Franchise Expert Wade Brannon Shares 5 Ways to Drive Competition Within Your Business

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The president of the Pigtails & Crewcuts franchise gives advice on keeping franchise owners and employees ambitious and engaged

"Look, this is our investment. We want to know how other salons are doing. If they’re doing great, we want to learn from them. And if our neighbor is doing poorly, we want to step in there and mentor and motivate them and get the business back in shape."

When people hear the word “competition” in business, they often think of those they’re working against—the competing restaurant, the competing ice cream shop, the competing salon. According to Wade Brannon, president of Pigtails & Crewcuts salon franchise, based in Atlanta, Georgia, the most effective form of competition actually comes from within the business, itself.

“In the 30 years I have worked as an executive in the franchise industry, I have seen, time and again, franchisees push themselves to do better than the other franchisees. In my opinion, that sense of competition is one of the biggest bonuses to being involved in a franchise business: it’s a reminder that you’re not alone and it keeps you on your toes, striving to improve yourself and the brand.”

With more than 40 children’s hair salons across the U.S. in the Pigtails & Crewcuts franchise, Brannon says he’s constantly surprised by just how competitive his franchisees are. For example, he says that every year the corporate office visits each salon and performs an evaluation. The grade is then shared with the salon owner.

This year, he says, the salons voted to share the evaluation scores among themselves so they they could compare one another, while also ensuring quality in their brand. “They said to us, ‘Look, this is our investment. We want to know how other salons are doing. If they’re doing great, we want to learn from them. And if our neighbor is doing poorly, we want to step in there and mentor and motivate them and get the business back in shape,’” says Brannon. “In a franchise business, one single store can reflect really well or really poorly on the whole company.”

Brannon shared the following tips on how to make the most of friendly competition to drive business.
1.    Increase employee engagement. Without engagement, there can be no competition. First, a definition. Employee engagement has become something of a buzz word. But what does it really mean? It means a work force that’s interested and driven in the business. Franchisors have the ability to engage and motivate franchisees just as business owners have the ability to engage and motivate employees. They do it by understanding them. What are their goals? What represents a reward to them? What will make them want to work harder? Learn those answers and engagement is near.
2.    Measure everything. Track sales, track social media followers, track repeat customers—track anything you can track. This gives franchisees and employees measured data that they can look at year over year and compete with themselves.
3.    Publish those metrics. Numbers are always more meaningful when compared with other numbers. You might be surprised at just how motivated employees and franchisees become when they learned that Sally ranks ahead of them, or Stan is creeping up on them. Numbers have the power to create more competition than any boss could.
4.    Award awards. Host an award ceremony each year, either at the office or at a separate event, and give thanks for a job well done, singling out your best and brightest. By celebrating good work, a business leader is not just demonstrating appreciation. He or she is also planting a seed in the minds of the rest of the workforce, many of whom will work that much harder to be recognized next year.
5.    Create scorecards. Don’t just evaluate the business. Evaluate the staff and how they handle business on a day-to-day basis. That can include timeliness in filing reports, cleanliness of the store, marketing maneuvers or any categories vital to the way the business is run. Use the scorecard as a conversation starter to discuss what’s working, what’s not working, to delve into any issues the staff might be experiencing and learn from business triumphs. Franchise businesses might want to consider publishing this information for other franchisees to see. It will, again, inspire a healthy sense of competition and also enable colleagues and competitors to share best practices and advice.

Wade Brannon is the president of Pigtails & Crewcuts, based in Atlanta, Georgia. To learn more go to

About Pigtails & Crewcuts
Founded in 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia, Pigtails & Crewcuts is a children’s hair salon franchise dedicated to making haircuts fun and stress-free for young patrons and their parents. With more than 40 locations across the nation, Pigtails & Crewcuts specializes in quality haircuts for boys and girls of all ages, and also hosts children’s parties. In 2010, named Pigtails & Crewcuts one of the Top 10 Chains for Kid Birthday Parties. In addition, Pigtails & Crewcuts has been named to the “Franchise 500” list as a top franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine for five consecutive years. To learn more, go to

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Sheri Bannister