SALON TODAY Editor Stacey Soble and I helped Marco Verrelli of Salon M Squared celebrate change when we awarded him the NAHA for Salon Design during the awards gala at PBA Beauty Week. MODERN SALON is a proud sponsor and co-founder of NAHA.
SALON TODAY Editor Stacey Soble and I helped Marco Verrelli of Salon M Squared celebrate change when we awarded him the NAHA for Salon Design during the awards gala at PBA Beauty Week. MODERN SALON is a proud sponsor and co-founder of NAHA.

AFTER SPENDING FIVE DAYS AT PBA BEAUTY WEEK AND COSMOPROF NORTH AMERICA IN LAS VEGAS, I came back to the “reality” of the office pretty pumped up. It was an outstanding show with great enthusiasm, plenty of activity and some very innovative new products and powerful re-launches. The debt ceiling crisis had been resolved (at least temporarily), and the general economic climate seemed to be looking up. There was a sense of positive energy we all shared.

Then, just a few days later, spurred by concerns about Spain and Italy, the market dropped more than 500 points in a day—its worst performance since 2008. Presto! A lot of that surface optimism and energy disappeared.

The point? The economy is going to get better. And the economy is going to get worse. And many, if not most, of the things driving the economy are completely beyond our control. Sitting around and waiting for things to get better is more than just a bad strategy, it’s a recipe for disaster.

SALON OWNERS AND SUPPLIERS have told me recently they realize business may never get back to the “good old days” that many of us remember. The good news is that those same folks are rolling up their sleeves and working hard to create the “good new days.”

Because while larger economic trends are clearly beyond our control, there are many things out there that aren’t —but only if we are willing to change.

If appointment stretching is the new reality, smart salons are getting business savvier. They are proactively recruiting new client groups or a broader client base (i.e. men or “curlies”—see our Texture supplement in this issue). If a new product category sparks interest, brands are fighting and investing to be first or most visible. Product updates, creative marketing and “stimulus” spending are all part of the new normal.

WE ALL KNOW CHANGE CAN BE HARD, change can be disruptive and change can be scary. But change can also transform your business by taking advantage of systems and processes that can improve your bottom line, and can provide your customers with the new products, services and tools they want.

To your team, change says “I care about our business. I am taking the time and making the investment to ensure our future success.”

To your customers change says “we care about you—and want to make sure that we provide you with the best products and services and continue to earn your business.”

And to yourself, change says “I will be master of my own destiny. Markets may rise and fall, but I am doing absolutely everything I can to ensure my success.”

Change by itself is neither good nor bad.

Cosmetic change—without commitment or substance or thought—just erodes your internal and external credibility, and harms your business. But real change based on understanding your customers, understanding your “true” positioning and value, and understanding the new products, services and technologies out there—is often the difference between the market managing you, and you managing the market.

Yes, the global economic situation concerns me. Yes, changes in consumer habits concern me. Yes, disruptive new technologies concern me. But I know I will sleep a whole lot better if I accept them for what they are, and focus on the things I can change.

What will you—and your team— change today?