Goggins and the executive team at Great Clips, Inc. regularly map strategies and success metrics for customer care, franchisee profitability, internal development and other areas important to the growth and health of their organization. They believe a well-defined strategy can be critical to success for franchisors and their franchisees.

"Good strategic planning helps you determine where you want to go and then identify the important actions and measurements that will get you there," Goggins says "And it can help when things don't go according to plan."

What does a strategic plan look like?

For a franchise organization like Great Clips, Inc., a strategic plan often focuses on establishing goals, objectives, and processes around the actions of those who work for the franchisor, including at the corporate office. Much of that work eventually affects everyone in the system, including franchisees and their salons.

Goggins offers an example of what that looks like. A couple of years ago, Great Clips, Inc. wanted to find out if there were consistent best practices among their more successful new franchisees. Was there a secret sauce that made it easier for these franchisees to gain traction when opening their first franchised hair salons?

"We launched a study to identify those practices that positively affected the odds of success in the first six months," Goggins says. "The study revealed that the most successful franchisees put a heavy focus on specific operational metrics from Day 1, and by doing so, they were able to find new and creative ways to serve more customers more efficiently."

Rob Goggins, president of Great Clips, Inc.
Image credit: Great Clips

Strategy leads to initiatives which lead to results.

The results of that study led to a major initiative that changed how Great Clips, Inc., as a franchisor, supports its new franchisees. The results of the initiative were impressive: new salon owners who received this support and executed on certain metrics had greater short- and long-term growth.

Goggins says what they learned from this initiative can be applied to any size business.

"First, it's a great example of execution," explains Goggins. "We identified a challenge and we assembled an internal group to tackle the issue and develop a plan. New franchisees saw positive results. Second, we're now applying what we learned to new challenges and opportunities, and then sharing what we learn across the system.

"And, last, it is proof of the strength of a strategic plan, which, in this case, helped define the challenge, establish direction, and decide how to allocate resources."

Goggins says having an established strategic plan has helped Great Clips, Inc. successfully navigate the challenges of 2020.

"Like most businesses this year, we've had to be nimble and adapt to the curveballs the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown at us. We narrowed our focus on the most important strategic goals that will help our franchisees survive and thrive in this environment."

If you want to know more about the value of investing in a franchise organization that's strong on strategy and execution, Great Clips wants to hear from you. Email us at or call 800-947-1143.

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