I went to my favorite hair salon yesterday morning to get my much needed haircut. There are many other salons in the shopping complex this salon is located in, but I have never given any of them much attention. There is something special that I appreciate about this salon that my family and I go to, that makes me choose them over all of the other salons in the area.
As the owner of the salon was cutting my hair, I told her how nice I thought it was that she, her husband, and her son all work together in their family owned salon. She agreed that she really loved working side by side with her family and added that it was not always this way. She said that she used to work as a hairstylist for someone else, but then she injured her back. The people she was working for were not very understanding of her injury and it was then that she decided to open up her own business. Her husband, a former taxi-cab driver, knew the hair-styling business by being around it often because of his wife. He filled in his learning with some professional training and joined his wife in her business. She told me that her three children would often help out at the salon as they were growing up, and that her son really enjoyed the profession and joined his parents once he got older. She said that, slowly, but surely, their business grew into the successful salon that it is.
I asked her how she felt about the competition, with at least four other hair salons within a few feet of her own salon. She said, “Oh, that’s nothing. In the early years of our business, there were seven other salons on the very same strip as ours.” “Seven?!” I asked in disbelief. “How did you manage? Weren’t you concerned about competition and how you were going to make money?” “That’s a good question. Those years just made us work harder and stay more committed. The competition pushed me harder to stay focused and committed and offer good value and professionalism to our clients.”
Those other salons no longer exist. While she and her family kept at their business, the other salons closed their doors one by one. What made her salon different? I wondered. Although I already knew the answer myself based on why I choose their salon over the other ones available, I wanted to hear her point of view.
“I’ve been here forever. People know me. People know us. It’s more than just relationships we have with people, it’s about family. I consider our customers family and treat them that way.”
And that is my experience when I enter the salon. When I walk in, I feel the sense of family. From the way they run their business (by literally running it as a family), to the way they treat their clients and customers, the feeling of family permeates throughout their establishment.
I had the pleasure of experiencing the benefits of this family approach yesterday morning while I was getting my haircut. I brought my 11 month old son with me. He was cranky because it was time for his nap. While the owner of the store was cutting my hair, she told her son to stroll my baby around for a bit. I totally trusted them with my baby. When I was done with my haircut, my son was strolled back to me, happily smiling and cooing. It was so nice to feel taken care of in that way so that I could focus just on me for the few minutes that I was getting my haircut. I happily paid for the pleasant and professional service that I was provided.
What can we learn from these owners about how to stand out in our own businesses or careers and deal effectively with what looks like our competition? Here are some of the lessons I took away from my conversation and experience with my hairstylist.
- Know Who You are and What You Value. It is so clear that this salon owner knows who she is and what she values. She is a family person who invited her own family to help out with the building and the running of her business. She is and values family. What message am I taking away from this? Get to know who you are and what you value. Recognize this as your personal brand. This is what makes you unique and separates you from the rest of the pack. Knowing who you are and walking around with ‘your own personal brand’ also gives your customers and those who work with you (or for you) a good sense of what they can expect when working with you.
[Start Discovering the Real You using this worksheet I created. This page is usually password protected. I made it public for you this week only. So check it out, print it out and use it before I put it back behind protected doors.]
- Create a Business Atmosphere / Approach to Your Career Based on Who You Are and What You Value. Not only does this woman value family and speak about it, she actually runs her business with her family! She also makes sure to treat her customers like family. She knows everyone by name and she and her family greet her customers at the door with a huge smile. When I walk in, I feel as if they are welcoming me into their home. In your own business or approach to your work, bring your “you” and your values to work with you. This can be reflected in how you speak, how you treat others, and how you approach your work and/or your customers. Your work atmosphere can also be a reflection of who you are and what you value. When decorating your office or work-space, for example, choose colors and/or pictures/posters that reflect who you are and what you believe. Even if you work alone, decorating your space in this way will help you stay connected to who you are and to what you believe in and value, and ultimately have an impact on all those who work with you.
- Stay Focused, Determined, Committed, and Consistent. That is what this salon owner did when she was one of seven salons on her strip. She stayed focused and did not lose sight of her approach to her own business. She stayed determined and committed and pushed herself to continue to offer great value and service no matter who, what or where the competition was. This is a great lesson for all of us. There is always going to be others around us doing the same or similar things. [Click here to read more about how to stay confident even when others are doing similar things as you.] The most effective way to continue to be successful is to stay focused on you and literally stay only in your business. Sure, it’s hard not to notice what other people are doing and sometimes it is even harder not to compare. The more secure you are in the first two points above, the easier it will be for you to not compare yourself to others or feel threatened by what others are offering. Stay focused on you, your approach and on what you are building and remember that slow, and steady wins the race.
- Believe that There is Enough Business & Jobs for Everyone, Including You. One of the messages this salon owner shared with me was her belief that there was enough business to go around for everyone. This is an abundance approach vs. a scarcity approach. It is this abundance approach and belief that allows her to stay positive, happy and fulfilled, making her someone customers enjoy giving business to. When we walk around feeling as if there is never enough that is also the experience that we will have. Once we choose to view the world through the lenses of abundance, we will also experience abundance. One way to make this mind-shift is by making it a point to acknowledge what you are grateful for every single day. Instead of focusing on what you do not have, focus on what you do have. This shift in focus will invite abundance into your life. It will also make you feel positive and happy, qualities that others will see in you and experience in their interactions with you. This makes you a person who others enjoy working and doing business with. Think about it. Who would you rather be doing business or working with? Someone who always views the glass half empty, or someone who always views the glass half full?
How about you?
How do you deal with competition?
How do you bring your “you” and your values into everything that you do?
Which of these points do you find the most useful for you in helping you get ahead in your business or career?
Which of these points do you want to focus on for the next month?
Please be in touch and share your comments and questions with me.
I can be reached at Jenny@BuildBetterRelationships.com
I look forward to hearing from you.
In support and admiration,
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