GROOMING YOUR FRANCHISE: How Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids grew to be the largest children's hair salon in the competitive space.

Author:Courtney, Neal

Growth is one of the greatest and hardest ventures a young franchise will ever undertake. From identifying the right markets to partnering with the best fit franchisees, to launching in a new town, growth involves many pieces coming together in the right way. If one has a strong strategy and can think out-of-the-box, growth can be an even more fun challenge. Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids grew out of Indianapolis, during a time when there were less than 30 locations. Within five years, the company has grown to 99 salons, with 275 in development. Here are the strategies that worked for Cookie Cutters with actionable insights one can apply to his or her own strategy.

Target Secondary Markets

The major metropolitan markets are attractive. Cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas come with an appeal. They have large populations and bustling business scenes. However, they can also come with competition and oversaturation. After entering several top-tier markets, Cookie Cutters realized there was a larger opportunity in secondary markets. These were the up-and-coming cities, like Raleigh and Charlotte, the suburbs of major cities and Middle America where franchises are few and far between.

By targeting these markets, Cookie Cutters is able to saturate the area with their salons, cutting out the competition and building brand loyalty across multiple communities. Often in Middle America, there is a need and demand that a franchise can satisfy more so than over concentrated cities. Secondary markets provide a large growth opportunity for franchise concepts, with a few extra perks, such as rent and more real estate.

Sign Multi-Unit Development Deals

Any deal is a great accomplishment for a franchise brand, especially emerging franchises. For the brand looking towards rapid growth, multi-unit development deals are the quickest way. Cookie Cutters signs most deals as a three-pack. Some zealous franchisees opt for five or ten salon deals. By having a few franchisees sign onto multiple salons, Cookie Cutters ensures controlled growth. Multi-unit deals can take the form of multi-unit operators or area developers, both of which Cookie Cutters explores. Area developers can be an extension of the franchise development team, helping recruit other franchise partners to develop a certain territory. A mix of area developers and multi-unit operators can be beneficial for growth.

Have Systems in Place

Often, companies jump into franchising...

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