Like everyone in business—or in the art world for that matter—stylists must compete. They compete for clients, for pay, for the best hours, the best chair, and to work in the best salons. But, what makes one stylist more competitive than another?
We believe that stylists, and other practitioners in salons and spas, compete in five main areas:
The ability to cut, color, and style hair is probably the first factor that comes to mind for most stylists. If you don’t “do hair” very well, you’re obviously at a significant disadvantage. But you may be at an even greater disadvantage if you think your competitiveness relies on talent or ability alone.
Next, we’re certain many would cite customer service as something they must perform well in order to excel—but how many realize that client service is just as important to the well-rounded stylist as ability? Beyond that, how many stylists are actively improving their understanding of client service and work to improve those skills?
We’ve met a lot of stylists who think of their ability to earn is somehow independent, or only loosely related, to the health and well being of the salon where they work. In fact, the competitiveness of the stylist and the salon itself are inseparably woven together. The stylist must earn, the salon must profit, the salon then reinvests in their space and their brand, which in turn provides employment for the stylist. We encourage stylists to consider this interdependence the next time their salon owner approaches them about retail, average ticket size, number of clients per day, etc. Everyone is in it together.
Perhaps there is awareness that stylists need to develop business knowledge in order to improve their competitiveness—but few are focused on it. Precisely because it is so important, and so few bother to take it seriously, we believe it is one of the easiest ways for savvy stylists to set themselves apart from the crowd.
Another aspect of competitiveness that gets lip-service but not a lot of serious effort is teamwork. Because clients have a sixth-sense about the harmony and vibe in a salon or spa, because there are many times that one stylist would benefit from the expertise of another, and because everyone must have a shared vision if a salon is to be transformed into a powerful brand; teamwork in today’s environment is critical to a thriving salon.
THE HIDDEN FACTOR
Often the salon itself isn’t thought of as a competitive advantage for the stylist—but it clearly is. Salon owners who create unique experiences, recognizable brands, and salons that run smoothly are doing something very, very important for stylists—they are developing long-term demand, ensuring client satisfaction, and creating an environment where stylists can do their best work. Whether a stylist perceives this as ample walk-in traffic, clients who, “Love your new location,” or who pick up on the great vibe; working with salon owners to help them achieve their objectives is one potent way to ensure that stylists themselves improve their ability to compete—with the salon down the street.
If you would like to discuss these ideas or learn more about Séva Education, please contact me.
© Copyright Jim Lucas 2000-2010 All Rights Reserved