I left school with very limited education and started my hairdressing apprenticeship at the age of 16. I was the most unmotivated person you could imagine (I wouldn’t have employed me, but my first boss saw something in me that I didn’t know I had).
I knew there was money to be made in hairdressing but just not as an employee so I knew I had to go out on my own.
I started my very first business, as a mobile hairdresser (I thought all the clients would leave the salon and come to me, they didn’t), I loved the hours, the buzz and of course the money.
The problem was the I had no self control and the money soon disappeared and the bills piled up. I quickly realised that mobile hairdressing had its limitations and I would always have to work all the hours for a small wage. With a wife and 3 children I needed more. I wanted more out of life, I wanted the nice house and the nice car and the holidays overseas.
So I decided to set up my first salon, excited and scared (so scared I took on a business partner to help me, it soon collapsed 1 week in, and left me broke, but that’s another story for another day). I was eager to open the doors and start to earn my fortune, this was it, my very own hair salon.
The salon grew fast, people liked me and every day seemed busy, I loved the buzz of a pumping salon, I still do today. I employed staff and they too got busy, this salon owner malarky was easy, I was dreaming of the house I was going to buy and my new car parked in the double garage.
Then the growth just stopped, I didn't know why at the time, it just stopped, I wasn’t too bothered as we were busy but year after year our growth just seemed minimal. But then it hit me straight between the eyes, I was making money, lots of it, but the bigger my salon became the bigger and faster the bills came in.
It felt like I was working hard for not much in return.
At the end of every financial year my accountant would say, “What a good year you have had”, but I had nothing in the bank to show for it, in fact it was getter harder and harder to stay ahead of the bills, how could this be so?
I think this is when the cracks started to appear and I started noticing that my staff were turning up late just 5 minutes or so, and some staff were asking for pay rises, I even heard one staff member say to another, in the back room, “We are paying Richards mortgage, we’re fools”.
Had I only just woken up to the fact that my salon was not as good as I thought it was? I will never know the real answer to what was really going on behind my back in the salon, but what I did next was so typical of salon owners like me, I see this so many times with my coaching clients.
I decided the best way to deal with this was to ignore it and it will go away. I didn’t know what else to do, I was a salon owner that just knew how to do great hairdressing, that’s all I knew, I didn't know anything about business at all.
I was scared to reprimand the staff because when I did they wouldn't turn up for work, or they would exclude me from their circle,
I was scared that they would leave and I would lose more clients.
This resulted in my bills starting to get to a place where I was scared that if a staff member left and took clients I wouldn't be able to afford my bills and I ended up in what I called ‘groundhog day’ where every day was pain, every day was juggling bills, every day it just seemed I was 1 step away from really closing my doors, 1 step away from failure.
To the outside world I had a really successful salon but no one else knew behind the scenes that I was struggling, it was feast or famine. I seemed to have a good month and a bad month, and a good month and a bad month and at the end of the year I had nothing to show for the fact that I was a business owner, all I really had was a job and the problem with this job was the boss didn't know what he was doing, and that was me!
It took me to breaking point before I realised that I must be the problem, I must be doing something wrong. It was me all along.
I decided that I didn’t want a salon like this, I would rather work for someone. So I decided to give it one last try, I drew my line in the sand and went that’s enough I can’t do this anymore. It’s so hard I was one step away from losing my house, one step away from my kids moving school, one step away from not even be able to afford to pay for my food. Not that my salon wasn't doing well it’s just that I had no control. I thought if I had one staff member leave me, I was gone, it’s as simple as that. I was great at hairdressing that was for sure (all the clients I did loved me) So my downfall must be business, I didn't know anything about business, so I decided to learn everything I could about being a better business man.
>>I started simple with buying every leadership, business, marketing and financial books I could and I learnt how to read them and take action on what I learned.
>>I went to every seminar I could find, with every so called expert in their field, I learnt lots and brought that back to the salon and practiced and practiced.
>>I employed a business coach (very expensive in those days) and learnt some quick ways to condense everything I had learned to get results fast.
Then one day it all clicked into place, I realised that it was my journey that I was on and no one is going to stop me achieving this. My decision was to man up and act on my decision.
I knew what I had to do.
I knew what I was about to build in my salon was a game changer, life changing systems that will get me to my dream, I knew I wanted a lifestyle salon, I knew I wanted to live in a certain suburb, I knew what school I wanted my kids to go to, I knew I wanted more freedom, more purpose and more money in life. I wanted to thrive not just survive.
So I went about systemising my business based on the 3 core elements, consisting of 9 simple steps, that grow businesses fast.
Attract - Set my salon apart from other salons and attract clients at will, get more bums on seats.
Convert - Get clients to become raving fans, get the clients to visit more often
Deliver - Bring back the client experience, the ‘wow factor’ like they have never seen before, get the clients to spend more each and every visit.
Within 12 months of implementing the new strategies we broke it all down to 3 core elements, consisting of 9 simple steps. I learnt how to attract clients to my salon, in a different way from any other salon in town, so that clients chased me, not the other way around, me chasing them. I then learnt how to convert these clients to come in on my quiet days and come more often and the difference was thousands of dollars, no one else was doing this, and they’re still not. We then realised if we delivered an absolutely remarkable result that was predictable every time the clients came in, then clients stayed an extra 2-3 years more than any other salons in town. Attract, Convert, Deliver grew my business to give me the lifestyle I dreamed of many years before.
Fast forward another 15 years and I'm living in a whole new country, in Australia and have had multiple salons since and have used these 9 simple steps on every salon I've owned, they work impeccably well. I've been a salon owner for over 20 years and I have used these and tweaked them and honed my skills to keep them modern and relevant, and today I am going to share these skills with you in this book.
You will have the same power and the same knowledge that I had all those years ago, but without wasting time because they’ve been tried and tested.
It's great to have you here.