January 2010

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Thrive or Survive in Today’s Economy … It’s a Matter of Choice

After hearing the warnings of the recession coming last year, I made the decision I would not participate in the upcoming economic downturn. Let me tell you why.

In 2007, I had the opportunity to travel to Japan and visit with the vice president of one of Japan’s largest haircolor companies (62 percent market share). We were talking about what the future held for us and I asked the group, “What do you see in the future for our global economy and how are we going to deal with it?”

They said, “A tsunami is coming; we need to create new opportunities and diversify.”

It’s been over two years since I heard that and I am reminded daily the wisdom behind those words every time I see examples where positive action is taken and there is abundance to be gained…. Even in challenging times such as these.

Now, as at no other time, perception equals our individual and collective reality. Those who choose to see doom and gloom around them believe what they think to be real and act out there lives accordingly.

On the other hand, those of us who choose to use our vision to see and create new opportunities, perhaps in ways never thought of before, are increasing our personal and professional abundance . The former is Life by Default and the later is Life by Design.

This is not to say we are all immune from the reality of the effects the economy is having on us all. It is that space between what we are receiving and how we deal with it.

Believe it or not we have a choice how we react to this reality placed before us. Do we allow the circumstances to dictate our profit or loss or do we find positive alternatives to grow beyond the status quo. It’s a matter of choice. Some say “Maybe if I wait ,things will get better,” or “If only they would do something to fix this.”

Most of the world lives out their day-to-day lives by abdicating their power to someone or something else they believe is more powerful and has more influence than they do. They do so only because they are hoping they will act in our best interests. We only have to look at the state of our current economy to see the long term effects of what happens when this scenario is played out on the global economic playground.

Can we raise the price of our salon and spa services in these times? Yes, if we can achieve the goal of exceeding the perceived value of our services. Is the service we provide far above and beyond that expected by our clients? Do we provide value added services that give added, unexpected satisfaction to our salon and spa guests?

Will our clients purchase our professionally prescribed salon products instead of over-the-counter consumer brand products even at an added price point? They will if the features and benefits to the client are presented in a way that gives greater value to our salon brands over the big store products and shows a real visible difference.

Are our product and service offerings current with new market trends and customer demand? Are we open to the suggestion of extending ourselves beyond the expected and are exceptional in our delivery? If we can answer these questions in the affirmative then our added value can command a higher price.

Sadly, many in a downturn resort to discounting their services thinking this will create a new and expanded client base. First of all, discounting services costs the provider money as price point differential must be deducted as a loss. It also dilutes the value of the service.

The experienced stylist creates customer incentives to pay the established price point for their products and services. Bundling services and products at a percentage saving to the client has been very successful in many business models.

Customer loyalty rewards are another incentive that encourages continued growth and client retention. The costs of doing business either individually or as a business are continually rising. So a reasonable percentage increase in fees is necessary to stay ahead of the curve.

If we choose abundance instead of reacting to scare tactics, we will be taking on a mindset based on growth. If we see ourselves as greater than what we used to be and act accordingly with back-up support of continued improvement in the services and products we offer we will thrive in any economic situation. Just remember it’s a matter of choice.

Jerry Tyler’s column Blue Highways is his “Road Less Traveled” perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. Jerry Tyler has been a stylist since 1975 serving as the former artistic director for Vidal Sassoon Academy and currently as Director of Education for Carlton Hair salons. He is also a licensed cosmetology instructor and has served as President of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.