Business 29 April 2017
In a world brimming with beauty products, differentiating yourself is a challenge. For me, it was about asking myself what’s important to my clients, followed by: how do I want people to perceive my company, The Lash Gallery and me?
We experience different types of services from various companies. Whether you’re getting a manicure or pedicure, or receiving service when ordering food at a restaurant, it all boils down to how you feel when you are done. You will begin to pick and choose what works for you and what doesn’t, and you might reflect on what could have been done to improve the process. Knowing what’s important to you and for your clients is the foundation that cultivates your brand.
It seems like products are being commoditized everywhere. Specifically in the lash industry, services are being imitated and beginning to look similar as a result of traditional barriers collapsing. You can't survive on "me-too" products, services, and providing your clients with the same look. That approach will fail you every time.
Stay clear of the assembly line if you can, because it’s about the customized experience.
To sustain a competitive advantage in today's oversaturated industry, I chose to make certain changes to break from the pack. This entails taking clients far beyond mere satisfaction. My compelling creative style keeps The Lash Gallery far ahead, while capturing the essence of enhanced beauty. That's how I've set myself apart in the competitive beauty industry.
Then of course it's my passion, not losing sight of what always seems to draw me towards achieving greatness. I knew creativity and knowing the facts should be the focus. Creating not only means creating things, it's about innovating yourself, and that's where I believe it needs to start.
Breaking from the pack wasn't about recreating the wheel; it was about adapting to the change without losing sight of my craftsmanship.
Being a Double Advanced Certified Xtreme Lash Stylist for 10 years and currently among the 300 Certified PhiBrows (Microblading) artists in the United States, I find it imperative to continue to look for the latest trends in the beauty industry. Most importantly, never stop investing in yourself; take more classes, find the best academies or trade companies in your industry and dedicate your time to growing. It’s important to cultivate what you've learned and master it.
Clients appreciate you making the effort to customize their look, offering them a design that contributes to their beauty, not take away from it. Take the time to understand design and theory and other services that help you stand apart and incorporate that with your knowledge. Focus on all of those things because your work is the art piece being displayed in the public. Be the expert and devote the energy because people will recall the quality you consistently deliver.
Lastly, get involved with the ongoing fast pace of convenience, which means embracing technology. To stay relevant, companies today must integrate technology into its overall growth strategy. Be able to gain a deeper understanding of the market trends, customer behavior, and the overall performance of your business, which will give you a competitive edge over other competitors in your industry. Having the right information on hand can empower you to work smarter, analyze data, and make changes where needed. This will foster productive discussion, which leads to empowerment and information sharing. This contributes largely to greater motivation and productivity, ensuring your clients and customers that your company is consistently challenged to do their very best while dominating their industry.
From Your Site Articles
3 Min Read
"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.
I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.
Find A Need And Fill It
I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.
I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.
Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.
Have Working Capital And Credit
There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.
I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.
Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.
My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.
Know Your Product Thoroughly
I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?
My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.
My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.
Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!
More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.
Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth
I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.
I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.
Delegate From The Bottom Up
I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.
In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.