The franchisor has also played a really important role in making my stores so successful. Since the new location, for example, was really slow at first, I had to put a lot of my own money into it. Buildout cost a lot already, and then I needed inventory.
I went to Trade Secrets and told them how much I had spent already, explaining I still needed inventory that would cost me $40,000 or $50,000 more. I would typically need to pay for that myself, but because of the circumstances at the new store, this time I asked them if they’d be willing to help me out.
They didn’t even flinch. They asked me how much I would be comfortable paying per month, and agreed to the number I gave them within a second. They also said for this new store, for up to six to eight months, they won’t charge me a single penny for marketing. Whatever I need from them, I can just ask for it and it will be ready.
I really appreciate that if I need to, I can just call Trade Secrets and talk to the owner, Joe Belloti, right away. Even if I were to contact him out of the blue today, as long as he’s in the office, I know he’ll make time for me. He’ll sit with me and go over what my sales are or what I need help with.
Still, though, the franchisor’s team gets really busy themselves with hundreds of locations all over the country. Sometimes, if I need something, they might not be able to get it to me the same day, so I’ll drive by head office and pick it up myself. I think if you’ve got someone compromising to help you, you also have to adjust and meet them in the middle.
A culture of improvement
Right now, I spend four or five days a week at my Trade Secrets franchise locations. My day usually follows sort of an on-call structure. I wake up, I go to the gym, and then I go to one of the stores. I might stay at that location until 3:30 or 4 p.m., then I’ll go to another, and then I’ll head to a third one and stay there until closing. I try to do a couple of hours at every store on weekdays, but on Sundays, I’ll work at one store the whole day. It gives me a better idea of how each location is doing.
On those days, I’ll often talk to my staff about how sales are. Have there been any declines? Even if customers are coming, are they making purchases? Also, I always look around the store for the brands we sell the most to make sure we’re not running out of their products. There’s so much competition nowadays, you don’t want customers coming in for something specific and not being able to get it. If they don’t find it here, they’ll look for it somewhere else, and once they get it somewhere else, that other store will be their first choice, not us. I don’t want to be second choice—if someone is coming to us first, I want to make it a habit.
I’ve had people say I’m being money hungry by working every day, but in response I usually tell them if an athlete works out seven days a week, no one says anything bad about that. Instead, they appreciate how that person is working hard all the time to improve their game. I don’t have a game—this is my game. So, why shouldn’t I work seven days a week to improve it?
I try to get my sales staff motivated in the same way. I encourage them to participate as much as possible in the daily work of the store, getting involved with promotions, adding new services, quantity selection, and more. That gives them a sense of ownership, which makes them feel more responsible for the overall growth of the location.
One change I’ve noticed recently is when I go into the store, my staff will take the initiative and tell me how things are going right away. They’ve started talking to me about the numbers, which is something I really like to see. If the staff are communicating with each other about whether or not they’re doing well and it doesn’t always come from me, it creates an environment where everyone wants to succeed.
As of the writing of this article, I’m on track to take over two more stores, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing my franchise grow even more. Being part of this franchise system has been an amazing experience for me and a great opportunity for growth. I know first-hand it’s possible to be successful without a franchise, but it takes years and a huge amount of hard work. If you can save the time and hassle by taking advantage of what a franchise system can do for you, then you can invest your time where it’s needed most and build even greater success.
Rakesh Sharma is a multi-unit Trade Secrets franchisee based in Toronto. For more information, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GLAMOUR SECRETS BEAUTY BAR
Established in: 2014
Date of first franchise: 2014
Franchised/corporate units in Canada: 17
Investment range: $200,000 – $300,000
Initial franchise fee: $35,000
Website: glamoursecretsbeautybar.ca, gsbeautygroup.com