Named Sport Clips Haircuts Team Leader 2016 Rookie of the Year, Walid Haddad felt the entrepreneurial tug early in life. At just 19, he took over his father’s gas station operation, running it for 12 years. He then went on to own his own gas station for another 16 years before investing in Sport Clips. More recently, his Sport Clips store in Lancaster, CA outperformed all other first year stores in the network.
With his entrepreneurial spirit, innovative marketing and commitment to always improve, Haddad exemplifies the heart of a champion. And with his second location about to open, his momentum shows no signs of slowing down.
Prior to investing in Sport Clips, Haddad found owning and operating a gas station to be very labor and time intensive. With high overhead costs, and his lease not being renewed, he decided it was time to look into a new investment, one that better fit his long term financial and lifestyle goals.
“Owning and operating a gas station is a lot of work. With it being open 24 hours a day, you have to be ready all the time,” explains Haddad. “It seems like everything that can go wrong, goes wrong in the middle of the night. It was time for a change.”
Haddad took his search to the internet. He began exploring investments that would require less of a time commitment than the gas station, as he did not want to be stuck in a store all the time. He wanted something that would allow him to get involved with his community. His search led him to the Sport Clips offering.
“It was a perfect match for what I was looking for. The semi-absentee business model was ideal. And the model is highly scalable, meaning the opportunities for growth are there,” Haddad states. “The concept is great and really something I could get behind. I also appreciate how transparent the leadership is. I knew I wanted to be a part of the brand.”
Haddad also credits Sport Clips’ support system with helping him get through his first year. “I received constant support from Sport Clips as well as other Team Leaders. They gave advice and welcomed visits to other stores. Everyone was always available to answer questions and give guidance. The Team Leader Training and weekly calls and guidelines were extremely helpful in helping me devise a strategy.”
He goes on to say, “Sport Clips’ reputation among the Stylist community has been extremely helpful in my recruiting efforts as well. The brand is known as a good place to work with opportunities for career development. I have Stylists who commute quite a distance just to work here. Finding quality candidates has never been an issue for me, even in Lancaster, a community that is off the beaten path.”
Haddad credits his store’s outstanding first year performance on the quality of his staff. “After we got off the ground, we never looked back. It had a lot to do with the fantastic manager and team I had in place. They delivered that ultimate championship experience Sport Clips is known for and it kept people coming back again and again.”
Further contributing to Haddad’s successful first year was his enterprising marketing, getting as many Clients into the door to experience the championship experience. “The use of Buddy Cards really helped get our name out there in the community. The return rate is exceptionally good. And once we got them here, they became loyal.”
Haddad was not afraid to give away complimentary haircuts and took the short-term losses for long term gain, doing a lot of promotions within the community and local businesses. He says, “I gave away boxes of coupons to business owners to put by their cash registers and to companies to put in their break rooms. There is a prison in our area, which employs more than 800 people. I gave them over 1,000 coupons to give to those employees, “
“I went all-in in my community. I took out ads on the local radio stations and sponsored AAA baseball teams, little league teams, contributed to school fundraiser gift baskets and local charities. The strategy was to get people in the doors and the experience provided by my team would take it from there. “
His advice to other Team Leaders, “Your staff can make or break your business. Always treat them well and respect them. Recruiting the right people is important. We use contests and rewards to get people excited and motivated. And then it is about being available and approachable. When I am in the store, I try to help them out as much as I can. I like to bring in lunch when I can. My manager is great at remembering birthdays. We have a “treasure box” with little incentives. It’s all about making people feel appreciated. When you do that, they want to give you their best.”
Haddad adds, “It is also important to look for ways to improve. When you stop trying to improve, you lose your competitive edge. You become stagnant. As a brand, Sport Clips is constantly improving. Their recent upgrade to Salon Ultimate is an example. The online tools are fantastic. The new system has been really helpful in running my store. I now have more data on performance and averages and the online check-in capability is going over great with Clients. “
2016 was a dynamic year for Haddad, and 2017 is shaping up in much the same way. His commitment to putting people and community first and his drive to constantly improve has been an asset to the Sport Clips network. With another store opening this year, Haddad is well on his way to achieving his investment goals that brought him to the brand.
For more information on the Sport Clips offering and whether it is right for you, click here.