Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Are you Ready to Open Your Own Shop? Part 1: Reflection

If you are in the barbering industry, chances are you have at some point considered opening your own barbershop. Its the students dream, the journeyman’s ambition, and the master’s reality. So where do you stand? Are you ready to open your own shop? This blog series will discuss the trials and pressures associated with opening a barbershop, as well as celebrate successes along the way. Within this series, we will be talking with successful shop owners who will share with you their failures and successes with hopes that you leave inspired and ready to take on the challenge of becoming a business owner, or that you leave knowing that owning a shop just isn't for you. 
First, it is ok to conclude that owning a shop is not for you. There are plenty of other ways to ensure that you make good money, so if you do decide that you do not want to open a barbershop, I encourage you to get creative in seeking other methods of success within the barbering industry. Second, if you decide that you do have what it takes to open a shop, then I highly suggest that you get started immediately with preparation—before you know it, your best opportunities may pass, so be attentive and don't procrastinate! 
While there are numerous steps associated with opening a business, I want to focus on the essentials concerning the barbering industry. The successful barbershop owner has a few beneficial character traits that make the shops success that much smoother or efficient. For instance, an individual who lacks administrative skills can successfully open a barbershop, however they are going to have to pay someone to basically run their shop, therefore their profit margins will be significantly less than someone who can effectively take the role of an administrator. This requires the aspiring business owner to self-reflect upon their character, talents, and abilities. There is no shame in admitting you lack the ability to fill a role, but realization of this shortcoming is essential in ensuring the role is filled effectively and efficiently. Personally, I am a terrible administrator, therefore I would need to rely upon another individual to take a management position. 
Before getting into the fundamentals of opening a barbershops, lets take some time and reflect upon fundamental characteristics required to be a business owner. The following traits are generally accepted as essential characteristics required for aspiring business owners. Take some time, reflect upon each of them, and decide whether it would be beneficial for you to tackle this by yourself, or if you either need to partner with another individual, or hire a manager to fill the roles which you are weak in. If none of these characteristics sound like something that defines you, then perhaps opening a shop is not your best route to take in the industry. 

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(1) Be Driven

Drive and motivation are directly related. The barbering professional looking to open a shop needs to be driven and motivated. This is a given! Why would you open a shop if you don't want to? If you have any hesitation regarding this principle, I would suggest stopping right here, as opening a shop probably is not for you. If you are not driven to open a shop, then you are not driven to grow your shop, yet alone keep it open. 

(2) Be Goal-Oriented 

The barbering professional needs to be goal-oriented. How many chairs do you want? Whats your customer range? What product line do you want to establish and develop? These are the questions that need to be answered and developed into goals. The difference between goals and dreams, is that dreams are nice thoughts that never come to fruition, while goals are being achieved. DON’T be a dream, be a goal achiever. 

(3) Be Confident 

 Confidence is essential in opening a business. Think about it…if you are not confident in taking a risk, then don't take the risk. Now, everyone has the voice in the back of their head that says, “what if something goes wrong? What if I fail?” Confidence is that ability to listen to that little voice, but reply with, “Yeah, things can go wrong, but I’ll address them if they happen. For now, I know that I have what it takes to conquer this goal.” The lack of confidence is what keeps dreams from becoming goals, and is what results in people failing to achieve their goals. If you want it to happen, make it happen. Address any issues as they come along, and believe me, there will be issues—rise above them! 

(4) Be Budget-Oriented 

This is an extremely easy, yet often failed principle: don't spend more money than what you have available. We will discuss a business plan in a later installment, however, setting a budget and sticking to your budget will help ensure the initial success of your business. While spending more than what you have available does not always mean you are doomed for failure, it makes the risk associated with opening a shop much greater. My suggestion: make a budget, and stick to it. Your wallet and stress levels with thank you later. 

(5) Be Self-Reliant

At the end of the day, you are responsible for your success. If you have a business partner, you are still responsible. Sound unfair? Well, you chose to partner with them, right? And if they are not pulling their weight or if they are making unreasonable decisions, that falls on you for choosing to partner with them. Being self-reliant means that you have the ability to literally rely upon yourself should the going get tough. No one is going to bail you out of hot water, so make sure that you have what it takes to carry a lot of burden on your shoulders. Usually, this means that the start of your business will be quite stressful, however it makes the fruits of your labor that much sweeter. Develop the ability to operate and think independently, as relying upon others can often increase the risk of failure. However, do not be so jaded to where you think this is something that must be done alone—behind every successful business owner is a team of individuals who helped make it happen. 

(6) Be Humble 

Humility is a virtue. Can you be successful in opening a shop while being boastful and proud? Sure. Do you want to be? No. Don't walk over other people thinking you did this all by yourself. Technically, your customers made you successful. If you are going to be proud, be proud and thankful of your customers. 

(7) Be Focused 

Being focused is essential for nearly everything pertaining to a successful operation, however, if you are considering opening a shop, you really need to make sure you are focused. If you start the project then get side tracked , you may miss opportunities. In the barbering industry, you are going to have to work with the state on deadlines for inspections and ensuring you meet requirements. Not being focused on the task at hand potentially means you fail inspection and lose out on valuable time and resources. Stay focused. 

(8) Be Open-Minded

I cannot stress this enough—be open-minded. If you have this idea of what your barbershop needs to look/be like, yet along the way you discover that certain things need to change in order to better fit your customers, be open-minded to that change. This is the difference between you being successful in opening a shop, or just kinda mediocre. Customer preference trumps personal preference, so keep an ear to your demographic data and listen for advice and suggestions whether its from an individual or a personal observation. 
These are the characteristics and traits essential for opening a successful barbershop. How did you do? Do you embody each of these flawlessly? Do you struggle with a few of them? Perhaps the majority are characteristics that you know you do not represent? Whatever the conclusion, I imagine you are looking for next steps. If you are looking to get started in opening a shop, then you need to develop a business plan, which we will discuss next week. If you struggle with a few of these, then I suggest talking with some of your closest friends or family. The them your idea of opening a shop and see what they say. Be open-minded to their suggestions! Maybe they see something in you that you do not, for better or for worse. If none of these pertain to you, then I imagine you probably stopped reading a long time ago, which means I do not have to offer any direction! If this is you, then I bid you good luck as you look for other ways of being successful in the barbering industry. 
Next week, we will be discussing the role of a business plan and how to effectively make this dream into a goal. If you want to get some homework done first, then I suggest jotting down some dreams that you want your barbershop to be or look like. You might find new sources of inspiration! Till next week, happy cutting.