You’re having a heart attack in the middle of a busy city street. You’re laying on the ground, chest pounding and look up and see two men standing above you. One is wearing a nice business suit, Rolex watch, smells good, hair well groomed… the second man is dressed in baggy jeans, lower than his waist, sneakers, t-shirt, scruffy cut. They both yell at the same time, “I’m a doctor”, then stare at each other and then at you. Who are you going to let save your life?
That split second decision is just as serious at the choice to fully prepare yourself to put your business out there for the world to see without fully investing in the presentation of your new business.
Now, I didn’t want to lay this out there in this way, but there’s just no better way to say it than to hit hard and be real. Why is it that two hair salon/ barbershop owners of two different nationalities will do things entirely differently and get different desired results? Both have the same intention- to open a successful business. What makes me sad is when the Caucasian business owner plans well and prepares to open their business and it succeeds and the Black or Hispanic business owner takes the ghetto- fab route and they fail!
I hate stereotypes, but when there is truth to them it burns my skin, because this one can be prevented, but the mentality has to change! As a designer, I see this all the time! I’ve had a front row seat to it, over and over again…The Caucasian business owner is on point! They do the demographics on the area, they have their business plan. They research and procure the best space for their salon or shop. They hire me or another designer to design their space. They secure the proper amount of funding or have been saving on their own to open this business with enough money to do it all well. What I mean by that is that they have considered all needs to open that brand new business. They’ve taken extra care to ensure their new look brands them, so they are investing $30,000 in their build out of their space. They know exactly how much equipment they need and invest in that. They understand that marketing will take them places, so they get great signage for their new space and the right advertising in place to promote their business.
Meanwhile, I meet a minority business owner looking to open up that same shop or salon. They have big dreams but either don’t want to spend the money to make them happen, or think they can get Moet on a Mad Dog 20/20 budget. They don’t care about establishing a cohesive look in branding their business and think they can half ass the look of their space. They focus on “being real in the hood” and catering to their people, which is great and all, but will your location bring you the best R.O.I (return on investment)? I find that most minorities flat out don’t think things through when planning to open their new space. They seem to feel that, outside of rent, they can open up a new spot for $6,000- $10,000. That’s just not possible! NOT AT ALL! What happens as a result? They run out of money in the midst of renovations. They get “hood favors” to do their remodels, paint done by the guy down the street and you can tell, used chairs that don’t match and mirrors from Ikea everywhere. What they fail to understand is that that first impression in a potential new customer’s mind is framed in the first thirty seconds upon entering your space. That quick glance over your new establishment let’s me know whether your fees are worth it and whether or not I feel like you are qualified and I want to sit in your salon for the next two hours.
It drives me crazy to patron a potential gold mine like a Puerto Rican restaurant in Phoenix or Mesa and see that they haven’t put the proper investment into their business that makes it look like somewhere you’d want to sit and eat for a few hours versus order take out. The customer who dines in will spend far more money that the one taking it to go! You get that idea to open that business and you just can’t wait, you don’t have the patience and preparedness to do it right but never realize how important that start is. Then you see business decline and wonder why you’re failing. Why not plan to succeed from day one?
I’m not just speaking out of turn. I’ve been witness to dozens of minority owned businesses over the years who have come to me to help design their dream, yet some didn’t even want to pay to help them develop that space from the gate. Others got the grand total and decided to go it alone or find Tyrone down the road to help them do what they could. I’ve had a major ball player come to me talkin big talk about his new salon and when it came time to create that space, he cheaped out on it and it went out of business in less than a year. Yet, around the same time a Black owned barbershop in Mesa named Clippers was celebrating their second year in business, after investing the proper amount of money to create the brand they envisioned. Six years later and that business is doing amazing! He planned to succeed.
It can all be so simple and yet we make it so complicated because we think there’s an easy way to success, and there is…it’s called The Right Way! The Right Way garners big business. The Wrong Way brings a short-lived business. The Right Way requires planning. The Wrong Way is quick to react. The Right Way is conscious that the presentation of your business IS the MAIN reason for it’s success or failure, followed by excellent customer service. That’s sad to say, but it’s true. If you don’t look like you will do good work, I won’t even spend the money with you to see if your services are good in the first place. It all goes back to the two doctors in the beginning of the story. They may have both been trained in Harvard, but when your life is at stake, will you trust that the ghetto scrub can save your life or do you go for the guy that looks like he’s successful? Don’t kill your business going with the ghetto guy! Plan to succeed! Perception is reality, whether you like it or not. There is a system in place that already works. Don’t hate on those who have successfully done what you’re failing at and blame it on your skin color. Instead, play the game the same way and achieve the same success. Need help in making that business dream a reality? Call me and let’s discuss the many ways we can crush the competition and take your business to the top!