I’ll confess that I have a weakness for Bravoleberties. Watching the Real Housewives of Orange County, for example, makes me feel so good about living in Nor Cal that it entirely trumps the shame of admitting I watch their compartmentalized, sterilized and plasticized drama. Oh, and Lori, I miss you. I haven’t learned much from the OC women (other than marrying rich is less work then, um, work).
Tabatha Coffey, on the other hand, actually has some good business lessons to share. I realized this when discussing the show with the best barber in San Francisco – Joe. He owns his shop and talked about some of the changes/upgrades he has made to his place after imagining what Tabatha might say if she walked through his door.
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Her smarts (delivered with
just a little New Jersey edge) are wise counsel for any entrepreneur – no need to be a barber or stylist. If you can’t bring yourself to watch the show (but you really should, especially the episode in Miami with the evil owner, or the Provincetown episode with the stripper pole and spray tan addict… but I digress), I’ve summarized a few recurring themes in the five rules for entrepreneurs below:
Rule #1: Appearances Matter. That might sound shallow, but nobody will give you a chance to earn and keep their business if you don’t act and look professional.
Rule #2: If You Own It, You Better Own It. Avoiding problems will not fix them, and denial only makes it worse so the quicker you acknowledge the problem the quicker the fix. Every episode starts out with the owner making a variety of cringeworthy excuses for why things have gone south at the salon. The solution inevitably involves the owner taking responsibility and making/enforcing changes that were easy to avoid but ultimately business killing.
Rule #3: High Expectations Help, Not Hurt. In the salons where the rules are lax or the standards are low, employees race each other to the bottom to see who can get away with the most. Not because they are bad people, but who wants to be the sucker slaving away while everyone else eats, boozes it up and gossips? Hold your team accountable for the results you expect. It makes your mission theirs too.
Rule #4: Be nice. Nobody wants to work for or with a jerk. There is a huge difference between setting expectations and shouting epithets. If you don’t know the difference, you’re in deep trouble.
Rule #5: Never forget your dream. You charted your own course as an entrepreneur for a reason. If you lose sight of that reason, both you and your business will quickly be lost and wandering in the proverbial woods.
So thanks, Tabatha, not just for the drama but the business lessons as well.