Illinois salon franchise goes paperless with G-Suite

Customer Success

Illinois salon franchise goes paperless with Google Workspace (formerly G-Suite) 

The Hands Group was rapidly expanding, and communication between store managers was becoming more difficult. With the help of Pythian, all 32 stores were equipped with Chromebooks, Google Workspace applications, and a cloud-based communications hub.


Tanja and Dave Hands of The Hands Group, Inc., purchased their first Great Clips franchise in 2006. Over the next 14 years, these savvy business owners expanded to 32 locations across central Illinois—including an acquisition that added 10 new stores in a single day. The more they grew, however, the more their infrastructure began to hold them back. Communicating with store managers involved a complicated mix of handwritten paperwork, faxes, emails, and phone calls; chasing down accurate, complete information was all in a day’s work. 
They had several challenges impeding their growth: 

  • Inundated by paper. Store managers relied on inefficient (and often illegible) hard copy forms and faxes to exchange information. 
  • Missing information. Tanja and staff at headquarters spent hours each day deciphering handwriting, tracking down details, and re-entering data into spreadsheets and reports
  • No IT resources. As a small business, they lacked the internal resources to architect a solution or oversee complicated technology
  • Unable to scale. With more than three dozen stores and 200 employees around the state, they needed more effective and secure ways to operate

Technology was the answer. However, having experimented with Windows laptops and free email accounts, Tanja knew they needed a better option: more storage capacity, greater security, durable hardware, and all on a small-business budget. They also needed IT expertise to oversee strategy and implementation. 

With the help of Pythian, all 32 stores were equipped with Chromebooks, G-Suite applications and a cloud-based communications hub. 

What we did

  • Conducted a remote workshop with the client to create detailed requirements that would support analytics initiatives within its complex supply chain 
  • Unleashed productivity with right-sized solutions: 
    • Google tools across the business. They outfitted all 32 store managers, as well as district managers and home office staff, with Google Chromebooks, company email accounts, and access to G-Suite applications like Docs, Sheets, and Calendar 
    • Guidance from Pythian. Once Tanja shared her vision, the Pythian team helped bring it to life with guidance on hardware, applications, security, user permissions, and processes. We provided implementation, training, and ongoing support 
    • No more paper. Important documents reside on a cloud-based communications hub as digital forms and Google Docs, with permission-based access for stylists, managers, human resources, and owners 
    • Streamlined processes. Data now flows seamlessly from digital forms to Google Sheets and company systems. Document updates and version control are painless 

Technologies used

  • Google Workplace (formerly G-Suite)   
  •  Google Chrome Enterprise

Key Outcomes

The team is really outstanding. They took great care in understanding my business. I couldn’t have done it without them. 

Tanja Hands, Co-Owner, The Hands Group, Inc.

  • Complete, accurate information—the first time. With end-to-end digital workflow, every salon regained valuable time. Tanja estimated time savings of at least 50%. 
  • Rave reviews from staff. Store managers and staff at headquarters love the new Chromebooks, G-Suite applications, and company intranet. With every location using identical equipment and procedures, communication is fast and simple. 
  • A model for others. In the tight-knit Great Clips community, Tanja’s achievements are attracting kudos and interest from other franchise owners eager to reduce paperwork in their own salons. 
  • Unlimited growth potential. Best of all, The Hands Group, Inc. now has a powerful, flexible, and scalable platform for the future. Tanja and her team can focus on adding stores, hiring staff, and overseeing operations, knowing their tech infrastructure is up to the challenge. 

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