What gave you the idea to start Strategies?
Ducoff: “As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a passion for understanding how business works, what it truly means to be a leader, and a burning desire to teach and enlighten others. I knew I wasn’t going to be a world famous hair stylist, so I started Strategies to create the perfect job that would allow me to achieve my full potential by feeding the passions that drive me. It’s been one hell of a ride and, just so we’re all clear, my ride is far from over. There are a few more books to write, classes to teach, and more leaders to coach.”
How did you make your dream a reality?
Ducoff: “I decided to start my own business publication, called Strategies. We did the first issue in January 1994—it was 16 pages with no advertising. I loved my little magazine, it was really fun to work on and it contained a good dose of business information. After the publication started gaining in popularity, we started our first two-day class in June 1994, and then in the fall we started our famed Incubator seminar.
“That’s when our company started evolving. Strategies became an education company, and the classes grew in popularity. Over the years, as the internet grew, Strategies the magazine became impractical as more people were looking for information online. In December 2007, we finally decided to shut down the magazine, it was a tough decision to make. But with every end there is a new beginning, and that led us to our first Monday Morning Wake-Up (MMWU)! These e-newsletters are free, full of tips and advice, with a circulation of more than 10,000.”
What can a salon owner expect from one of Strategies’ famed Incubator sessions?
Ducoff: “Incubator’s four days begin with a heavy dose of no-compromise leadership and dives right into creating balance across the Four Business Outcomes: profitability, productivity, customer loyalty and staff retention. Classes cover culture building, client retention and power growth systems—a dynamic salon/spa/medspa business model will be presented to all. Owners learn how to make positive changes in their businesses right away to start building a rock-solid foundation. They learn how to read, understand and control their company’s numeric ‘vital signs.’ Your company can’t be financially strong if you don’t know what your numbers mean and what you need to do to improve your cash-flow reality. Attendees also learn why their compensation system matters and how team-based pay changes everything in their business, including performance, payroll costs, growth and culture, plus more.”