Lessons from Jay-Z and She’s the Barber: Hairstylists and Barbers Understand Your Business is Your Brand –
When you’re building a brand it’s vital to understand how your personality and character interweaves into the fabric of your brand. Business mogul Jay-Z understands how personal business is. He’s involved in everything from endorsing cognac to producing Broadway musicals. In an interview with Men’s Health, Jay-Z said, “My brands are an extension of me.” “They’re close to me. It’s not like running GM, where there’s no emotional attachment.” The reference is apt, given the government’s ongoing potential bailout of two major automobile companies. Jay-Z notes that resonance with a pause and a chuckle. “My thing is related to who I am as a person,” he says. “The clothes are an extension of me. The music is an extension of me. All my businesses are part of the culture, so I have to stay true to whatever I’m feeling at the time, whatever direction I’m heading in. And hopefully, everyone follows.”
Now, we’re all very aware that Jay-Z was a hustler with street credentials. But just how did he shed the hustler title to become a business mogul with a brand, sit down for lunch with Warren Buffet, and get featured in Forbes Magazine?
Well, two key points are mentioned above that all hairstylists and barbers can use to take their skills from what seems to be a hustle to a business with a brand that everyone follows.
1) Treat your brand as if it was a person. Jay-Z said his brands are an extension of him. His brand relates to who he is as a person. When you’re building a brand it’s vital to understand how your personality and character interweaves into the fabric of your brand.
2) Build long-term relationships with your customers. Jay-Z stays true to whatever he’s feeling at the time. Don’t let people down by presenting or offering something you can’t live up to.
Many of us still have that word “hustle” engraved in our minds and oftentimes use it to refer to jobs or businesses. Well, if you’re hustling, then maybe you’re making money doing something slightly shady or perhaps something unprofessional.
She’s the Barber shared a list of things owners do that may leave clients thinking of your business as more of a hustle than a business with a brand.
Clients that schedule appointments shouldn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes to get in the chair when they’ve already booked an appointment. Scheduled appointments are made to help benefit both barber and clients. Not to throw time off schedule.
One of the perceptions that hinder the industry of Barbering is poor dress appearance. The way you’re dressed sends a clear message to your customers and clients. Having a dress code, wearing barber smocks or aprons can change the working environment. Requiring barbers to wear slacks or button up shirts is also a great way to promote professionalism in a working environment.
Language & Conversations
Profanity and offensive topics are things that barbers should be conscious about. Profanity can offend clients and cause them to feel uncomfortable. Also, certain topics such as sexual orientation, religion and political topics can be very sensitive subjects.
Engaging in small talk (talking about last night’s football game, weather, family vacation) is a safe zone. Some clients don’t like to talk at all. So, use your own judgment on whether or not to engage in conversation. Sometimes we get clients that just want to get in and out the chair quick.
What would you think if you walked into a barbershop and saw barbers eating Popeye’s chicken in the barber’s chair? Or a dirty straight razor lying on the counter used on other clients? How about an unswept floor? All of these issues can be avoided and that also falls under shop standards and professionalism. There should be a shop break area to eat, clean razors with proper hazard disposals, and a broom nearby to clean up after each haircut.
Every shop environment has its differences, but there should be standards that employees should have to follow. Without structure, many things can hurt the shop and the clients they serve. Think of how your clients might feel when you as the owner, allows the neighborhood bootlegger to come through the door to sale DVD/CDs Your client didn’t come there for to purchace DVDs. That’s what the Dollar General has to offer, not your barber or stylist. Are barbers and clients still allowed to smoke in front of shop entrance? Things like this can often be overlooked by the owner. Sometimes its good to just enter through your front door as if you were a client. As you enter, fix your mind on the expectations and standards you as a customer would demand be met in your own establishment.
Now days, the role of a C.E.O. carries more weight than it ever has before. Many small business owners have to take on multiple roles to include marketing your business. It’s important for entrepreneurs to really believe in their products and follow through on their services.
All too often, small business owners, particularly barbers and hair stylists, face an uphill battle in branding and growing their businesses. Much of the struggle stems from how your customers perceive you.
A strong personal brand is crucial to your success. Recall rapper Jay-Z’s lyrics in Diamonds in Sierra Leone: “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man.” This is a fact, YOU are a business, and the sooner you take it seriously, the better.
About the author: Phylicia Goins owns She’s the Barber, LLC. She specializes in men and women’s haircuts. She’s The Barber LLC is dedicated to sharing and expressing artistic creativity by providing a unique grooming experience for a variety of individuals from all walks of life.
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