February 2010

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler

 

Staying Ahead of the Curve

When the world of fashion moves, the beauty industry moves. However, we have three choices how fast we move.

We can “go with the flow” and move at the same pace. Those who wish to move with the masses and stay mainstream simply need to keep putting one foot in front of another and they will inevitably keep moving.

There are some who wish to merely stand still, hoping that wherever they are, the world as it moves will, at some point, come back to where they are, with no effort on their part.

Then there are those who are proactive and use their foresight to learn new techniques for the fashions that direct us forward. If you are a “hands-on” professional, you have the flexibility to stay ahead of the curve and run ahead of the pack.

All three of the above approaches to how we evolve do not only determine how our action plans play out, but the rewards hat we reap. It comes down simply whether, by virtue, we are proactive, reactive or non-active.

We can assume the services we provide, accompanied by the products we use, produce the end result, our “product.”

The focus here, whether our product is cutting edge, classic, fashion forward or retro, requires our immediate attention with immediate results in play. As we build our business, one client at a time, the one with the most clients wins, at any level of the market from the mass market $15 haircut or the $150 celebrity do.

As long as the satisfaction level of the client has been exceeded by the price point both the client wins and we win. And too often this is where the game ends with round two: the hope for return request visit, a maybe.

How can we assure we can count on the return of the satisfied guest and have enough future clients to fill our chair for that first taste of our talents?

This challenge goes beyond the point of initial or future service. This requires other techniques that, while our talent and creativity could be considered hardware skills, the solution to this challenge seems like software skills.

Assuming we have the ability to wow potential clients, we need to get our future clientele to notice us and choose us. How do we achieve that reality beyond wishful thinking? And more importantly, how do we communicate the value of our “product” that will create a demand for our brand and allow continued positive growth?

The key here is marketing: the branding and promotion of your product – which is your services and the products you provide.

There are two key areas of marketing. Both are methods of promoting you and your brand. The first is advertising. The second is networking. In the past the focus of almost all promotion of products and services was advertising — reaching the masses or target audience to gain their desire for the advertised product.

This is still a viable tool in promoting your brand but today, the emerging giant in communication and promotion is networking. The reason is because, while advertising promotes ideas and products, networking “connects” us with our desired market or consumer as a means of communicating directly with our intended end user.

Three primary forms of networking are:
• Personal Networking
• Business Networking
• Social Networking

Personal networking is the oldest form of connection and is still today the most intimate. It’s the personal phone call, the one-on-one meeting, talking to a gathering, letting people see and feel who we are and what we are about in a personal sense.

The positive here is with the tech-driven age often void of human touch, personal networking is on a primal level sealed with a handshake or the sound of a voice. The limit here is you can only be so many places and with so many people at any certain time.

The next area is business networking. In the tech-driven age there are now numerous broad based and specific business networks where we can connect and exchange with endless business potentials. These can range from Linked-In to The Beauty School Network and Behind-the-Chair which are beauty industry focused networks.

Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are great social networks where many salon professionals post their portfolios, updates on their salons and recent achievements in a less business-centered environment that is interactive and fun. It is also a great way to reconnect with former colleagues and get new potential opportunities.

It is with this effective combination of our hardware, software and high tech skills that we can all enjoy the abundance we deserve and guarantee our success.

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.