I love this question Adam, as it takes me back to the time when I did exactly the same thing and went from two salons to three. What I discovered literally changed my life, as the challenges that I then faced led me to join 3•6•5, the wonderful organisation of which I am now a director.
When I had two salons, which were fairly close together, I could ‘be there’. I split my time between the two and was one of the main income producers, and also problem solver/maintenance man/generally Mr Amazing. When I bought my third salon I soon realised that there was only so much that I could do and that what I needed were systems that made my salons work, whether I was there or not. It’s worth reading a book called The E Myth by Michael E. Gerber that explains the transition from skilled craftsman to businessman.
To build and maintain a brand you need two key things. A true understanding of what your brand stands for and its values, and then systems to ensure that everything about your brand is replicated in all of your branches. This is exactly how a franchise works. You can go into any McDonald’s or Costa Coffee and you know what to expect. The product is the same and the service you receive should be the same. In other words, your client experience should be the same in each of your branches.
Now I know that each of your stylists is different, but to become a brand with a strong identity there has to be a uniformity across your group. Pricing should be the same, promotions should be the same, branding and salon design should have a strong common theme. In your question you mentioned ‘identity, ethos and beliefs’. Your Instagram page says that you provide ‘a fresh look at men’s hairdressing’. If I were to ask every member of your team what this really means, would they all say the same thing?
You are in the fastest growing and, I believe, one of the toughest sectors of our industry. Yet I also believe you are in a sector that offers amazing opportunities for the bold to rise above the masses. Your team culture is going to play a vital part in creating your brand and I hope your barbers are employed because otherwise controlling culture and creating a brand becomes virtually impossible. With self-employed barbers you are in fact a landlord with little or no control in the eyes of the HMRC over what happens in your salons.
Systems also ensure that your business functions whether you are there or not. As you grow they ensure that each extra site operates exactly as you want it to. You need systems for attracting and ensuring the retention of clients, building a team and a culture to be proud of, educating and creating opportunities for your team, and building profitability and long-term security for you and your team.
I learnt none of this when I trained as a hairdresser, which is why I joined 3•6•5 as a member nearly 30 years ago.
I love the look of what you are doing Adam but trust me, to continue to grow a brand, most of us need some coaching to develop new skills. I wish you nothing but success.