The ultimate goal is to create connection, the sort of connection you would ideally enjoy in a family, where there is trust, support and reliability among brothers, sisters and parents. Even without a family business in the literal sense of the description, you should create that familial fabric among your clients, your employees and have it be real and sincere.
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Growing up in my family we always had the choice to do whatever we wanted with our lives professionally but lots of us followed our parents, aunts, uncles and siblings into the salon industry because they all made it look like so much fun.

The family was in the business, and the business was the fabric that we all had in common, and when relatives gathered at Thanksgiving and Christmas, talk of the latest fashion trends and business advice and strategies would flow even faster with the festivities.

One piece of business advice stands out, in part because it was repeated so often by so many of my relatives from the time I was a young girl sweeping the hair from the floors of my father's salons. It went something like this, "If you treat your client like the king of the earth, you'll make more money than you'd know how to spend."

There was usually some exaggeration included but the core message remained accurate - business success is about relationships as much, or sometimes even more, than the service or product provided. And I think it's fair to say that we all followed that advice because we've all been successful, individually and as a family business.

In practice the advice means this:

•When your clients walk through the door, you make the connection with sincere warmth. You let them know that we are truly excited to see them.

•Always, you are humble toward your clients. It is your privilege that they have chosen to come to you, not the other way around.

•You may be great at what you do but never put yourself on a pedestal. By definition, this creates distance and detracts from the focus on your client.

•Make a point of looking at your clients in their eyes when you speak with them and avoid talking to them 'through the mirror.' Again, we want connection, not distance.

•That client in your chair is the one and only person you want to see at that moment.

•If a client is dissatisfied with your work, don't ever question her, which really means that you strive instead to see the situation from her perspective. In the stylist world, you may think the end product looks like a million bucks, but if your client doesn't like it, then work to fix it.

Some of this is from the perspective of a stylist but these guidelines have application in any business, and in all of life. The ultimate goal is to create connection, the sort of connection you would ideally enjoy in a family, where there is trust, support and reliability among brothers, sisters and parents.

Even without a family business in the literal sense of the description, you should create that familial fabric among your clients, your employees and have it be real and sincere. Our salons now have more than 2,000 salon professionals across the country. I make sure that every single one of these women and men have my cell number and know that they can call me with a problem.

Having said all of this, I concede to making mistakes, to being tired. But in a family, we understand and forgive. For the vast majority of these instances, save the expressions of exhaustion and weakness for home. Your clients, though, probably understand and even appreciate the fact that you are human. That, of course, should be the exception and you should always strive to reward your clients with your best side.

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