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How this Great Clips CEO drove 42 quarters of consecutive sales growth

Thought Leadership on Peer Advantage presented by Vistage International.

Want to know the secret behind a company’s transformation from a three-partner regional brand into a billion dollar empire?

Great Clips, under CEO and Vistage member Rhoda Olsen’s leadership, has consistently grown revenue for the past 42 quarters and now has 3,800 salon locations nationwide.

Whether it is for your small business, startup or franchise, Rhoda says she has followed these four steps to transform her business:

1: Have a consistent brand message

One of the biggest challenges CEOs face is reinforcing the company’s central identity. When Rhoda first became CEO, she also found herself facing this challenge. She wanted her brand to have a focus, and this was especially challenging for a large organization like Great Clips, where communication and collaboration could run the risk of being more fragmented.

When Rhonda interviewed her franchise executives, she found that her brand message needed to be clearer. So she hired a brand specialist to develop a consistent brand strategy that refined the language Great Clips used down to three core principles: comfort, freedom and connection.

2: Create a comprehensive feedback network

Having a solid communications network among all aspects of your business is another key step to driving growth within your company. As CEO, Rhoda knew that she had to establish a solid network to have greater control of the individual franchise locations, which could all have their own different approaches to running their salons.

As a result, Rhoda designed a network of communication among all locations that brings everyone together in-person to create a constant feedback loop. Every year, Great Clips has multiple meetings that gather employees of every level to connect with franchise owners and employees by building relationships that convey the strength of the brand’s vision.

3: Leverage technology to innovate around your core brand message

After you establish the core message of your brand, the next step is to determine how you will innovate your brand. By leveraging technology, Rhoda has been able to reach and meet the needs of her clients and franchise owners.

Throughout her tenure, she has invested in various technology initiatives throughout the company. Not only does Great Clips have a popular mobile app, but it also gathers data through a business innovation platform that helps them identify and retain more customers.

4: Identify and establish a mentoring relationship

The best business advice Rhoda has gotten as CEO of Great Clips was actually from her network of business mentors. Once you’ve been entrenched in your industry for years, having a fresh perspective from those outside your industry can inspire you and your company to continuously innovate.

For the past 17 years, Rhoda has been a Vistage member, where she receives peer-to-peer support from other CEOs from different industries. By becoming a Vistage member, Rhoda said she found herself constantly challenged and inspired by her peer business leaders.

“The mantra I try to quote as often as I can is that ‘the role of the leader is not to manage and change others but to manage and change yourself,’ ” she said.

Rhoda Olsen is the CEO of Great Clips and has been recognized by many as one of the leading female executives in the franchise industry.

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