Today, while drinking a cup of coffee and channel surfing in silence (something I rarely get to do!), I came across the show Tabatha’s Salon Takeover on Bravo.
The premise behind the show is simple. Tabatha, a famous hair stylist, goes from salon to salon to fix the issues that salon owners are having, which they feel are holding their businesses back.
My interest becomes piqued when I see business owners making really huge mistakes that I think would be simple to see and fix, but that the business owner is really struggling with for one reason or another.
Is it the old idea that you can’t see what is right in front of you? Or is it that sometimes you are too afraid to make any changes because the unknown is scarier than the known?
On today’s episode, the owner of a small salon in the Northeast wanted to change her salon’s image. She’d started the salon because she wanted it to cater to a high class clientele.
Honestly, the salon looked a bit scary. The hairdressers wore clothes that showed off all of their, well, assets, including what the salon owner’s manager, also the owner’s husband, termed, “Muffin Top.”
The place was disgusting. It hadn’t been cleaned in a long, long time. Hair gunked up the drains. Strands from earlier cuts covered the floor. One stylist admitted to not cleaning her scissors after her previous client (okay, doesn’t that thought make you want to start cutting your own hair at home?!)
The amazing part? The owner of the salon, giggling and bubbly, couldn’t pinpoint the problem areas.
In fact, when Tabatha asked her about one of the stylist’s attire, which included a top that dipped down to her navel and a chest that greeted her clients long before she did, the owner actually replied, “What can I do? If I tell her not to dress that way I might not have a hairstylist.”
The owner of a bar may actually applaud when an employee shows up with cleavage that extends to Cincinnati; the owner of a high class salon, probably not.
Rule number one: You have to know your customer and cater to that customer.
Yet I could empathize with the owner of that salon, and the show made me take pause and consider the lessons that I have learned in the past four years. I haven’t faced some of the issues the owner in this episode took on simply because I own a home business and do not hire employees. However, while setting up a company I have definitely learned a few things that I am taking into this next business venture in order, I hope, to make a more smooth transaction the second time around.
Besides knowing your customer and catering to that customer, which I believe is ultimately the most important rule when owning a business, I think it is also important to understand the importance of marketing. This doesn’t mean spending a ton of money. In the beginning, I was able to market to clients by simply handing out business cards at NAWBO meetings. I knew I didn’t have the bank to take out phone book advertisements or billboards. If you do, great. If you don’t, you can still creatively market your business. The salon owner didn’t have a real marketing plan; in fact, they didn’t ask clients to set a follow up appointment and they didn’t even know how many clients they were seeing per day, per week, or per month.