As you probably know, building up the number of folks coming through your door is a slow process. There are some things you can do to speed up the process, and there are things that are sure to work against you.
First, the things to do.
1. Put up a nice website that includes the kind of shop you have, hours and location, pictures of the shop and close-up photos of a variety of finished haircuts you have given. Your website can be from a do-it-yourself software program, or you can hire someone to do it. An inexpensive approach would be to check the local trade school or high school and, if possible, trade haircuts for the work. My barber shop website is a good example–to see it, click on “Links” on the top of the home page header.
2. Ask your customers to give you a “plug” so you can include that on the website (they do want to see you succeed). Also, ask them to go to www.yelp.com and www.citysearch.com and give you some good words there.
3. Advertise your shop with the web address in the local newspaper, Yellow Pages, etc. A small ad will be sufficient.
4. The i-Pad is a great tool for recording information about your customer, especially the particulars of their haircut such as type of haircut, length, etc. Refer to it when they come back for their next haircut–if they want it longer or shorter, you know exactly what was done before, and any changes can be done with the earlier haircut as a reference point. This little tool is a sure indicator you want their return business.
5. Give customers the option of a “hot lather neck and around the ears shave”, or a close clipper cutting.
6. Keep a clean shop and practice tool and hand sanitation.
7. Have your prices and hours in line with other shops.
8. When Kristin, my daughter, recently came back to take over my shop, we ran an offer on “Groupon”. She is an excellent barber and would have built up her business in time–the coupon offer was just a fast way to do it.
Things to avoid.
1. Smoking by you or customers.
2. Slang or any of the four-letter words. Be willing to request that of your customers.
3. Sexist magazines.
4. Gossip. Talking about others makes your customer wonder what you say about them.
5. Negative talk. You do not have to be a “pollyanna”, but who wants to hear 15-20 minutes of belly-aching.
6. Talking to a third person while giving a haircut.
7. Talking religion or politics (although once in a while I am not able to bite my lip on politics).
A DECENT PLACE
This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.
Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt