Why is it our experience of running a business seems to be defined by feeling let down? Why IS it that you can't seem to talk to your partner, other local business owners or even your best friend about what's going on in your business?
SO many salon owners turn to team members because they want to connect with someone who is in the business with them - someone that understands the day-to-day pressures we’re facing.
I've done it myself. Selected the Chosen One in my own team. The one who seemed to 'get it'. That odd individual who stood apart from the rest of the crowd and I felt could be inducted into some kind of circle of trust. And they let me down.
Either left (how dare they?!) or failed to back me up (rude!) or committed some other flavour of salon treason.
But ultimately (as with everything) it's your own fault. You see, they've built different muscles to you. Let me explain.
Physical muscle isn't built through just 'toning up'. To build a bigger muscle the fibres of the muscle need to be damaged or injured. Then your clever body builds a stronger, denser bit of muscle. So what does that have to do with you as a salon business owner?
Well, every time someone quits, every time you deal with being let down by a supplier, every time you cope with a day from hell you're building entrepreneurial muscle.
Take complaints, for example.
I remember vividly the first customer complaint I got. I recall sitting on the stairs at the salon and crying for pretty much a whole day. To be fair, I had given a customer a lousy haircut, but I'd done my best and I was devastated. I was in that horrible bit of our career where you're newly qualified and building experience.
Then I got another complaint.
I was upset, but maybe not quite so much. And though I never wanted to get to the 'water off a duck's back' stage, with each complaint the pain gets a little less. Why is that?
It's because you've built a complaint-handling muscle. You've been damaged, and repaired in a more resilient way.
So, all those things you deal with as a salon business owner are building your entrepreneurial muscles. Which is why nobody else gets you and your team can’t relate. Even if they see what you see, they have a different journey of growth. They're not getting damaged and rebuilding like you are.
Lonely isn't it? But it doesn't have to be.
Lean into the industry. We’ve been through so much together that we can put the days of waspish competition behind us now. It’s time to build genuine industry connections. Join trade associations, attend events, hang out in industry networking groups online and build your new tribe.
About the author: With 20 years in the salon industry and a passion for innovation, Phil Jackson is an international business coach offering a unique perspective on the challenges of salon ownership. Phil works with many salons, barbershops and spas around the world to build a business they can feel proud of, making sure they look outside the box and consider all aspects of the business.
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