BarberNation: 5 Things We MUST Do Better In 2016
by Christopher Burke
When I, affectionately, call out to the ‘BarberNation’, I am addressing the who are the event promoters; those who are involved with the manufacture of tools and products; those who educate in the student and professional arenas; shop owners and their staff; and anyone else who is following that burning desire from within that leads them to this industry.
As workers and supporters in this age-old field of trade, we find ourselves embarking on a new season in barbering. 2015 was filled with much of the same things we have seen a lot of in recent years, tons of networking, plenty of shows and educational events; several new products and few tools that were, nostalgically, re-released.
But, 2016 seems to be a bit different. The energies applied before, by a few passionate visionaries have, now, reached a tipping point where momentum takes over and spawned a movement that could catapult our beloved industry onto life’s center stage. My question is, “Are we ready!!??!!”
There are 5 things we must do to further advance in this season:
1. We Must Unify
Unity is a primary, foundational principle for success. Without it, we fall. As we transition into 2016, it will be key that we function as a unified body. Though we may each bring a unique gift and play a different role in barbering, it will be important to maintain that we are one. We may have to remove push back our ego, but being an inter-connected group, supporting one another with encouragement and function will help each of us fulfill all that is required in our call to be a barber.
2. We Must Specialize
Specialization is the best way to maximize the effectiveness available through the diversity of our gifts.
Take a good look in the mirror and assess your strengths. Where do you naturally excel above what is considered ‘normal’? We’ll call these ‘supernatural’ abilities. Your supernatural abilities are the greatest contribution you can make to the body, as a whole.
It is important to, always, see yourself as the valuable, missing puzzle piece to the body. That is not just pride and ego talking; it is something that comes from the unique quality of your gift, and how it is expressed through your character, personality and experiences. It is the irreplaceable you that supports that mindset and the commitment to grow in unity that benefits the industry.
3. We Must Invest
We must invest in the trade if we expect to get anything out of it. Those who expect to get something out, without placing anything in, are robbing from the growth and expansion that would naturally come about. When we don’t understand the importance of investing, the result is that we produce more robbers than investors and the trade experiences a decline instead of an increase. This has already happened to us over time and must be corrected in 2016.
What do we invest? Time, energy and money are some of the tangible contributions we can make toward our own efforts, or to benefit the whole industry. How about the intangibles? We need to share new concepts and ideas, duplicatable business models and advice on leveraging the power associated with branding. This builds us up and makes us strong; growing us into a mature force that has what it takes to make the world a better place.
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4. We Must Protect
So much is talked about when it comes to gaining, but what is seldom mentioned, is protecting what you have accumulated.
We have an enemy that is set against the industry in order to take marketshare, financial resources, territory and other assets we possess, benefit from, or have use of, in order to expand and generate income.
Since we are all in the interests of profit and growth, it is best that we keep watch of our borders, and identify the rules and regulations that scale us back. Participate in our local governments. Identify outside competitors who try to encroach on our business, and as a unified front, do what it takes to fight back and win where it benefits us. We must network and communicate through trade organizations and hold effective events that strengthen our industry while being willing to look within ourselves, willing to shed our own traditions and bad habits that hold us back.
5. We Must Serve
And, finally, we must remember that this is a service industry. We cannot forget that all of this is unto giving our customer all of the best we have to give. Without them, we cannot advance. When he wins, we win.
We are not to be predatory, seeking our own profit at our clients expense. It is all about relationship. When we touch the lives of those who sit in our chair, or ones who buy our products, they must benefit in the process, as well. Individually and corporately, we’ve got to have a solid value proposition that supports what we charge, as well as, our claims of being upscale and being vital to the lives of the people and communities we serve.
In 2016 and from this point on, remember this: our success is a by product of the customer’s satisfaction. Build trust, first, with your clients and you will develop the sense loyalty and faithfulness that will drive success for you all of the years to come.
Christopher Burke is the Commissioner of The Barber Society, an online network of barbers and author of two books, ‘What’s He Gonna Say Next?: The Ultimate Guide to Modern Day Barbering’ and ‘A Leadership System for Barbers: How to Mobilize a Movement of Barbers in Your City’. Both are available on the Official Barber Society Online Store, www.TheBarberSociety.bigcartel.com/