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Dear Salon Boss

Malcolm | April 9th, 2014

Dear Salon Boss…. The next few blog posts may well be the most important you’ll read this year for your salon success…

Why, well in bite sized bits I’m going to pop excerpts from a letter that many employees would like to write to their salon bosses but don’t… 

This may or may not apply to you … well in most cases ALL will not apply to all, HOWEVER I bet SOME of what you’ll read over the coming posts WILL apply to you, it’ll resonate right to your very core… and that’s what I want it to do. 

I want it to move you, I want you to squirm a little bit (or a lot!) when reading the comments and sentiments, because quite frankly we can ALL be better at getting the best from our teams and for our teams – after all, it’s them who are a big part of our key to success… 

enjoy…

Dear Salon Bosses

There’s a reason we quit our jobs.

To be frank, it kinda sucked ass toward the end there. And a little before that too. It wasn’t totally your fault, but we just didn’t feel like we could be creative in the salon anymore, which was sad, because that’s what we live for. We know this kind of whining doesn’t help much. And though we’re

Dear Salon Boss I Quit
Dear Bosses
There’s a reason we quit our salon jobs.

still a little bitter about the whole working-for-you thing, we do appreciate how hard your job must be.

It can’t be easy to lead something as fragile as creativity.

Looking back, we probably should have helped you more at the time, but telling you how to do your job seemed harder than quitting. Sorry about that.

This letter contains everything we should have told you but didn’t. We hope it will make up for our mistake.

We work for more than just money.

Everyone’s got to pay the rent. But that’s not why we show up every day. We show up because we like making things. Especially beautiful things. And useful things. And things that matter.

We show up because creativity is its own reward. But if we go home feeling like we gave much more than we got, you can bet we’ll soon be looking for a better deal.

Here’s how you can give as good as you get:

How about a hug?

We’re not mathematicians. We don’t look up the formula and then arrive at a right answer. In fact, there is no formula, and there is no right answer. But still, to do the job right, we have to put our whole selves into the work.

It’s a lot like being naked in public: Will anyone like what we’ve got to show?

We’re not asking you to kiss our asses or anything. That would be pretty awkward. We’re just asking for a little affirmation. So if you make it a habit to tell us what you like about our work, we can promise you that our work in the salon will only get better.

If you’re not used to giving effusive, heart-felt praise, here’s a little refresher:

“Holy-f*?$%ing-doodle-dandy! You are goooood.”

“I dub thee: Sir Kickassalot.”

“Damn, you’ve got a hot body. Of work!”

“Here, these are for you. (Hand employee your pants.)”

“You must be channeling Jesus, because you just saved my ass.”

Or just say “Thanks” and mean it. We promise, it’ll make lots of stuff better.

To be continued… (next time: Fill ‘er up and Encourage accidents in the workplace!)

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Salon Owner laments “I had my lot and just needed to accept it!” (Not!)

Malcolm | March 15th, 2014

I asked a successful client of mine the reason she attributes to her success…

Here’s her answer…

“I stumbled along for many years just getting by Malcolm, I thought I knew all there was to know about running a business and well, I just accepted that everything I knew I was doing, so it must be outside forces causing my business to just survive and I often looked at other businesses around me which just confirmed I had my lot and had to accept it.”

“They weren’t fairing any better that me!”

“But then I saw a couple of other salons doing really well… And that got me thinking… Why, why if everything is equal are they doing so much better than the rest of us who are struggling to find the next client, who are always looking for new team members, and who, as the owner, are doing most of the work just to survive?” “And then an opportunity was presented to me… I was at an industry event and had the opportunity to talk with one of the successful ones… And do you know what they told me…. And it’s not what you may think!”

“So what was it that you were told that had such a significant impact on your business and life” I asked?

She said – “One word Malcolm… Education! Yes that one word changed my business and life forever… Never ever assume that you know everything, never ever believe that you are doing everything right, always believe that you are a student of business, continuing to learn, try, adapt, and grow… So education was the catalyst of my change”.

“I went out and booked into any course I could, I hired an awesome business coach (guess who that is??) and I got rid of the mind-set that I knew it all and anything different to what I was doing was not as good or wouldn’t work… Once I realised I didn’t know what I didn’t know and opened my mind up to learning, my salon changed, I got better quality clients, I got better quality staff, I also got more time off and a healthier bank balance… All because of that one word ‘Education’ ”

I asked her “What 2 or 3 things does a salon owner today have to do to become successful?”…

Her answer:

“Change your attitude and mind-set, it’s that that was holding my salon back, once I realised that and changed with education, then my salon became easier to run, in fact it became a business.”

2 ”Hire a business coach, but not just any- chose someone who knows this industry inside out.” (She did suggest talking to me but that would just be selfless shameless promotion wouldn’t it!)

3, “Attend any business courses that are offered, especially ones that are industry specific, you’ll always pick up a few things that you can take back to the salon to implement that work.”

4 ”(bonus one) “Always measure the results (and test where you can too) you need to know that the changes you are making are worth it.”

A very interesting interview and an insight that I have long subscribed to – education is really a great business strategy!

So after reading this you’ll have got the idea that continually educating yourself is a viable business building strategy… No one and I mean no one actually knows it all… And that includes you (and me), so get out of the salon, go to courses and seminars and workshops and learn some new ways of doing business… And perhaps you can be a success story here to. And if you want to take her advice and get a business coach, give me a yell and we’ll see what we can do.

You can always kick-start your education right here: If you’d like to learn and grow your salon from the comfort of your own computer screen… At home… In your pyjamas if you’d like…. Then the SalonCLUB Mastermind program is designed for you.

Written and presented by me (with occasional guest speakers), SalonCLUB Mastermind is a continuous supply of business lessons, questions, answers, inspiration, motivation and practical everyday down to earth advice packaged in recordings of your live coaching Webinars and Q&A’s

Presented to you live (and recorded) every second Tuesday, SalonCLUB Mastermind is a continuity program written and delivered for every salon owner. It answers the questions that we as salon owners struggle with every day, how I get my team to sell more, why are they not re-booking clients, I am lost, I don’t know what to do to get new clients… And many many more current salon issues. It is also a step by step series of lessons for business improvement, with worksheets and templates to take the guesswork out of business.

Consider this as your invitation to a better and more profitable salon (for less than $50/week!)

Click here to register

“SalonCLUB has changed my life, not only has my salon situation improved, I now know where I’m going and just how to get there.” – Jane, Auckland.

“I haven’t even scraped the surface of information that’s in SalonCLUB and I’m already seeing results.” – Alisha, New Zealand.

“I learned that all I had to do was watch, listen decide and implement to get the best from what Malcolm has created (and keeps creating every second Tuesday) SalonCLUB has changed my thinking and changed the way I operate.” – Marie, NSW.

Click here to register

I look forward to welcoming you on board!

 

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Finding Your Salon Vision

Malcolm | July 20th, 2013

YouTube Preview Image

Finding Your Salon Vision Podcast

In this video:

00:26    The basis for a success story
00:53    The vital importance
01:10    What is a Vision?
01:22    How to create a Vision
02:18    There’s still time – create your vision

Your Reason Why:

Hi there, I’m Malcolm from Shock Consult and welcome to today’s Hair and Beauty Salon Biz Tip.
Now the basis for any success story is a vision. And what is a vision? Well a vision really is just your why: Why are you doing what you do? And what is it that get you out of bed in the morning and helps make you run to the salon to create what it is that you want  to create.
You know one of the things that I’ve come across in what I do, is most of the people I deal with struggle to have a reason why. They struggle to have a vision, they don’t necessarily understand how important it is for their business. It’s vitally important to know why you’re doing what you’re doing!
As the leader of the salon it’s important to be able to transfer that vision to your team so they can follow you. So they can buy into whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. That will make your life so much easier.
So what is a vision? A vision is really, just what I said before: “The reason why you do things.” Okay..

Have you got a vision?

Have you got a vision? Do you want to create a vision?
Brainstorm some ideas, write down reasons why you might be doing what you’re doing. What was the reason you went into business in the first place? Where in the pit of your stomach here! You know, that excitement. What was it that made that feeling?
Was it what you wanted to achieve in the business? Was it what you were going to change in the world? Or was it that you were going to rock your client’s world?
Whatever the reason is make sure you know what it is because that reason will be the driving force behind you succeeding and giving you the will and the determination to carry on when things get tough.
If your reason why, if your vision is strong you will fight through the challenging times. You will get the results you’re looking to achieve.

There’s still time

Look if you haven’t got a vision… its okay, there’s still time. You can still create one. Think of some ideas, brainstorm, you know maybe give me a call we can come up with the game changer for you. OK? but you’ve gotta start thinking about why. Why you’re doing what you do and get that reason strong in your mind!
So really that’s today’s lesson. Figure out your reason why. You know what, if you know what your reason why is, my question to you is: Is it still strong? Is it still getting you out of bed in the morning? Is it still exciting you? Is it still driving you?
If it’s not, start looking at it. Have to figure out what’s gone wrong with it? Have you lost sight of it? Is it time to look at it again and get back into it?
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Figure out you reason why and then go for it.
Hey look I was wondering if you could do something for me: If you liked what you’ve seen today then can you share it with someone you think could benefit from seeing it too.
I have a little saying: “Like if you like, share if you care.” So, somewhere around here is a button to “Like”  the video and there’s also a “Share” button for you to share it with your friends and work colleagues.
I’m Malcolm from Shock Consult and I look forward to seeing you on my next “Salon Biz Tips” video

Enjoyed? I’d love your feedback via a comment below and if you found it useful and think some of yourfriends would as well, then Share it with them too…

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How to Increase your Salon Rebookings

Malcolm | June 16th, 2013

What do you say to increase your Rebooking rate in the salon? Find out right here…

YouTube Preview Image

In this video:

00:14    A top question from a client
00:27    The reason clients often say ‘no thanks’
00:51    The two words that will change your rebooking rate for good

Enjoyed? I’d love your feedback via a comment below and if you found it useful and think some of your friends would as well, then Share it with them too…

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Top 10 Ways to Lead by Example

Malcolm | May 16th, 2013

Good leaders must lead by example. Through their actions, which are aligned with what they say, they become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing but do another, they erode trust, a critical element of productive leadership. Here are 10 of the dozens of ways to lead by example.

1. Take responsibility. Blame costs you your credibility, keeps team members on the defensive and ultimately sabotages real growth.

2. Be truthful. Inaccurate representation affects everyone. Show that honesty really IS the best policy.

3. Be courageous. Walk through fire (a crisis) first. Take calculated risks that demonstrate commitment to a larger purpose.

4. Acknowledge failure. It makes it OK for your team to do the same and defines failure as part of the process of becoming extraordinary.

5. Be persistent. Try, try again. Go over, under or around any hurdles to show that obstacles don’t define your salon or team.

6. Create solutions. Don’t dwell on problems; instead be the first to offer solutions and then ask your team for more.

7. Listen. Ask questions. Seek to understand. You’ll receive valuable insights and set a tone that encourages healthy dialogue.

8. Delegate liberally. Encourage an atmosphere in which people can focus on their core strengths.

9. Take care of yourself. Exercise, don’t overwork, take a break. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it, support it!

10. Roll up your sleeves. Like Alexander the Great leading his men into battle, you’ll inspire greatness in your salon.

How do you score on your leadership ability?

 

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There’s one question I just keep getting asked…

Malcolm | May 2nd, 2013

… and here it is…

“Malcolm, how can I make more money and more importantly how can I lessen the stress of owning my salon?”

So if you ever ask yourself this question, I can talk with you about this in depth over a coffee someday, but here’s the skinny:

Every salon owner that I talk to has this question! And the answer is simple but we as salon owners complicate it – why? Well because we THINK it must be difficult.

So the answer is to stop OVER-THINKING and start taking ACTION. Most salon owners are running their business by the seat of their pants… Oh don’t get me wrong, they know what they’re doing when it comes to clients… they are the stars… they take more clients than their team (‘cos they’re more popular) they sell them more products, they re-book more too but what they seem to struggle with is actually making the transition from on the floor busy bee salon owner to a relaxed, plenty of time to have a life and enjoy the benefits of salon ownership salon owner...

You might have even have friends that own salons ask: “What do you know about getting out of the rut?” (You may be asking yourself that question lately too)

Well in my mind you’ve got 2 choices: You can continue to be the main earner in the salon and struggle to run the other parts of your business and just keep afloat…whilst your team continue to have a free ride and let you do it…

OR…

You can make some well adjusted changes to what you have been and currently are doing to ensure you get a different result and you can get yourself organised and plan for the future.


In my experience this is where it all goes pear shaped, and do you know why… its because we are unsure of what to do that will make the difference. There’s an old saying that goes… If you don’t know where you’re going, who knows, you may already be there!

OR - If you fail to plan, you plan to fail! The secret to change is to firstly recognise that that you have been doing is not

plan-for-success

working that well for what you really want – AND to acknowledge that perhaps its time to change…

But…. what do I need to do Malcolm?

One Word Answer: PLAN.

Every salon that I have worked with makes a commitment to plan and they quickly see the results of their planning. They recognise the importance of identifying just what it is that they want to achieve in the next 12 months and then sit down and break the year down into 4 easy to work periods. (Yes they need some help with their plan but once they commit it they achieve it.)

It is well known that bite sized pieces are the best way to eat an elephant and it’s no different when it comes to planning…

That’s why I have developed QuarterCLUB… a Club where Salon Owners join and meet up once every 90 days (3 Months) to work on their own strategies and tactics, develop the next set of goals and measure the results… You work individually on your plan but use the power and inspiration of other like minded salon owners and entrepreneurs to generate inspiration and creativity to really nail your plan.

You’ll get an introductory talk from me, where I’ll cover some of the crucial elements you need to include in your plan, some tips and tricks on creating your ideal business and I’ll also be on hand for individual discussion and assistance whilst you create your plan, and we’ll open up the floor for discussion should you wish to avail yourself of the minds of your fellow attendees…

Remember, to get a different result this year over last, you need to change your thinking and your actions. Planning is one of the secrets to achieving your desired outcomes, coupled with strategy and commitment so I’m going to start the ball rolling by asking for your commitment right now… commit to yourself to facilitate change in your business and also commit to attending your QuarterCLUB planning session…

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Make a promise to yourself that the next 12 months is going to be different (better) than the last.
  2. Commit to periodically taking yourself out of the salon to allow a fresh thought pattern and change of view.
  3. Clicking this link to see how you can get assistance with the changes you need to make
  4. Take decisive action and stop procrastinating – It really isn’t as difficult as you may be thinking.

OK… That’s it for this time, as a famous sports brand say’s… Just Do………. IT!

Oh and one last thing:

If you’ve been thinking it’s about time you committed to change for a while now, and want some help actually doing it, then you should click here and register for my QuarterCLUB Planning sessions with other Like Minded Business Owners – they really are worth their weight in gold.

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So You Hairdressing from Wellington named 2012 Kitomba NZARH New Zealand Salon of the Year

Malcolm | November 13th, 2012

So You Hairdressing from Wellington named 2012 Kitomba NZARH New Zealand Salon of the Year

2012 Kitomba NZARH New Zealand Salon of the Year winner Holly Cartmell, from So You Hairdressing, Wellington presented with her award by Tom Murphy, CEO, Kitomba Salon & Spa Software.

Newcomer Mane Salon picks up three awards

Post-Earthquake community spirit fosters business success for two Christchurch salons
Wellington, 13 November 2012. At a glamorous ceremony in the Wellington Town Hall on Sunday night, So You Hairdressing from Wellington, was named the 2012 Kitomba NZARH New Zealand Salon of the Year. They also won the Shock Consult Classic Salon at the annual 2012 Hair Industry Awards.

In announcing So You Hairdressing as overall winner, Kitomba CEO, Tom Murphy, said, “So You Hairdressing was the best all round entrant. Nominated as a finalist in an impressive five categories and winner of Shock Consult Classic Salon of the Year, So You Hairdressing demonstrated outstanding business performance, strong growth in a mature business, consistent marketing and a clear workplace culture.”

Holly Cartmell, owner of So You Hairdressing said, “Winning these awards is the crème del a crème and all I can think is I am so grateful So You Hairdressing has been recognized for what I always dreamed it would be. My team are the ones at the helm of my business and they feel so proud to be part of this great team.”

Newcomer Mane Salon picks up three awards

Mane Salon, also from Wellington had a prize-winning night too, collecting the Images Excellence in Marketing, L’Oreal Entrepreneur of the Year and Kitomba Best New Entrant awards.

Janine Simons, owner of Mane Salon said, “As a new salon, winning these awards will help us build our profile and gain credibility with our clients. It has absolutely boosted the morale of the team and makes everyone feel proud to be a part of the Mane vision.”

Post-Earthquake community spirit fosters business success for two Christchurch salons

H&B Hair Art and Beauty and Do.Hairstyling, both from Christchurch and both working in the same salon celebrated success at the Hair Industry Awards taking away the Telecom Grand Salon of the Year and Goldwell Boutique Salon of the Year respectively. But for these two salons, community spirit shone above all else. H&B Hair Art & Beauty has hosted Do.Hairstyling in its salon since the Christchurch earthquakes destroyed Do.Haristyling’s salon.

Mr Murphy said, “Two salons running separate and competing businesses side-by-side over an extended period of time and delivering strong growth and profitability results is very impressive. It’s also an example of how supportive and connected the New Zealand hair industry is. A true community spirit.”

Do.Hairstyling will be celebrating the opening of its new Christchurch salon on 29 November.

Lynnette Karam-Whalley, President of NZARH said, “The New Zealand hair industry can be very proud of these businesses. Despite trying times, the award winners have delivered astounding performance and pushed standards forward on every front. They are role models that we can all learn from.”

The Kitomba NZARH Business Awards are an annual event that recognise top performing salons in New Zealand and is sponsored and judged by industry leaders L’Oreal, Wella, Goldwell, Schwarzkopf, Shock Consult, Telecom and Images Magazine.

Now in its seventh year, the Kitomba NZARH Business Awards were created to foster, encourage and celebrate business excellence within the hair industry.

The Business Awards are presented at a joint event with the HITO Awards to bring together the ‘Hair Industry Awards’. The 2012 HITO Apprentice of the Year is Marianna Brown from Do.Hairstyling in Christchurch.

Kitomba is New Zealand’s leading salon and spa Software Company, focused on helping make its customers more successful. In 2009 the company was recognised by Deloitte as one of the Fastest 500 Growing Companies in the Asia Pacific.

Full list of award winners announced on the night:

Schwarzkopf Business Stylist of the Year: Jess Waters from Biba Boutique Salon, Auckland Judges commented, “Pure passion for life and the industry really flows from this entry and her KPI results.”

Images Excellence in Marketing: Mane Salon, Wellington

The judges commented, “Mane Salon has a very clearly defined target market, strong marketing plan and well thought out ideas, which line perfectly with the business objectives. They have it nailed.”

Telecom Employer of Choice: Sutherland-Todd Hairdressing, Christchurch

The judges commented, “This submission clearly shows a salon owner that takes the time to get to know and understand her team. It is the small things that sometimes count the most! The salon philosophy is certainly felt and acted upon by staff members. Outstanding training and clear objectives.”

Wella Fastest Growing Salon: Oscar&Co., Auckland

Judges commented, “An amazing leap in turnover. Ongoing business success will continue through the combined business vision and the creative energy of this fast growing team.”

L’Oreal Entrepreneur of the Year: Janine Simons, Mane Salon, Wellington

Judges commented, “Mane has found a niche in the market which will enhance the industry collectively. Every aspect of their vision folds and leads into another area that combines to make a strong commercial model for future Mane Salons.”

Goldwell Boutique Salon of the Year: Do.Hairstyling, Christchurch

Winners of this category for the second year in a row, judges commented, “This salon is still rebuilding following the earthquakes yet maintains solid growth and profitability. Can’t wait to see next year’s results. Do.Hairstyling has definitely got heart.”

Shock Consult Classic Salon of the Year: So You Hairdressing, Wellington

Judges commented, “This is an entry that demonstrates a true ‘entrepreneurial’ business owner not afraid to take risks and look at her business constructively. A strong and thorough business plan that is followed through in detail, So You sets the standard and leads by example.”

Telecom Grand Salon of the Year: H&B Hair Art and BeautyChristchurch

Winners of this category for the second year in a row, judges commented “An awesome business driven by a dynamic leader. It’s great to see financial planning 2-3 years into the future and there is clearly good community spirit as demonstrated after the earthquakes.”

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Do you want to know what changed her salon business for the better?

Malcolm | October 9th, 2012

I discussed with a successful client of mine the reason/s she attributes to her current success…

Here’s her answer…

“I stumbled along for many years just getting by, I thought I knew all there was to know about running a business and, well, I just accepted that everything I knew – I was doing, so it must be outside forces causing my salon to just survive and I often looked at other businesses around me doing the same which just confirmed I had my lot and had to accept it. (They weren’t fairing any better that me!)”

“But then, I saw a couple of other salons doing really well in my area… And that got me thinking… why? Why if everything is equal are they doing so much better than the rest of us who are struggling to find the next client, who are always looking for new team members, and who as the owner are doing most of the work in the salon just to survive?”

“And then an opportunity was presented to me… I was at an industry event and had the opportunity to talk with one of the successful ones… so I asked him what was his secret… And do you know what he told me…. And it’s not what you may think!”

I asked my client to explain- “What was it that you were told that had such a significant impact on your business and life?”

She said – “One word Malcolm… Education!” “Yes that one word changed my business and life forever… I learnt never ever assume that you know everything and never ever believe that you are doing everything right, always believe that you are a student of business, continuing to learn, try, adapt, and grow… So education was the catalyst of my change.”

“I went out and booked into any course I could, I hired an awesome business coach (guess who that is??) and I got rid of the mindset that I knew it all and anything different to what I was doing was futile… Once I realised I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and opened my mind up to learning, my salon changed, I got better quality clients, I got better quality staff, I also got more time off and a healthier bank balance… All because of that one word ‘Education’ ”

I asked her what 2 or 3 things, in her opinion does a salon owner today have to do to become successful?…

Her answer:

1, Change your attitude and mindset, it’s that that was holding my salon back, once I realised that and changed, then my business became easier to run.

2, Hire a business coach, but not just anyone – chose someone who knows this industry inside out. (She did suggest you talk to me but that would just be selfless, shameless promotion wouldn’t it! )

3, Attend any business courses that are offered, especially ones that are industry specific, you’ll always pick up 6 or 7 things that you can take back to the salon to implement that work.

4, (a bonus one) Always measure the results (and test if you can too) you need to know that the changes you are making are worth it.

There it is in a nutshell, the salon owners guide to success… Education, Business Education! Learn how to do it different & better and enjoy the fruits of your new-found knowledge.

So hopefully after reading this you will have the idea that ‘Educate Yourself’ is an essential business building strategy…

No one and I mean NO ONE actually knows it all… And that includes you, so get out of the salon, book some courses and seminars and workshops and learn some new ways of doing business… And perhaps you can be a success story here to.

P.S. IMPORTANT: Want to kick-start your business education? Have a look at http://shockconsult.co.nz/events to see an opportunity to join a select group of salon owners on 4th & 5th November 2012 for shock consults 2 day Salon Success Bootcamp.

Check it out and register before Friday 12th October to take advantage of the early bird offer where you can save over $400.00 Click here to check it out…

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Shock Consult Sponsors ‘Salon of the Year, Classic’ at Kitomba Business Awards

Malcolm | July 23rd, 2012

I’m thrilled to announce that Shock Consult is the sponsor of the prestigious award, ‘Salon of the Year, Classic’ at the Kitomba/NZARH/HITO Business Awards where winners will be announced at the Wellington Town Hall on Sunday 11th November 2012.

The Kitomba NZARH Business Awards are an annual event that recognizes top performing salons in New Zealand and is sponsored by industry leaders. The Business Awards are part of the Industry Awards weekend in collaborating with HITO (Hairdressing Industry Training Organisation). As a prize, Shock Consult will be awarding a prize package of Business coaching worth $1600.

Once again Kitomba/NZARH/HITO and sponsors are holding the 2012 Awards in Wellington and this year they take us back to the era of the Art Deco Movement. The Awards will take place in the elegant auditorium of the Old Wellington Town Hall. This venue will make a stunning backdrop to the Art Deco theme of the awards and it is hoped that guests all take advantage of the theme to dress in the style of the time – Finger waves are De Rigueur

“As the managing director of Shock Consult I am thrilled to be sponsoring the award as it recognises and rewards achievement, excellence and innovation in the Hair industry and celebrates the culmination of hard work and dedication to business success of not only those winning salon owners but all who participate.”

The Shock Consult ‘Salon of the Year: Classic’ winner is selected from entrants with turnover between $500,000-750,000. This category is results driven so judges weigh up performance figures relating to: Chemical services, Profitability, Rebooking, Retail sales, Treatment, Utilization & Wage %.

A panel of independent judges will individually review each entry, rating them on each performance section and submitting scores to the convener for collating, meaning that even the judges won’t know who the winners are until on awards night.

If you are interested in entering these exciting awards (Shock Consult Ltd ‘Salon of the Year, Classic’ category, or one of the other awards) you can visit http://www.nzhairdressingawards.co.nz/register.php to register.

Best of luck to all the entrants and we’re looking forward to the Big Night in Wellington on the 11th November.

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Competing for the Customer: Creating a higher expectation of customer service

Malcolm | June 9th, 2012

It is widely agreed that a high level of customer service contributes significantly to customer loyalty and results in return business. How often have you been affected by bad customer service at a local restaurant or petrol station and decided not to go there ever again because it appeared that the attendant didn’t care? Compare this with being served your meal very late but still being happy because you were looked after by the waiter very well, perhaps they were very polite, maybe they gave you a complimentary drink and offered a discount voucher for the next time you book. The difference in the two scenarios is the customer service expectation and experience. The first scenario the attendant indicated to you that they didn’t care by just that… not caring, thus your expectation of customer service was low and you never complained, only promised yourself to never go there again. In the second scenario, the attendant at the restaurant created in you, the customer, a higher expectation of service because they cared, you expect to receive when you go again.

With this article, I intend to convince you, that just ‘good customer service’ is not good enough. Your customers will disappear as soon as your competitors offer a better service level than you. It is simply human nature to feel good when treated nicely; a customer will go where they are treated well. Most businesses offer good customer service however today good customer service is also simply, not good enough. Everything else being equal, good customer service will help keep your business competitive, on the other hand, it will not get your competitors customers to come to you, nor will it assist greatly in increasing your customer base. So, as an SME owner/manager generally with limited a budget, a limited competitive advantage over your competition or maybe a not so ideal location, what do you do? I suggest you compete for your existing customers so as not to lose them and compete for a share of your competitions customers. You may be saying that this is not possible; your competition has a lower cost structure so they are cheaper, you may be concerned about the cost of staff training within your limited budget. I challenge you to create a line of defense to protect your customer base; you will also prepare, develop, test and bulletproof your firm’s abilities and capabilities. This will prepared you well when you are ready to entice and compete for your competitors’ customer or for that matter all new customers.

By now you are probably wondering or perhaps asking “how do I create a higher expectation of customer service?” It’s much easier than you think by following these key steps:

1: Identify your competitive advantage

This is any area of business where you are better than your competitor, identify your strengths and see where you are better than your competitor.

2: Identify what your competitor’s advantage is:

Is it price? Are you competitive around the pricing of your products and services? Do they have better delivery systems, delivery of service and product? , Identify your competitor’s advantage and remember price does not always dictate purchase decisions. It could be better opening hours, or a cast iron guarantee, maybe they handle returns or unhappy customers better.

3: Analyse the customer:

Blanchard and Bowels, the authors of ‘Raving Fans: a revolutionary approach to customer service’ suggests “trying to see customers as individuals and try to understand all their needs”. You should know your strengths and your competitors’ weaknesses. In analysing your customers, identify areas of concern for them and make every effort to exceed the service and delivery expectations of them.

The key to this idea is creating a level of customer service in all areas of your business that far exceed the current level offered and be more competitive within your competitors’ weakness areas. Great customer service will contribute to new business coming to your door and sustain the existing customers need for continual recognition. Superior customer service will allow you to meet the market demand for your products and services irrespective completely of price or quality.

4: Communicate your ability to deliver:

To ensure that you compete for new customers you will need to communicate your ability to deliver Great Customer Service in a convincing way, which you should be able to do having tested it on your existing customer base. Now all that you need to do is communicate it to prospective customers through various marketing methods. Once they try your service and if it is the Great Service you created there will be excellent reason for them to try you and little reason for them to move on. Your ability to live up to the expectation you create in them from your marketing is needing to be  kept up and you need to keep delivering to the standard you have improved upon and using it as a continuous improvement process.

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