Top Players in Franchise Development: Beth Caron
Top Players in Franchise Development: Beth Caron

Beth Caron, the Director of Franchise Development for Great Clips, has helped to guide the fast-growing brand's marketing and lead generation for store development.

In college, Beth Caron was set on becoming a TV reporter. She loved the feeling of being on camera and hearing people’s stories, but after an internship at a local TV station she realized that reporting wasn’t quite the right fit for her and ultimately decided to go a different path. Caron spent a few years working in retail before an opportunity arose with Great Clips that she couldn’t pass up. She started with the company as a consultant relations coordinator under the direction and guidance of current COO, Rob Goggins.

Nine years later, Caron now holds the position of Director of Franchise Development and oversees marketing and lead generation for store development. Most recently, we had the chance to speak with Caron to learn more about her role, secrets on thriving as a leader and future expansion plans for Great Clips.

Switching into business, how were your first couple of years at Great Clips?

I had to learn everything about franchising. I truly just tried to be a sponge as much as I possibly could. I probably annoyed my boss more than he cared to admit by asking questions about everything. I had to do a lot of on-the-spot learning and googling about business basics that I didn’t know.

What do you like most about your job?

I’m a people person, and my favorite part is connecting with people on all levels at Great Clips. I find out a lot about what’s going on in the company just from walking around the office. You get a completely different perspective on the franchisees and their staff when you spend time and stay with them. All of these things make me excited and keep me going.

Great Clips has been in business for 34 years. How has the brand been able to stay relevant as times and technology change?

The biggest brand refresh was in 2005 or 2006 when Great Clips was going through a bit of a slump. The executive team really buckled down and asked, “What is it that sets us apart? Who are we and what do we mean to our customers?” It was really just taking everything and boiling it down to the key brand measures that are going to drive our business. That was the message that was hammered home to corporate and every single franchisee. This renewed focus invigorated Great Clips and that’s why we’ve seen 48 quarters of salon sales growth since then.

How have you reacted to the challenges you’ve encountered?

I’ve been very blessed and lucky because being in my position there have been opportunities for me to be promoted and take on additional responsibilities, but I didn’t feel like I was ready to take these on. For me, I have a tendency to get very comfortable in my current position and it’s important to realize that even if you’re not ready for a role, sometimes you need to take a blind leap and learn it as you go. Every single time I’ve done that, my team has always believed in me and helped me even though I didn’t believe in myself. It's always turned out to be an incredible opportunity. I look back at the situation that I was in and think that I was so bored; I wasn’t pushing myself. I feel exceptionally fortunate to have people in this organization who have.

Another challenge is figuring out the balance between bringing in new franchisees and saying, “OK, we have enough in this area.” The fresh blood that you bring in with the new, excited franchisee sometimes propels the current franchisees to continue their growth as well. It’s all a push and pull. There’s a lot of ambiguity. There’s a lot of nuance. There’s a lot of conversations and then there’s some disagreements. Ultimately, we just have to keep reminding ourselves of what’s best for the company long-term.

What are some of the steps that your most successful franchisees take to grow their business?

One of the most important things is developing relationships with existing franchisees. A lot of times people think that they can go at it alone. It’s especially vital when you are part of an organization where franchisees are willing to share information and want to help because they understand that the more successful franchisees are, the more successful the brand is as a whole.

What lessons have you learned about leadership throughout the years?

I have been so lucky to have an incredible role model when it comes to leadership. Rob [Goggins] hired me and I’ve been able to report to him the nine years that I’ve been here at Great Clips. I think that if you have a good role model on what leadership is, that’s the most valuable thing that you can possibly have while learning how to become a leader yourself. Another important lesson I’ve learned is the importance of listening and seeking to understand before jumping to conclusions. If you run into a situation where you’re not really sure what happened, seek clarity and ask questions first before running into a situation with only your perception.

What are your future growth plans for Great Clips?

We’re set on filling in the places where we don’t have existing franchisees already planning development. Canada has a lot of open opportunity for continued growth and development. There’s a few other areas in the United States that we haven’t developed yet so we are planning on selectively opening those markets in the next five to ten years.