Cut hair, not marketing

When I went to get a haircut recently, I was able to walk right into a local barbershop and get a cut. No appointment, and no waiting. In fact, there were three barbers standing around talking, with empty barber’s chairs in front of them. I asked the one cutting my hair how business was.

“It’s not so good,” she said.

I asked her why she thought that was.

“It’s the economy. People used to get a haircut every month — now they put it off to save money. And instead of getting real color here, they go buy the $10 box at the drugstore.” In fact, she said, the economy was so bad that business was even below the height of the recession, in 2009. There was no way out that she could see. All we could do was hope and pray that the economy was going to get better, and soon.

There’s only one thing wrong with her theory:  I had come to this barbershop because the one I usually go to was packed wall-to-wall with people, and I couldn’t wait an hour for my turn. (So I went to one I knew wouldn’t be busy.) Why was the other one busy, while this place was empty?

The other one is actively marketing themselves.

They’re doing specials and promotions. They’re actively engaged in social media. They’re advertising in local newspapers. They have a frequency discount program. And they send reminders on birthdays and holidays. Oh, and they charge more than the other place.

As they say, hope isn’t a plan. No matter what the state of the economy is (or what you think it is), you should set your own plans for how to grow  your business, and then pursue them. Otherwise, you might find that your competitors are giving you a haircut.

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