It sounds cliché but it’s true: excellent customer service is the foundation of running a successful business. The bottom line is always the customer because so much of what keeps a business profitable and popular is word of mouth. When a client gets a great haircut, they’ll go tell three people about their experience then those three people will tell five people, and so on and so on. Forbes says Word of Mouth Marketing has been made even more important because of social media! Your reputation as a business has to be impeccable, and reputations are built on customer service. Remembering that I am a barber and a business owner means caring about my clients and their experience in my chair, their experience in my salon. I want them to leave feeling like they’re on top of the world and excited to share their positive experience.
“Your reputation has to be impeccable, and reputations are built on customer service.”
Communicating clearly is also important when running a salon or barbershop, really any business. Communicating your expectations and making sure everyone is on the same page helps your business run smoothly. I’ve had to learn a lot about delegating and understanding that running a business means focusing on many things at once. Making sure clients are having a good experience is one part while making sure my stylists have what they need and know what I expect from them as part of my business is a whole other part. Everybody has to be on board with what makes a day successful, what makes a client experience top notch, and what makes our business thrive. Let your employees know up front what you expect, and be ready to communicate in a professional, honest way when things aren’t up to par or you have make changes.
Following the rules is not always fun, but they are certainly necessary when owning and managing a business. Making sure that you know and abide by the rules and regulations of your state, city, and county can mean the difference between keeping your doors open or having them closed for good. Any given day, a county, city, or state code enforcer came in and check for any number of regulated requirements and codes for your salon or barbershop. It’s a lot to learn and understand, but there are resources that can help. From up-to-date and visible licenses to how and where your products are stored, codes are there to make sure your salon is clean and safe for you and your customers. Customers, too, can be informal code enforcers, looking at how your shop is maintained and how they feel being in your establishment. Is it clean? Is it safe? Are you covered? Insurance is another part of following the rules that isn’t always intuitive. As a business owner, you need to have ALL the insurance—disaster, fire, liability, workers’ comp—you just never know what will happen and you always want to be prepared. Because you never know who might be assessing your business for code compliance, it is best to always be up-to-date and always follow the rules and regulations for your industry.
“Being a barber and entrepreneur has challenged me to push beyond my comfort zone.”
Last but not least, having a successful business means finding and cultivating talent. Without cutting edge talent and creativity infused into your business model, you can risk becoming obsolete. Staying up on trends, investing in talented people, and encouraging creativity can have you riding the wave of what everyone wants, keeping your business at the tip of everyone’s tongues when people are asking, “Where should I get my hair cut?”
Being a barber and entrepreneur has challenged me to push beyond my comfort zone and get comfortable with trial and error. None of these ideas came to me from the start, Shear Utopia is my fifth salon, and being older and paying attention to what has worked and what hasn’t worked really shaped my outlook as a professional. Wherever you start and wherever you’re going, be willing to try and be ready to learn.
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