In February I posted a blog on how to open a barbershop right, right now. I shared the experiences of a friend who was opening a shop in what was (and still is) a tough economic climate. I outlined what I saw him doing that I believed to be the right things to be doing at the time. It has been six months since he opened. It was time for a visit and an update. I stopped in to see him last week.
Six months ago his shop was an empty spot in a strip mall waiting for a new tenant with a dream. Today his business is a busy barbershop with guys in the waiting room.
Six months ago he was cutting alone. Today there are five barbers cutting in five chairs.
Six months ago he was crossing his fingers and hoping to succeed. Today his fingers are still crossed (except when he is cutting), but he has done much to help himself get to where he hopes to be.
In this post I am going to revisit the things he did well to launch and update you on what he has done and is doing to continue to move ahead.
In my original posting I pointed out five pillars on which he was building his business, get some experience first, location, go in well funded, get good outside support and start lean. He appears to have held true to these launching points.
Observing his present situation I see him leveraging these five concepts to build off of the foundation he has established. The exciting that I see, and my reason for sharing them in this post, is that all five of these concepts are available to everyone, anyone in barbering and men’s haircutting looking to build and grow business.
Create culture – There is a feeling in my friends shop. It is a mix of hard work, fun and respect for both ones co-workers and the craft of barbering. One new hire was admonished to grow some facial hair if he was to fit in. The team was joking, but only a little. They have built and maintain a shop culture that is focused on the business at hand, common goals and shared values.
Leverage social media – My friend is a beast for social media promotion. He posts images of his best work to Instagram. He tweets available appointments. He facebooks his days out of the shop for family time and off site activities. He maintains relationships and open lines of communication with current clients and the world at large.
Focus – The shop cuts hair. Yes, there are a few jars of pomade for sale. No he does not sell t shirts, hats, second hand auto parts or bootlegged dvds. Hair is what it is about. What it is all about. Nothing more. Nothing less. He is in the guy haircut business. Period.
Stay lean – The shop is simple and functional. On my last visit it was downright bare. There are a few things on the walls. He will slowly fill up the place. He is no hurry to decorate. He has, perhaps 30 years to fill in spaces on the walls. He has one good television, a rack of magazines and a few rolls of toilet paper.
Work hard – He is in it for real and for keeps. He comes in early. He stays late. He does not sell multi level marketing on the side. He delivers quality service and technical results. He shakes your hand and says thank you for your patronage. You can tell he means it. He sets a strong example for his team.
Looking over the list you will see that there is no big secret here. There is no rocket science. There is no magic bullet. With the exception of web-based social media all of these principles are exactly the same as they were in barbering over 100 years ago. The 100 year old version of social media was building your referral network… and that is still really the same, too.
The most exciting element of this is that we can ALL do what he is doing if we CHOOSE to.
Good luck building your modern business. Get busy building it the old fashioned way.