Buying a business ranks right up there as one of the most important purchasing decision a person will make, arguably even higher than a home or car purchase. Jim Atkinson understands this and approaches his role as franchise development director for Sport Clips Haircuts as one of a trusted advisor for those making such an important decision.
Atkinson says, “Franchise candidates are looking toward their next phase in life. I think it is essential to make sure what they are looking for is what Sport Clips is offering. It has to be a good fit for them.”
He continues, “I spend a lot of time listening. If someone is looking for a get rich quick scheme, this is not for them. But if they are looking for a strong, time-tested business model, then we are on the right track. Startup to return will take some time, patience and effort. This is not an immediate income replacement. This is an investment.”
Atkinson is a great resource for franchise candidates searching for their next step. He has worked with two of the biggest names in franchising, Sport Clips and The UPS Store, both listed in the top 10 of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 list. He is well positioned to help answer and guide someone through the franchising space.
Starting as a store manager for The UPS Store in college, he worked his way up through the organization. While still a store manager, a corporate accounts director for the brand saw Atkinson give a presentation to some prospective account executives, and hired Atkinson on the spot. From corporate accounts, he spent some time on the international team, industrial engineering and then in non-traditional sales before joining the Sport Clips team.
Of his experience, Atkinson says, “Having spent time in the operations side of a business early on helped me understand the importance of franchisee and franchisor relations.”
He goes on to say, “Something I have really come to respect about Sport Clips is they put their money where their mouth is operationally. They have 56 corporate stores. This helps them test new products and procedures to ensure they are viable from an operational standpoint. Once they have proven it works, then they will take it to the network.”
With recent organizational restructuring, Atkinson is now focusing on resales and helping franchisees develop their exit strategies. With Sport Clips entering its 25th year, it is entering a new phase as a mature brand. With that comes franchisees who are ready to retire or move on from the system, and Sport Clips is committing resources to ensure brand integrity.
Atkinson says, “Having a resource like this to help people exit the system is a necessary evolution of any franchise. The fact that the brand is providing a resource like this is demonstrative of their dedication to providing a complete inhouse toolbox for franchisees.”
He adds, “This is also great news for people coming in late to a mature market and for franchisees looking to scale within that market. There is now a dedicated resource to helping facilitate those resales.”
With Atkinson’s wealth of franchising knowledge and business acumen, he has some advice for the franchise candidate considering Sport Clips, “They need to examine their skill set and determine if those align with what will be required of them. Leading a store takes people skills. They have to enjoy working with people and being involved in their community. They should also feel comfortable in a salon environment.”
He concludes, “For the right candidate, Sport Clips offers a proven business model that provides a path to freedom, flexibility and stability. It is all about whether the offering is a good fit. It’s a big decision. I will help advise and provide all the information a person needs to make the best decision for their lifestyle and financial goals.”
For more information on the Sport Clips offering, click here.