Be an agent of change

Here, he advises a little self-reflection
if you want to see change in your business…

In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens wrote: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” These words are relevant today. There is so much knowledge openly available and exciting opportunities and yet we see some of the most incredulous decisions being made in the world around us. If this year is to be your best ever then you have to make some wise decisions. By now you will have already made some and some will have been good and some may not. There is rarely a right or wrong so don’t worry, just make a new decision and move on.

Look at your business with what we refer to as “immigrant thinking” – look at everything as if you are seeing it for the first time and ask yourself this question – why are we doing that?

If the answer is because it’s what you have always done, then that is rarely a good enough reason to carry on. Change in the world is faster than Lewis Hamilton and yet we often carry on doing what we have done for years and wonder why our results don’t change. “Carry on doing what you are doing and you will carry on getting what you are getting.”

So why are we so scared of change? Why are we happy to change the hairstyle, or colour, of a client yet unable to move to a different styling position in the salon we work in everyday? Why are we scared to raise our prices, drop unprofitable services, love out of the business unprofitable team members, work different hours or different days, embrace new products and ideas, or try anything that is radically different? I have just turned 65 and love our industry with a passion. I am tempted to retire and walk away to my house in Spain but cannot do so just yet. Those of you who have heard me speak at Salon Smart know that I love to challenge your thinking. I see that many issues challenge our industry. Prices that need to rise, fragmentation by self-employment, legislation changes and a lack of fabulous people entering our industry.

I count myself truly fortunate to be able to work with salons from all over the country.  I see salons that are breaking the mould and thinking out of the box and others, that don’t even know that the box exists. They just carry on doing what they have always done. Unfortunately I feel that the latter are in the majority. So let me ask you these questions:

  • Do you use the same phone and communicate with your friends in the same way as you did two years ago?
  • Do you listen to music or watch TV in the same way as you did two years ago?
  • Do you shop in the same way as you did two years ago?
  • Do you basically offer the same services and work the same way in your salon as you did two years ago?
  • Do you basically offer the same client experience that you did two years ago?

How many of you answered no to the first three questions? And, if you are really honest with yourselves, yes to the final two? Once again, I hope I have made you think…

Ken West is director of business experts 3•6•5 – email him on

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