As a new franchise owner you are probably keenly aware that you face all the same challenges faced by any new small business owner. Here are four tips that can help you be a better leader as a first-time boss, right out of the gate.

First-Time Boss – 4 Leadership Tips for New Franchise Owners

At the end of the day, the success of your new franchise might come down to leadership more so than any other factor, so here are four important ways you can improve your leadership abilities.

If you have just opened up your first franchise business or you are considering franchise opportunities that will allow you to become a small business owner for the first time, you probably have a fairly long list of priorities to accomplish. One “to do” item that might not have made your list yet is improving your leadership abilities, but we would like to make the case for putting this priority high up on your list.

Is leadership really that important? The CEO Institute sums it up this way, “Leadership is the major factor that makes everything work together seamlessly; without leadership, all other business resources are ineffective.”

While we have all come across organizations (and most of us have even worked in some) that managed to carry on and even grow with poor leaders in place, it begs the question: How much more successful could those businesses have been with good leadership at the helm?

As a new franchise owner, you probably have thought about the type of leader you want to be, especially if you have worked in an organization with bad leadership before. Though you might have the best of intentions, the pressures of acting as a leader for the first time (especially in light of all the other challenges you will face as a business owner) might cause you to revert to some of the negative leadership styles you have seen demonstrated before.

First-Time Bosses – 4 Key Leadership Principles for Franchise Owners

Focus and Vision

“The leader’s singular job is to get results.” Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, writing on Harvard Business Review

There will be many, many situations and problems that arise in the life of a franchise business that have the power to distract franchise owners from the goals they need to remain focused on in order to run a successful business. When focus is lost, and key goals are no longer the focus of day to day priorities, organizational vision goes by the wayside too.

The Big Picture

“A leaderless organization is like an army without generals.” The Importance of Leadership in BusinessSmall Business Chronicle

Franchise employees aren’t foot soldiers, but the analogy is worth evaluation. Soldiers on the front line don’t usually have the big picture; they see only a small portion of the battlefield. They can only be successful with leadership that understands how to effectively deploy all of the units, weapons and strategies to achieve victories in individual battles; and ultimately, to ‘win the war.’

New franchise owners – even those that find themselves fulfilling ‘front line’ roles within the business as so often happens in the early days of any small business – must also maintain perspective relative to the big picture. You have to know how all the parts of your franchise business need to work together in order to achieve the short and long range goals you have for the organization.

Self-Awareness and Empathy

“When good leadership is in place in a company, it can be felt throughout the entire organization… Bad leadership can also be felt throughout the entire organization – only not in a good way.” Good Leaders Are Invaluable To A Company. Bad Leaders Will Destroy It. Forbes Magazine

In the early days of a franchise business, the franchise owner might be the only leader. As the business grows or new franchise opportunities open up and are added to the organization, more leaders will be put in place. Franchise owners must be aware not only of how their leadership style affects the organization, but must also be empathetic to how their employees are faring under the other leaders and managers in the organization. Leaving a bad leader in place anywhere in the franchise will be a drag on productivity and morale.

Doing Things Right vs. Doing the Right Thing

“A leader is someone who does the right thing, whereas a manager does things right. Or to put it another way, management is an occupation, leadership is a calling.” Importance of Developing Leadership

There is no final destination on the journey toward becoming a good leader; it’s a constant evolution. Don’t be afraid to ask trusted peers, friends, and even the people who work for you how you can improve as a leader, and make it safe for them to give you constructive feedback. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to move people out of leadership roles they are not ready or suited for. Don’t be afraid to recognize and reward staff members who step up inside or outside of their regular roles. Hire smart people who are good for your organizational culture, equip them to move and be ready to take a few chances on their recommendations.

As you grow your new franchise or open up new franchise locations, remember that you will constantly be given opportunities to learn new things about yourself and others that can make you a better leader. The more you risk changing yourself, the greater your potential reward.

You might also like: Sole Props – The Rise of Independent Workers in the US – Infographic


Franchise point of sale equipment, card processing and cash advance financing:

One of the most important decisions you’ll make for your franchise is deciding on a franchise credit card processing solution. Our merchant services are transparent and competitive and seamlessly integrate point-of-sale equipment, loyalty marketing, gift cards and more, which can save you money, time and frustration. We also offer cash advance financing for franchisees who want to expand or need to meet a cash flow challenge in the short term.

Get a free, no-risk quote for franchise credit card processing or a cash advance: 

Field is required!
Field is required!
Field is required!
Field is required!
Interested in (check all that apply)
Field is required!
Field is required!

A while back the Great Clips salon franchise celebrated a decade-long winning streak – 40 straight quarters of growth. Find out how to grow like Great Clips and turn your salon or salon suite into a chain – or even a salon franchise.

Strategies for Growing a Salon or Salon Suite into a Chain or Salon Franchise

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that “Great Clips executives and franchisees on Tuesday celebrated a decade-long winning streak that they reached by the closest of shaves.” You may not be able to replicate the success of Great Clips, an organization of 3,600 salon franchise locations with a continuous string of 40 straight quarters of growth over 10 years. But if you want to see your salon or salon suite evolving into chain or franchise business opportunity over the next 10 years, these three strategies can help.

Take-Aways from Great Clips Fast-Paced Growth Clip

Growing a salon or salon suite – whether you want to make it more profitable or expand new salon locations – or even going from booth renter to salon owner, takes time, money, talent and strategy. In 7 Take-Aways From Great Clips’ 40 Quarters of Growth we find a list of several strategies that helped propel Great Clips to hit this growth milestone, including:

  • A strong core of corporate marketing, branding and advertising at the heart of the franchise
  • Focus – relentless pursuit of a clearly-defined target market
  • Locations well-suited for their business model
  • A client-centric approach based on their “ideal client types”
  • Strong buy-in from salon franchise owners and managers
  • Big picture connection, education and support for all managers and salon store owners via corporate conventions, which are held every two years; and
  • Tracking of important benchmarks, goals, analytics and results

Even if your salon’s business model is far removed from that of Great Clips’, the same principles apply when it comes to marketing, branding, finding and engaging your target markets, getting staff buy in and setting measurable goals (and actually measuring progress against them). We found three key areas, in particular, where salon owners simply cannot cut corners if they want to grow and expand their salon to new locations or develop their own salon franchise business model.

3 Keys for Growing a Salon or Salon Suite into a Chain or Salon Franchise

Don’t Skimp on Salon Branding

Developing a strong salon brand is about more than choosing a font and a logo. Your brand isn’t constrained to its visual identity!

At its core, your brand is the set of perceptions that exist in a client’s mind relative to your salon. Each time a client visits your salon, calls for an appointment, visits your salon website or interacts with you or any member of your staff, their perception about your brand is affected positively or negatively.

Some of the aspects of the client experience that impact whether your clients perceive your salon’s brand in the way you most want them to include:

  • salon web site look, feel and apps (online booking, click to call, map and directions, ability to choose the right products and order products online, photos or app for choosing a new look, etc.)
  • the way you present your salon and your services on social networks
  • on-hold, after hours and live phone greetings
  • flexibility and availability if clients need to reschedule
  • quality of services
  • type and quality of retail products
  • waiting area, service area, back bar and shampoo area, restrooms, etc.
  • location of your salon and exterior / approach areas
  • email and text updates and reminders – and more
  • payment or credit card processing – end of client visit experience
  • rewards and loyalty marketing done after the sale

When you consider that each and every client touch point has the ability to impact how they feel about the brand of your salon and how they feel about doing business with you or recommending your services to their friends, loved ones and colleagues, it becomes pretty clear that you must think through how each of these touch points can be engineered to create a positive experience.

Don’t Skimp on Strategic Planning

Many small businesses – including many salons – don’t have a strategic plan. As a result, much effort is spent experimenting with various programs, marketing ideas, events and advertisements; often, with little or nothing to show for it.

Your strategic plan should look like a road map to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be next year, in three years, five years or even ten years down the road. The picture of where your salon or salon suite is now includes the opportunities that you feel offer the best chance to grow, especially if you want to open a new salon or salon suite location, grow into a chain or turn your concept into a salon franchise.

If you don’t have a strategic plan, start small. Working with your leadership team or trusted peers, answer these five questions:

  • Where are we now? (number of locations, number of stylists, revenue, number of clients, retail sales to service ratio, new clients per month, client turnover, employee turnover)
  • Why do we exist? (mission statement, identification of typical and/or “ideal” client types and target audience to be served)
  • Where do we want to grow in 12 months – 36 months – 60 months? (vision statement + how much should the “Where are we now?” numbers grow?)
  • How will we get where we want to grow? (marketing channels to be added, salon financing needed, and/or business and marketing tactics to be used to get the desired growth outlined in the previous question)
  • How will we know when we get there? (how will progress be measured, how often will results be assessed, and who is accountable?

Don’t Skimp on People

Most business owners will tell you their employees set their organization apart – and this is true, but it’s important to remember that having the wrong people in place or having people in place that are not engaged or bought in to your salon’s plan for growth will have a negative impact. As you work toward adding new salon or salon suite locations, or developing your concept for growth as a business franchise, be just as strategic when it comes to the organization culture you want to create in the process.


If working capital is all that stands between you and your dream of expanding your salon to a second location or a salon chain, or turning your salon’s concept into a salon franchise business model, we can help!

We offer salon business loans, advances and equipment financing that can be used for growing a salon whether that means adding new services, financing salon equipment, building out a salon or opening a new location. While banks usually say no when it comes to salon financing if you or your business has a low credit score or credit problems, bad credit won’t automatically disqualify you from getting salon financing using a business (ACH) or merchant cash advance salon financing program.

In addition, we offer some of the lowest salon card processing rates in the US, and we can help demystify credit card processing fees for you. Even if you just want to compare your current payment processing solution to see if you could be saving money by changing merchant services providers, we would be happy to give you a free, no-obligation quote.

Get a quote for salon payment processing or salon cash advance:

Field is required!
Field is required!
Field is required!
Field is required!
Interested in (check all that apply)
Field is required!
Field is required!

Franchise owners who want to capitalize on franchise-friendly consumer spending should take time to analyze their overall business strategy now, in order to get maximum benefit from increased consumer activity. Here are four key areas to consider.

Strong employment and economic numbers mean continued consumer spending beneficial to franchise owners, in particular. Employment strength in key segments including automotive and restaurants could mean continued good news for the economy overall.

4 Questions Can Help Franchise Owners Capitalize on Franchise-Friendly Consumer Spending

Is the Franchise Living Up to the Brand Standard?

Brand awareness could be playing a key role in the shopper’s decision to favor franchise businesses over competitors. This is an ideal time for franchise owners to evaluate their location and ensure that it is fully compliant with brand standards, not only in policies and appearance, but in the intangibles a brand may have come to represent, such as its values and attitude.

Is the Franchise Providing a Better-than-Expected Customer Experience?

Franchise location standards and policies set the stage, but it is still up to franchise leaders to evaluate the customer experience and find ways to make it better – better than the customer expected and better than the customer will experience at competitor’s locations. This could be an ideal time for franchise owners to:

  • invest in employee development and training relative to customer service
  • have their stores shopped for independent feedback
  • shop competitor’s stores to compare the customer experience
  • empower staff to solve customer problems as quickly as possible
  • upgrade credit card processing equipment and loyalty marketing software to better-serve local customers

Is the Franchise Contributing to Local Marketing?

Although franchise owners often benefit from brand name recognition, national and regional advertising and other marketing provided by parent organizations, that does not mean there is not more that can be done to help promote their own locations. In fact, supplementing the marketing done by the parent company with the same local marketing tactics that small and independent business owners employ could help a franchisee grow their own locations more quickly.

Is the Franchise Ready to Grow?

A franchise-friendly rise in consumer spending could represent the ideal conditions for a franchise to add additional square footage to its location, increase the number of employees, or expand by opening new stores. If a location is already fairly busy, increased consumer activity might even be difficult for the store to handle, so having a plan for hiring, growth and expansion is critical.

With U.S. shoppers sending signals indicating consumer spending will be adequate not only to sustain but to grow businesses in the months to come, franchise owners have a real opportunity to gain market share. By analyzing the customer experience and planning for future growth, they can quickly position their stores to grow and become more profitable.

Growth in Key Employment Segments Indicate Franchise-Friendly Consumer Spending

According to 2010 data published by the U.S. Census Bureau, just over one in 10 U.S. businesses are franchises. In 2016, franchise employment grew at an average of 0.4%, twice that of small businesses comprised of 1-49 employees which has enjoyed a 0.2% monthly average employment growth. 20,000 of the 205,000 jobs added in January 2016 were in the franchise sector. Among the sixteen sectors reflected in the report, nine showed net gains including:

  • 5% – Gas Stations and Auto Repair
  • 5% – Personal Services
  • 5% – Building Material and Garden Equipment
  • 5% – Manufacturing
  • 4% – Restaurants
  • 3% – Auto Parts and Dealers
  • 2% – Food Retailers
  • 1% – Professional Services
  • 1% – Real Estate

While rental franchise employment growth remained unchanged, five franchise employer segments experienced net job losses; including:

  • -0.6% – Business Services
  • -0.4% – Education
  • -0.3% – Accommodations
  • -0.2% – Leisure
  • -0.1% – Other

With growth rates of employment rates for U.S. franchises double those of the private sector, franchise owners should be paying attention to the reasons that might be bringing consumers in to their businesses vs. their non-franchise competitors. Given that one of the advantages franchise owners enjoy is brand name recognition, it may be presumed that shoppers are choosing to spend their money in establishments where they are confident of the customer experience and quality products and services they expect to receive.


We offer credit card processing solutions that are ideal for franchise businesses who want flexible point-of-sale equipment and software customized to the unique needs of their location. If you are ready to grow but lack capital, our merchant cash advance works seamlessly with your credit card processor to give you access to a line of credit with easy repayment options.

Get a free, no-obligation quote:

Field is required!
Field is required!
Field is required!
Field is required!
Interested in (check all that apply)
Field is required!
Field is required!

Though franchise businesses often benefit from marketing done by parent organizations, local franchise marketing strategies can enhance customer acquisition, engagement, relationships and loyalty even more.

A franchise parent company’s national marketing efforts may create significant brand awareness; however, the traits that local consumers look for in a business aren’t conveyed in national marketing, they can only be communicated at the local level. These local franchise marketing strategies can help you connect with local consumers on top of the marketing done at the national level by your franchise business’ parent company.

4 Local Franchise Marketing Strategies Enhance Parent Company Support

1. Local Word of Mouth Marketing for Franchise Businesses

Reviews are the new word of mouth; 9 out of ten consumers trust them as much as personal recommendations. Ensuring that your franchise location is getting reviews from local consumers on Yelp, Facebook, Google and similar review sites tells local residents that your location follows through on the promises made in the franchise’s national marketing campaigns.

Your franchise word of mouth marketing strategy can also be enhanced through your involvement in the community through give-back programs and by participating in local business networking, Chamber of Commerce and similar groups. If you have space to host a business or networking group, your franchise location could benefit even more by bringing likely customers and likely word of mouth referrers into your business on a regular basis.

2. Local Social Media Marketing for Franchise Businesses

Your franchise’s parent company may have national social media profile pages; however, that does little to help your franchise location connect with members of your local target market. If your parent company offers the opportunity to create branch pages, make sure that you are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Local residents may be aware of your franchise’s national brand, but that doesn’t mean they are aware of your location. Use the best practices that any small business would use on social networks for your franchise business location’s social media page, including hyper-local targeting of sponsored posts and ads.

3. Personal, Personalized Email Marketing for Franchise Businesses

Assuming your franchise organization doesn’t prohibit email marketing at the local level, your franchise business can use email marketing to put a personal spin on your franchise location, even for the most well-known of franchise brands. Using your email marketing to highlight team members, talk about community activities and tell local customer’s stories bring your location’s marketing down to the local level. Personalizing emails with offers and information specifically relevant to people who live in geographic area is another great way to put a personal touch on a national brand.

You may be able to use your point of sale credit card processing solution to collect customer emails at each transaction by offering to send a receipt via email (rather than print) or subscribing the customer up for future sales, discounts and loyalty programs.

4. Loyalty and Retention Marketing for Franchise Businesses

Loyalty and retention is another area that national brand marketing activities have little ability to influence, since it begins and ends with the customer experience. Likewise, your parent company may have a loyalty or rewards program, but if your franchise location is not actively promoting its use with local residents, its ability to influence your customers to come back or make personal referrals may render these programs completely ineffective.

Here, again, is where your payment transaction credit card processing equipment and software can help you grow. When customers receive loyalty rewards or points automatically every time they make a purchase, they perceive increased value in choosing to do business with you over other local competitors.

Strengthen Parent Company Marketing Activities with 4 Local Franchise Marketing Strategies

The International Franchise Association (IFA) Franchise Business Economic Outlook  projects another good year of economic growth for the franchise industry. The sectors growing the most among franchise businesses include:

  • personal services
  • lodging and accommodations
  • business services
  • quick-service restaurants
  • retail products and services
  • commercial and residential services

With an outlook for growth and the marketing support provided as an inherent benefit enjoyed by most franchise business owners, your franchise stands to benefit even more if you add local franchise marketing strategies to the mix, because local marketing gives members of your target audience what they say they want most in relationships with local businesses:

  • 86% – customer service, customer-focused
  • 84% – personal, intimate, human, face-to-face
  • 84% – knows the customer and their needs
  • 84% – easy to do business with
  • 83% – local, close by and convenient
  • 82% – reliable, consistent, there when you need them
  • 81% – owner-operated, committed, accountable

(Source: and Toluna, “Consumer and Small Business Perception Survey”)