When the group first started getting together, each owner would share what they were doing really well. “But as the trust grew, we began using each other as a sounding board, taking our more serious challenges or untried ideas to the group.”
For example, when the group started meeting, Ryan says Gibbons and Khan both were proud of their more than $100,000 in annual retail sales. But after the Ryans coached them in their retail strategies, both salons raised
annual retail sales to more than $500,000.
“In turn, Gina shared an amazing cancellation policy that we now use, Cinta has shared great techniques for communicating with difficult staff members, and Joe and Elizabeth have done really well in real estate investment and once drove us all around showing us investment property. That’s when I bought my first four-flat,” says Ryan.
At the last gathering, the group elected to bring in an outside speaker. Larry Kopsa, CPA, one of the founders of Kopsa Otte CPA, an accounting firm that specializes in the professional beauty industry, talked to the group about different exit strategies.
Since the salon members are so close in proximity, the sharing goes beyond the meetings. “If we’re overflowing, we’ll send business to each others’ salons and we’ve sent staff members to conduct education at the other
salons,” says Ryan. “And when Vijai was trying to raise money to help build boats in the tidal wave-damaged Sri Lanka, I organized a party with 50 of my top clients and invited him in—that takes a lot of trust.”
The experience, says Ryan, is unmatched. “We have grown together so much,” he says. “On every level—in business, emotionally and spiritually. Without a doubt, this is the most important networking group I’ve ever been a part of.”
Market Leaders’ Summit
If you can’t find a salon owner group to join, form your own. That’s exactly what go-getter John DiJulius, who with wife Stacy owns a series of John Robert’s Studios and Spas surrounding Cleveland, Ohio, did five years ago. “The industry’s business meetings and shows are great, but for the most part they speak to the middle of the road,” he explains. “I’d grown to the point that I was doing 85 percent of
everything I should be doing—I was after that last 15 percent. And it’s hard to get that last 15 percent of knowledge at a large show.”
Instead, DiJulius began calling the owners of salon businesses he admired, inviting them to a Market Leaders’ Summit and intriguing them by dropping names of other owners he intended to invite. “It worked; no one wanted to be left out,” he says. “In that first meeting, collectively we had businesses worth more than $140 million. Today it’s grown to a collective sum of more than $635 million.”