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Behind the Biz: Sport Clips

Terry Klinker describes the creed that drives him to keep working on expanding his business.

Terry Klinker, who recently ran for mayor of Rancho Bernardo, is the owner of Sport Clips stores in Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch. In this Behind the Biz column, Klinker talks about the challenge of expanding an unknown business in this community, how he's able to attract top talent and one thing he wonders about other small business owners in North County.

When did you open your business and why did you choose this community?  

We purchased the Rancho Bernardo/North Poway Sport Clips in March 2008, after it had been open for about 10 months. We opened the 4S Ranch store in April 2012, after almost two years of negotiation for this location. We live on the west side of 4S Ranch and have been active in the local community since we moved here from Chicago in 2000. This is a growing part of San Diego County and the business people we've met are determined to see the area prosper, even in challenging economic times.

What are some of the challenges you've faced? What have you learned from them?  

Sport Clips is still a relatively new brand in Southern California, even though it's been in Texas since 1993. The first store in San Diego opened in Carlsbad about six years ago and there are now 16 Sport Clips in the county and nearly 40 in SoCal. As a new brand, we initially had our biggest challenges at getting new clients to try our services, as well as gaining interest from the area's top hair stylists. They are an intregal part of growing our buiness. The fact that Sport Clips has been voted the top hair salon on the last three SignOnSanDiego.com Voters Polls has been very helpful in gaining top talent and more clients.

What distinguishes your business from others in the same industry?  

Sport Clips Haircuts fills a niche in the hair care market, targeting the male client who's not content with either the barber shop or the traditional hair salons. Since we hire experienced hair stylists, then train them on the best hair cutting techniques for men and boys, as well as all the lastest styles, we distinguish ourselves with high marks from our clientele. We also feature the MVP Experience, which includes a precision haircut, followed by a massaging Tea Tree shampoo and a classic hot towel treatment with facial pressure point manipulation, while reclining on a vibrating massage chair. The last part of the MVP includes a neck and shoulder massage. It's very relaxing, especially at the end of a hard day's work. Our stores also feature big screen HDTVs playing ESPN or the game, so you can keep up with all the action in sports while getting your haircut.

What's the best business advice you've been given, and what's your favorite advice to share?  

I read Tom Hopkins' classic business book years ago, and he offered the Creed of a Champion, which states, "I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. And the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail … and keep trying." There is no easy road to success—it winds and curves, but determination, perseverance and a good plan can help anyone achieve great things.

What changes, if any, would you like to see in the local business community?  

I'm a member of the [Rancho Bernardo Business Association] and the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce, so I attend a lot of mixers, receptions, and training sessions offered by these and other organizations. I am sometimes perplexed why some business people join groups like this, yet don't participate in their functions. As we build relationships with others, it creates opportunities to help one another grow our respective businesses.

Bonus: Is there anything else you'd like to share about owning your own business?  I love the independence of owning our own stores, as well as the challenge of growing the business. After 30 years in the corporate world, it would be very difficult for me to step away from being a small business owner. 

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