Had an interesting discussion today with a hair salon owner while getting my hair cut. Making some small talk she walked me through her career path – the ups and downs and where she had worked, the career advice she had received along the way, and how she felt about owning her own salon.
It was interesting that she was slightly apologetic about her location. While it was clean and neat with contemporary decor, it was small and certainly not what anybody would classify as high end although it was by no means low end. I was interested to see that she was a little sheepish about the whole thing and wanted to know more.
“Did your clients follow you from where you worked before?
“Does this fit your budget, let you make a decent living, and not kill you with tons of overhead?”
“Are you happy here?”
“Then what’s the problem?”
There’s probably 50 places in this small town to get your hair done. What separates them? A ton of things, of course, and that’s exactly what appeals to different customers. Choice. I loved this little salon, got a great haircut (relative, of course – my hair is still stuck in the 70′s) and happily rebooked for next month.
Some people fail at their business simply because they never come to grips with who they are and what the market for them is. Instead, they try to be something that they can’t possibly attain or sustain.
This applies to creatives as well. Applies to almost any small business. I have several photographer friends that I use, or will use depending on the shoot I need. Same for video.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me what so many new business fail at this simple concept. Different tools for different jobs, different people for different tasks. We manage it every day in our lives, yet some people struggle to recognize that this applies to their own company.
So who are you? Out of the 50 options, where do you fit? How can you possibly market yourself if you have no firm idea or strategy on what it is that you offer that the other 49 don’t?