Chào các bạn,
Dưới đây là kênh Eventual Millionaire phỏng vấn con gái lớn của mình Trần Lê Thanh Nguyên (Nik Trowbridge) về chiến lược kinh doanh. Thanh Nguyên là chủ một công ty làm đẹp, một trường dạy làm đẹp, một công ty tư vấn các công ty làm đẹp, bên cạnh làm nhiếp ảnh gia.
Nguyên được chọn là Woman of Distinction của NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners), Hoa Kỳ, năm 2016.
Lúc còn nhỏ mình và bà xã cứ lo lớn lên Nguyên hiền và chậm quá, sẽ khó sống. Nhưng ngày nay Nguyên chỉ huy và tư vấn rất nhanh và sắc bén. Đó cũng là nhờ nhiều năm làm lãnh đạo công ty, và yêu nghề.
Các bạn có thể click vào link dưới đây để nghe audio hay xem video clip. Hoặc đọc bản viết của cuộc interview dưới đây.
Jaime Masters: Welcome to Eventual Millionaire. I’m Jaime Masters and today on the show we have Nik Trowbridge. Now, she is a serial entrepreneur in the beauty industry. She had so many different things that she did I told her that the list was too big and I was going to make her say it instead of me. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate it.
Nik Trowbridge: Thank you, Jaime for inviting me onto your show. I’m so privileged and this is so much fun for me. I love it.
Jaime Masters: Oh, we were already talking for way too long beforehand –
Nik Trowbridge: Yeah, it was dragging out.
Jaime Masters: – so we can actually let other people listen to this also because I think it was great. So tell us a little bit more about your industry salon experience and then moving forward because I know you have a couple different businesses.
Nik Trowbridge: Sure. So I guess I am a serial entrepreneur and I was just telling you before that I am so pleased to have that title. That’s something I’ve strived for. So if you’re calling me that, I’m thrilled. So I’ve been in the beauty industry about 28 years. I started honestly before I started college. And I was just one of those partying stylists and all of that. And then so all of the sudden one day I kind of found myself into salon ownership.
And then I started my salon. It was called Statements Salon. That was about 18 years ago and grew that business. And then I started an academy as well. So that’s called Statements Academy. We’re a cosmetology academy. We really focus on a boutique education, really intense, advanced education so that we can close that gap so that as we graduate people the stylist is really prepared to start making money right away. It’s kind of my focus.
And then I launched into multiple other ideas, but my biggest idea so has been the Statements Project. And that is sort of a project of love for me. It comes from my heart. What I’ve seen as I’ve grown up in the beauty industry is this need for business education. I think a lot of salon owners are great at what they do, the art of it, but they struggle with the business education because they never were really trained in the business world.
And I was so fortunate I had a lot of great mentors and I also had my dad who is a CPA as well as a corporate attorney. And so I was really very lucky that he kind of gave me that education. So I had an advantage.
But anyway, so I started the Statements Project because it is an online course for business owners and entrepreneurs. So it’s for people who want to start their own business, start their own salon, start whatever they want to start because it’s a lot of business information not just pertaining to salon business, but obviously with a heavy focus on that.
We’re trying to create a course curriculum depending on what the topic is and sort of my shtick is that I want to teach you how to maximize your profitability in every zone in your business and I’ve localized it to seven zones. And so I’m teaching that online as well as consulting. I’ve opened a salon consultancy as well. I travel and I teach seminars and a lot of classes, so I do a lot of that, too.
Jaime Masters: Yeah. I told her I’m just going to call you serial entrepreneur. She’s like, “I’ve never been called that. I’ve always wanted to be.”
That’s amazing. I dub thee – that’s what I told her earlier – a serial entrepreneur. I mean, you have three hardcore businesses that area all being run at the same time. Yeah, that’s totally a serial entrepreneur.
Nik Trowbridge: Yes.
Jaime Masters: So tell me a little bit about especially how you transitioned because one is a lot for people in general. I mean, 18 years is a lot of time, which is good. But how do you get yourself out of the other businesses so you have time to work on the new one?
Nik Trowbridge: Well, it’s about creating systems. And I think any business owner how has branched out their business is always going to say the same thing. It always comes back to that. And this is what I keep hearing, the same sort of lingo. If you create the systems inside your business that you can train other people and then you create an incentivization process, that you create an investment level emotionally of that person that you find as sort of the key people that you can trust and that have certain skill sets that fill certain gaps, it’s about being a little savvy, too about knowing who you can place in what position and then you give them responsibilities and then you incentivize them probably financially or otherwise. I mean, there are a lot of ways to incentivize as well. If you get really creative with that, you’d be shocked how well people will respond to you and help you grow your business.
But when you get them emotionally involved and invested and then give them some payback to it and then train properly, have the systems for training, and then you can say, “This is how I want this to be done. This is what my expectation is.” And then they can perform that for you. You can sort of set back and fulfill some other dreams. And I think that that’s what makes it so exciting.
Jaime Masters: Okay, so I totally want to go deep into the systems things, but before we do that because I’ve worked with salons and there’s this stigma of – and I’m sure that it’s something that you get quite a bit – but stylists or something will take or leave it. So they’ll be like, “Oh, then I’ll hop around.” And they don’t really have that all in attitude, especially to one specific salon or even in cosmetology school I’m sure it’s kind of crazy thing. How do you find those people or enact that in somebody so that way they’re all in?
Nik Trowbridge: Well, to be honest with you I don’t think it’s a matter of finding them. I think they’re already there. You just have to make that happen. And I’m a really big believer in that. I think people give up on people too easily. I think that people can be a little big egotistical and a little bit emotional and reactive. And I think that in doing that you’re not allowing that person to grow.
I would love to change and turn everyone’s mindset into nurturing your people, anyone and everyone. Now, there’s going to be things that happen with certain people that it’s just not going to work and then you have to cut ties. But I think that that’s few and far between. I think that when you have a big staff, it’s because you learned that you can nurture everybody. And I think that you have to focus on that a little bit. Take that and grow with that.
I think people cut ties too quickly, react too quickly. I think you’ve got to find what they’re good at and then pull that out from them. But it’s, again, asking them what they need. I think that so many people or salon business owners are focused on what they need. I need you to be here at this time. I need you to work 50 hours a week. I need this. I need that. Change that around a little bit and say, “What do you need from me?”
And then those people will shine no matter what. And then once they shine it’s so easy to find. Every day right now I can probably tell you I have ten people to probably pull out and I can find spots for them right now because we do regular goal setting. I think the key is implementing a goal setting system inside your business where you’re really, really documenting and tracking exactly what they need.
And I mean get real with it like I need more time off, I need to come in later because I’m not a morning person, because I want to have a baby I want to change my schedule, I need to get married so I want to take more time to spend on planning my wedding. Whatever it is that their personal need, help them with that. I mean, that’s your job. Your job is the visionary; the macro manager of that business is to drive the vision of the business, which therefore, you provide opportunities for your people.
Jaime Masters: So you can always get it or almost always get it to align? Because that’s the other thing. People are like, “Oh, well, they want this, but I either can’t find that role in my business or we can’t have them not come in until 10:00” or whatever those things are.
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: How do we actually get them to align?
Nik Trowbridge: That’s a great question because at times you can’t get it to align and you have to be okay with that. But there are many times that you can get it to align. And I think it’s about communication. I think if you create proper communication – I think sometimes when I go into salons to consult with them the thing that I feel is some of the biggest hindrance to their growth is the lack of communication that’s happening between everyone inside the business.
And so when I say what do your people want, what do they want most, what motivates them because it’s not always money. I have to be honest. Sometimes it’s just something as small as a rewarding comment or maybe helping them buy a car. And I don’t mean pay for it, but helping them go through the process to learn about it. A lot of young stylists go in there. There are so many ways you can help people and mentor people that you can find ways to align if you get creative enough.
There will be times where you won’t be able to pay that person that figure because it doesn’t fit into your budget, but there are other ways if you can get creative. So for example, if somebody says, “I need to make more money. I want more commission.” This is a prime example of this, you can’t align that. That’s just not going to work because it’s not what you need to set as a budgetary guideline for your business. But at the same time you can take what that person needs to make more money and then show them different other methods to make more money. And if you educate yourself with people who have already gone through the process, they’ll be able to teach you how to do that. And so finding mentors for yourself to help teach you that, I think it’s a really good method, too.
Jaime Masters: Okay, so let’s dive deeper into the system side, especially because you said goal setting was a big piece. But I get people asking me systems all the time. What do we start with first because especially when you’re the main person and you’re trying to do everything all at once, it’s all a problem. So how do we prioritize what the main systems are and how do we do them?
Nik Trowbridge: Well, I think the first thing you need to look at is the scheduling because I think the scheduling is what makes it very effective. And I believe this: what you focus on gets done first and what you focus on is what gets put on the schedule. And it’s literally that simple. I know it sounds so silly to say, but it is so true. When I maximized my scheduling, meaning my personal, I started with myself. So I said, “What are the hours that I need to balance my life? I’m a mom of two boys. I want to spend time with them. So what are my no goes for prioritizing that?” And putting that on the schedule and saying no one’s going to interfere with that time.
And then saying, “From this time I’m going to teach. And then this day I’m going to do consulting. And then this time I’m going to do emails. And then this time I’m going to work behind the chair with my clients.”
So having that schedule set. So when you exemplify that in your business, then you can train your staff to do that as well. So if you can pull your staff member out and say, “Listen, let’s get your schedule really tight that works for you,” start there. I say start with a schedule, tell them what their priorities are, help them put their priorities on that schedule list and then from there say, “Now, I have your attention, for this hour I want you to do this. Here are your duty lists, here are your tasks, get this down. And then here’s a checklist for it,” and then document the final result.
And so I think if you get into that kind of system, that’s the first system I would say. First system is scheduling, tracking, document. Get that in order first.
Jaime Masters: And I do that, too. I love this. We call it the master schedule, exact same thing. So I’m so excited that you say this. It’s just great validation. All right.
Nik Trowbridge: Exactly.
Jaime Masters: What would be the second thing that most people could do if they feel like they have that?
Nik Trowbridge: So if we speak from a perspective of salons, so I’m going to specifically speak about a salon, which is – let’s qualify this a little differently. Instead of just saying it’s a salon, let’s say it’s a serviced based business versus a product-based business. So it’s a little bit different. So when you do a service-based business typically you will have some subcontracting and there’s a little bit of you have to be there, you can’t just work behind a computer, etc. You have to be there with the guest, right?
And so I would say look at the front desk, which is the reception area. You need to tighten down that system. So if you go into your front desk, look at all preset dialog, preset formats, how you book, how you schedule, how you maximize the potential and the productivity there is where it’s going to happen. Because the service provider when they’re lost in the mix of the actual experience of the guest, they don’t have time to be worrying about all of that, so they can’t deliver it.
See, they’re obsessed about is the salon clean and is this happening or is this going on or whatever they’re worried about. I think you need to focus and turn that attention to the front desk/reception area. To me it’s not just a reception area. To me the front desk in any business is the sales center of that business. It’s the heart of it. And if you can create the sales possibilities there, you maximize productivity and profitability in your business.
So tighten that down. Work on that system second. What are methodologies of handling mistakes: wrong booking? How do you handle late customers? How do you handle when a staff is late? How do you – there are a million things, millions. Our front desk training procedure is actually 37 videos. So just that course alone – and that’s just for the salon business. So you can imagine. And we’re constantly updating that. There’s always new things to add. I mean, pretty soon I’m going to have 80 videos on front desk training alone. So that system is in my opinion one of the tightest systems to have outside of your scheduling of your own life.
Jaime Masters: Okay, let me ask you this. What is the system you use for systems? Because I know you’ve got the course side, but should small business owners do to keep this stuff? Because what I see is people will create SOPs and then never look at them again or never actually make decisions –
Nik Trowbridge: Because they’re not tracking or documenting. They don’t follow through with any tracking and documenting. So that’s hard. And this is why in your business you can’t be chained to the chain. And that’s hard because you’re the top producer most of the time in a salon if you’re the business owner. Or in any business, typically, you tend to be the money maker. And so that’s why maximizing that schedule is so important. So the first one – we go right back to the first one again. If you can create a pocket of time, five hours a week, one hour a day, even 30 minutes where you literally do nothing but track and document and then here’s the goal, here’s where the magic happens. If you train your front desk properly, your leadership of your business comes from there.
In my opinion, it’s not the service provider. So many people, salon owners and business owners alike, they choose from their top producers to make them the managers. But I believe that that’s really a mistake because not that those aren’t great leadership roles, but they are not the trackers and the documenters and those people. They’re not those people. They don’t have time for that. You’ve got to pull the people on the front desk that are the ones that can see the whole entire big picture that are seeing what’s happening and then they can track and document. The front desk should be tracking and documenting.
If somebody comes in late, the front desk needs to track it. If somebody has an issue with a client being unhappy, the front desk needs to track it. And then they need to relay that information back to you. And then you can make sure customer service is ideal. And I think that you train your leadership, as in your business manager, as in your accountant, as in your book keeper, all from that front desk position.
Jaime Masters: Okay, so what software – where do we track it? Is it Google Docs?
Nik Trowbridge: There are so many different ways. And so I would say in our salon we use a program called Salon Biz and we have everything on there. It’s not the only thing we have. We have spreadsheets that we create as well. And so on our website, the Statements Project, we have all of these forms that we have created over the last 18 years to document and track these things. So we have something called the Incident Tracker, which is let’s say you dump out color and you waste color. That’s an incident. It’s not a big deal, but it’s something you need to know so that when you sit down to do the goal settings we’re able to say, “Hey, you dumped color five times in a week. This is a little challenge. Let’s remix. Let’s teach you to remix your color. Let’s go back to the basics on that.”
And so you can go back and you can address the issue instead of never knowing about it and then when it gets to the point where it’s too much, you blow up and you explode and you get reactive. And so handling on a very business level like, “I documented five times and so we need to address why this is happening. Do you not know how to mix? Or what’s the challenge here?” And so then you can kind of address it that way.
And so then we use spreadsheets. So we create spreadsheets. They’re very simple. You can create it yourself on your computer. Go to Google Docs. And then we like to share. So every single person that’s responsible for that, every manager, any leadership, any front desk people that are tracking it, anyone gets included on those emails or on that connection or those Google Docs. And so then every single time somebody plugs something in, you’re able to go back and track it very easily. It’s all about creating the communication system inside the business. That’s a very hard task, but once you get it there you can’t live without it.
Jaime Masters: So that’s the thing that’s so difficult is that small business owners are all running around like chickens with their head cut off and this will solve their problem, but they also don’t have the time and space to do it. Or even if they implement it, getting the receptionist to really pay attention every single time there’s an incident, I mean, that’s difficult especially with everything else going on. How do you do that?
Nik Trowbridge: Exactly. You just have to realize – I mean, this is where it gets ugly – is that you’re a business owner, you’re an entrepreneur and this is required of you. And so you have to simply say at the end of every night if I get down at 8:00, I’m going to close my book at 7:30 or at 7:00 and I’m going to spend the last hour or two taking care of these issues.
Your salon life is at stake. I mean, you really have to make sure you take care of that. And so I hear a lot of people say, “Well, I can’t do that. I don’t have time.” Or, “I feel like this isn’t the right thing for me because I don’t know how to do that.”
And this is why I think hiring a consultant in when you are lost, when you literally just don’t know where to start, having a professional come in to help you is really ideal. But I have to tell you 75 percent of the time I would say when I go into salons, a lot of these salons already have some of these things in place. They just don’t use them. And so it’s a matter of training them.
And so when they hire on the front desk, they don’t have any training. They just say, “Okay, answer phones.” They just throw them on the desk and they just say, “Answer phones.”
How about sitting down and saying, “Watch these videos or read this SOP or read this basic four page write up about how we handle certain tracking and I want you to implement it in that way.”
And so you are initializing that. And you can’t just keep saying, “I don’t have time” or “I can do this.” You have to make time. You have to find time. You have to figure out the time to do that and it is very hard. If that requires 60 of you one week, it may. And you just have to be okay with it.
And so if anyone is listening and saying, “Do I want to be a business owner?” My first question is always why do you want to be a business owner? Do you really know the reason? Do you want to just work on your own schedule? Do you not want to have a boss? I mean, what’s the real reason?
If the real reason is that you want to grow a business and you love business concepts and you want to grow people, then you’re the right mentality in my opinion. I think if you just want to do something where you just start a business and you don’t have to go to work and you can kind of call your own shots, maybe that can work for you, but I haven’t seen that too often to be honest.
Nik Trowbridge: Yeah, yeah you have to be really willing to put in the effort in the beginning. And I would encourage you the sooner you start it, the better. When you get up to that ten year, 20 employee number, it’s so hard. It’s so hard. If you can start it right from the get go, have the spreadsheets made, have the tracking systems made, have the trainings set up, do all of that ahead of time. And you can have those professionals to help with that.
Jaime Masters: Thank goodness, right? Thank goodness we have the internet nowadays because I can only imagine starting it way back when and you’re like, “Um, I got nothing. Can’t even look it up. I can look at books and those are so slow, right?”
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: We have things like The E-Myth, which is a great book that sort of goes through the systematization, but the problem is way back when, when that book came out, the software, the information that we have nowadays is just so much more advanced than it was before. So a lot of people that come to me are like, “Oh, what’s the newest software? What’s the newest this?” They want the shiny object that’s going to help them, walk them through creating all these SOPs and I don’t think there is anything like that right now.
Nik Trowbridge: No. I’ll tell you what really has been effective for our business for communication is texting. We have everyone on a text thread. We have two text threads. We have a leadership text thread and we have – and because every business – I have seven text threads. So it depends on who needs to be included on that group. And so you’re not repeating yourself multiple times. And then you hold someone accountable to that task.
So you say, “Okay guys, who’s going to get this task done?” And then they get it done and you check back on it and track it. And so text threads have been amazing. It’s the simplest thing. Everyone has it. Everyone has a smartphone, I mean, most everyone has a smartphone these days. You don’t have to buy any fancy software or anything. Get on a text thread, communicate.
I do most of my work or my best work at night when it’s about midnight. From about 10:00 after I put my kids to bed and I sit down and I really go through and I write down everything on these text threads and I make lists to do things and all that stuff that we have to get done I put it to the right task and put the right people.
In our salon we have seven salon leaders, management and then we have about 50 employees in our business. And so we have one with all 50. So let’s say there is a class so that we can communicate that way.
And I keep hearing something about that when I suggest this. And everyone’s like, “People don’t like to be on text threads. They hate group texts. It’s like everyone wants to stab my eye out if I want to send a group text.”
But listen, it’s about business. No one abuses this. We’re not sitting there talking about did you watch Game of Thrones? We’re talking about you need to show up to this class at this time and this is information because if not then you come back to me and I’m accountable for not letting you know. This is how I let you know.
We use it very rarely, the group text for everyone, but the leadership text they know when they go on it you’re leadership. You can get a text at any time. You can get a text at 2:00 in the morning. It doesn’t mean you have to check it and respond, but it means you may get it because when someone thinks of something the inspirational moments happens and then the next day it’s gone. So in that moment you have to send that out. And that’s really what I try to focus on. I say, “Communicate, communicate, communicate. When you’re inspired, tell us so we can get that done.” It’s one of the most basic systems.
Jaime Masters: That’s so smart. I woke up at 2:00 am and wrote an email to my assistant because I’m like, “I’m going to forget this in the morning, so now I have to send it right this second.”
Nik Trowbridge: Everyone does that.
Jaime Masters: She’s like, “You’re really up late.”
I was like, “Yes, let the dog out. Yes, totally understand.”
But that’s what happens, right? In business there is no off switch.
Nik Trowbridge: Never, never, never.
Jaime Masters: Which is good and bad, right?
Nik Trowbridge: You have to force it. You have to make it happen. You have to say, “I’m shutting it off right now because this is the reason.”
Jaime Masters: How do you do that? For real. So I have kids, too. And you can’t shut off your brain because we have entrepreneur brain. So I pick up the kids. I’m going to pick them up right after and I’m going to be in mom mode, it’s going to be awesome, and I’m going to go, “Oh, shoot.” Right?
Nik Trowbridge: Exactly.
Jaime Masters: So how do you turn it off?
Nik Trowbridge: I schedule time to do work outside of being behind the chair. And I feel like at that time then I feel like I can get it all off my chest. And I’m not worried about chasing after myself. I feel like as entrepreneurs we tend to chase after ourselves a bit. We’re with the kids at Chucky Cheese and then we’re like, “Oh, gosh, we have to send this out.”
I try to find pockets of time. It’s all about the scheduling, again, the master schedule, to go back and really place that into effect. And make sure I say, “Between this time and this time I’m very available and you can do this, but from this time to this time I’m putting my kids to bed, I’m feeding them dinner and I’m just out of commission.” So I do that.
On vacations, on trips, this is a very hard thing. I don’t shut my phone off on vacation at all. But there are pockets of time during the vacation where I’ll say, “I’m just down and out, so you’re not going to get a response from me.”
But finding the people, the right people to put into place that will be empowered and accountable to fixing the change as well. And so I know for some salon owners it’s me. Everything falls on me. Well, designate someone when you leave. Say, “I’m going to put you responsible” and incentivize them with that. And say, “If you take care of this and I’m giving you the power to do this, if something happens I want you to handle it in this way” and give them some foresight about how to handle and then they can kind of take it off. But I know you and I have to do the same thing. It’s very difficult to shut off that reign. You just have force yourself to do it. I mean, I’m not successful at it 100 percent of the time either, to be honest.
Jaime Masters: But that’s okay, though.
Nik Trowbridge: But we try. We try.
Jaime Masters: Exactly. It’s about trying and trying. So that’s the thing now with vacations. I work with a lot of business owners and a lot of them are like, “I can’t take a vacation.” And it’s part systems, for sure. It’s part having the right people that can be responsible for it. But I think it’s actually easier than people think. They just don’t want to let go. And so how do we work with that? Because sometimes it’s our own gosh darn brain that’s doing it.
Nik Trowbridge: Well, I mean, I think that we – and I do the same exact thing. So I have to tell you it’s hard to pull away. It’s irresistible to call because you’re so drawn to it. It’s what lights my fire and I love that. And so I don’t want to lose that because it’s very much passionate and I feel like it’s a love affair with my businesses and I feel really good about that.
But it is realizing that you can pull away and it’s just surviving. It’s going to survive without you. You’re going to be okay. How do you do that? I don’t know if I figured that out yet, Jaime. I have to be honest. I still try to figure that out all the time. It’s about delegating, I think, learning that delegation skill to say – and I’m really good at delegating. I have to be honest. I’ve gotten really good. I wasn’t good, but I have gotten really good to delegate and say, “Can you please just handle this? And then just write it down so I can just plug off and turn off or unplug.”
And I feel like everyone’s so helpful with me about that. Have you discovered the secret to that?
Jaime Masters: Oh, of letting go in general?
Nik Trowbridge: Yeah.
Jaime Masters: I’m actually way the heck better than I used to – I actually have that on my little thing where I’m like, “What am I going to let of today?”
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: Because literally I don’t. I’m like this. I mean, I think most entrepreneurs in general are a little bit control freaks, so we’re sort saying, “And I will hold it because I can do this really well.”
Not that I’m not good at delegating either. Actually, I want to ask you a couple questions –
Nik Trowbridge: I would like to add something, Jaime.
Jaime Masters: Go ahead.
Nik Trowbridge: It’s that I think that has been a really big breakthrough for me recently. And I read constantly. We all do. But I read something recently and it was basically stating that the ego is something that we create, this personality that’s our shell. And we create this ego that we believe that we are. And we want that to manifest itself in public and we want everyone to see ourselves that way.
I think that once you come to the realization that that’s what that is and then get to your real authentic self and be who you really are inside, I think that’s a very interesting leap. And I feel like I’ve achieved that even though I might not be successful 100 percent of the time. I’ve realized a lot of that is tied to my ego and it’s not really real and to let that go and to realize I just want to be an authentic self and I trust these people that I’ve put into place and just come to the realization. I think that that’s a really good place.
Jaime Masters: I love that. It’s funny. I had a friend visit for the last five days and I didn’t have a chance to meditate like I normally do and I can tell my hold on everything was just so different in those days. And I’m like, “What is going on?” And then I’m like, “I usually do 45 minutes to an hour of meditation every single day.”
Nik Trowbridge: Wow.
Jaime Masters: And for some reason I feel like that clears your brain and lets go of everything because it doesn’t matter when you’re meditating, right? And I can carry it at least most of the day.
Nik Trowbridge: Find something you enjoy, right? Like meditating like you. It’s amazing that you do that.
Jaime Masters: Yeah, it’s tough, but yeah, it’s worth it. Well, now it’s not an addiction, but I notice the results and I think this is sort of anything in business, right? You see something that has results and you’re like, “Oh, okay. I just want the results. I don’t want to spend an hour doing it, but I definitely want the results, right?”
Nik Trowbridge: It’s great. That’s a really good thing. I wish I was better at it, too, but I’ve tried myself as well and it’s been very successful, too. I get it.
Jaime Masters: So I want to go back and talk about delegation because I really feel like, like you said at the beginning you weren’t very good at it. And it is a skillset that needs to be – you need to actually experience it in order to get better and better and better at it just because each person’s a little bit different. So do you have one or two tips that you learned as going through to try and figure out delegation?
Nik Trowbridge: Sure. I think that delegation is a skill and I think that’s what you said. I think it’s a matter of trusting somebody and getting to know them and communicating properly. So my first tip, my biggest tip is that in the beginning I wasn’t good at it because when I would ask a question it wasn’t a good enough question. It wasn’t a good enough task. I didn’t communicate properly. So the fault really lied with me.
And when I changed how I communicated what I needed and I get blamed a little bit. Sometimes I over communicate. But I feel like it’s actually very effective for me because I actually go through the entire process and I actually talk it through from start to finish and I actually say at the end, “My goal is this. And I hope this is what we achieve with this. Do you feel the same way?”
And so I always like to ask the question, impose the question, “How do you feel about that? What do you think about what my goal is? How do you think we could do that better?”
And then it involves them on a different level of investment and I feel like that really changed my delegation style versus the sort of dictator, barking, “Do this now. Get this done. Did you do that?” Instead of that, that’s not what I mean by delegation. What I mean is to think about the task ahead of time, to have foresight and then to delegate it to the correct person. So don’t ask someone that isn’t able to do it, either. You need to pick and choose the people you delegate to as well. Don’t set someone up for failure. And also don’t pick the person that hasn’t been trained to do it.
So if you want somebody to complete a task, don’t just pick somebody, “Oh, you, come here and do this.” It’s not the most effective way to delegate. I think that it’s like Google. When you get onto Google and you ask a question, you guys know we have to ask the correct question for it to give us the correct response. We can search all day long for a topic and it can give us a million different responses. It’s the same thing, I think, with people. You have to ask the correct question. You have to say the correct thing. And I think you have to ask them what their interest lies in it and then see how they can achieve it better.
And let go of the ego and just say, “You know what? You do it. You did a great job with that. I think I love your idea.” And praise them a little bit and allow them to complete the task to what they need, but at the same time communicate your expectation of it. And so instead of just barking the order, actually communicate the expectation. I think that’s a really, really big deal. And choose the right person to do the task.
Jaime Masters: These things are huge. So make sure everybody can take one piece of that and actually implement it, too because I think this is a huge thing. I am a fast mover, so I tell people, “And I want it and it’s sort of like this” and then I run away. I run away and they’ll be like, “Wait” – right?
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: So I had to get good about, because I am not a detail oriented person, sitting there, trying to – my goal was to over communicate because my communication was so limited beforehand I kept going, “How come they didn’t –? I’ll just do it myself. It’s way easier to do it myself.” Right?
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: And we get in this loop and even though we think it’s them, it’s most of the time us, no offense to everybody listening.
Nik Trowbridge: Yes.
Jaime Masters: But jesum. Yeah, a lot of times –
Nik Trowbridge: I think that once you realize that people have bigger skill sets than you, your business will grow leaps and bounds. I think you have this – me personally. Not you, but me. I have a certain skillset that I can achieve certain things and be really, really damn good at that. But then I can’t do certain things really well and other people can. And to find those people and to praise them for it and to say, “What do you think? How do you think I can help you do this? And how do you think that you think this can be done better what I even imagined?” Sometimes it’s even better than what I can imagine.
Jaime Masters: Yes. Okay, it’s funny, too because at the very beginning before we hopped on I’m like, “So I put my hair in a ponytail because your hair looks amazing and I don’t do fashion.” Right? Even in our personal lives there are things we do really, really well and things we don’t do and probably need help.
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: Or not necessarily need to up everything so everything’s a strength. It’s not about that. It’s about sort of realizing what is your strength and leveling up on that instead of –
Nik Trowbridge: And do it well.
Nik Trowbridge: What was that?
Jaime Masters: How did you figure out what your strengths were, though?
Nik Trowbridge: I think I kind of knew it all along. I feel like I’ve always known what my strengths are. I feel like I have always communicated well. I feel like I’ve always been able to handle confrontation well. I feel like I’m really good at that. I feel like I don’t shy away from that. I feel like I listen amazingly well. That’s a really, really good strength of mine. And I think this is part of why my business has grown because I’m a great listener and I really listen to what everyone needs. And I am also a doer. And so I’m very task oriented and I make lists of things all the time. And so I feel like that has really changed or helped my business grow.
And so I think that those are some of the keys that I would suggest on that in realizing your strength, just know what you’re really good at and what you do. How did I learn what my strengths are? Be really accountable to what you’re not good at and ask the opinions of others and be open to listening to them. Really want to hear it. I think self-reflection is really big key. So a lot of people don’t self-reflect. They beat themselves down. Don’t do that. Know the difference, right? The real authentic way is to reflect and is to say, “Oh, that was not a good day.”
Sometimes I’m driving home in the car and just thinking, “I could do better at that. That was not good.”
And so really calculating that next time. Going back and even apologizing or even saying, “How could I have done that better?” And learning what your weaknesses are. I think it becomes glaringly clear what your strengths are when you realize what your weaknesses are and fill that in and being reflective about it and really accountable to it.
Jaime Masters: Yeah, sometimes you have to swallow the hard pill when you’re like, “Okay, nope, not very good at that.” But that’s, again, like you said one of the most important things that you can learn as an entrepreneur.
Nik Trowbridge: It is. A lot of people don’t hold you accountable when you’re an entrepreneur. There’s no one holding you accountable. And so some people get way out of control with that. And I would encourage you to not let that happen because I think that that can be a real detriment to a business.
Jaime Masters: Yeah, it’s funny. I remember one of my business coaches way back when I did a webinar and she goes, “That’s not good enough.”
And I was like, “Nobody says that to me anymore. Oh, what?”
And it wasn’t good enough and she knew I could better, but we didn’t have that. When you’re a parent you can tell your kids, “I know you can do better than that.” But as an entrepreneur we’re the only ones and our customers could tell us, but other than that if the customers are happy what the heck else? We don’t have anybody else really telling us the pieces we can improve on.
Nik Trowbridge: Right. Analyze if you have the proper line of communication between your team. Is your team really willing to tell you the truth? And if they’re not, consider why.
Jaime Masters: I go into businesses and sometimes the employees talk to me and I’m like, “Oh, the business owner has no idea.” And they’ll be honest with me, but it’s so amazing how business owner’s like, “I think everything’s okay.” And then I talk to the employees and be like, “Everything’s not okay. Let’s just be clear with this.”
Nik Trowbridge: Isn’t that a shame? Isn’t that a shame? I mean, I try really hard to not let that happen. I hope my staff tells me first. And I always tell them I’m open to hearing anything, even if it’s the worst you got to tell me because I hope you don’t tell other people something that I don’t know.
Jaime Masters: Well and that’s the thing. They bring me in because they’re like, “Oh, I’m not sure. I mean, I think it’s okay.”
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: I think they know in the back of their head, too and that’s the thing, right?
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: It’s just easier to have someone else take the hard pill instead.
Nik Trowbridge: Absolutely, absolutely.
Jaime Masters: I sugarcoat it a little bit before I give it to them for sure. So let me ask you this because I was telling you earlier I have a client and you know this space so, so well. So I want to get your opinion. So what he does is he has product, which you’re better at this. You know for sure. He goes and he tries to get new salons to carry his product or come to his class to learn how to do it, right? What’s the best way to do that? Because right now he’s pounding the pavement. It’s working well in general, but either they turn off and they’re like, “We don’t need any more product, whatever.”
Nik Trowbridge: Yes.
Jaime Masters: Or they won’t come to the class. He’s tried social. He’s tried some online stuff. Give us some tips for that.
Nik Trowbridge: So I think that trying to get the team to come to a class is probably the last thing he should try. They won’t come to the class unless they really want to come to the class. It’s just that simple.
Jaime Masters: That’s what I was saying. Why would anyone want to come or what is the most amazing reason for people to come because if it ain’t great, nobody’s going to be able to go, right?
Nik Trowbridge: So I think that the best thing to do is trial. That’s the best thing. I think I would immediately give it to the people that are going to sell it. And I would give them the full service on it, meaning not a sample size. I would give them a full package. I think that has been the most effective thing in my business from new product lines is for the company to be willing to give my entire team the package the use and to say, “Take it home. Use it.”
And then I think another tip for that is about a week or two afterwards, after they take it home and use it, incentivize them somehow for using it. So to say if you use it and you give me some feedback, I’m going to give you something, whatever that is. It could be a prize. The first five comments that I get on it could be you get a $50.00 gift certificate to Starbucks or it could be a new – whatever. I mean, think about what he’s willing to give or ask the salon owner what do they want most and make it steep because if he’s really trying to get it in, he has to incentivize them somehow.
And then the third thing that I would say that he should do is he should go back into the salon and ask the salon owner if he could be in the salon that day and actually himself or his team actual perform the services, the shampoo services on the team, the shampoo team, the tech team, not the stylist team, the tech team and then have the tech team and him do the treatments and use the products on the guests that day completely complimentary. Get the buzz going and then set up the stations, if they’re styling products, set up the stations with it and just call it a day and say for the full day we’re going to bring in our product line and we are going to present this to you in this magic way. And we’re going to set up all your stations, we’re going to set up your retail shelves with it, we’re going to set up all your stylists a week or two beforehand and we’re going to incentivize them for the first five comments – the first five stylists that tell me their feedback on it.
And then at the end of the day – and use it all on the clients – create that complete branding effect in the salon and have his team bring the stuff in, set up it the night before and pull it back out the next day. And also I would consider leaving it in there for maybe a day or two and then just asking them to tabulate whichever product they sell. Because if you leave it in there they’re going to use it. If it’s on their station they’re going to use it. Stylists are too busy to think about, “Oh my god, where’s the next product.” They’re just going to grab whatever’s there. And if they’ve been using it at home, they’re going to grab it and they’re going to be able to talk about it.
In my opinion, I think that’s the best way. He should call that some kind of cool name. Like maybe a day of fun with whatever product line or whatever. Come up with something. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anything. But he can come up with something creative that’s pertaining to his business, to his product name. And I would go with that route. I think that’s probably the best route as salon owner, as a stylist, I would tell you that’s the one the best ways to get people to try his product, especially if it’s really new.
Jaime Masters: Yeah. It makes it actually sound fun. How do you get the salon owner to say yes because it seems like that’s kind of a distraction for your salon owners, your stylists in general?
Nik Trowbridge: You don’t want the salon owner to have to be involved in that at all.
Jaime Masters: Okay.
Nik Trowbridge: You actually want to supersede the salon owner because the salon owner doesn’t want another task and you don’t want a salon owner to stop it. You want to say, “We will provide all this to you at no cost and all you have to do is just take this home and use it and that’s all you have to do.”
Do you mean to say yes to that kind of event?
Jaime Masters: Yeah.
Nik Trowbridge: If you tell them it’s all free, they’re going to agree. I mean, to be honest with you the salon owner most of the time is just looking at what’s this going to cost me and what do I have to do. How much work do I have to put into this? And if you require the salon owner to do a lot of work physically, that takes more time away. They’re not going to want that. They want something that makes their life easier. And so even offer them half the retail sales of the product the second day. Say I’m going to bring the whole line. I’m going to leave it here and then whatever you sell you get to keep half.
It’s already incentivized for them. And so what were they –?
Jaime Masters: So that way it makes it feel like it’s something. They could win something.
Nik Trowbridge: Exactly.
Jaime Masters: It’s a win/win for everybody.
Nik Trowbridge: Exactly. Most distributors or product manufacturers, what they do is they just try to send in to the owner only. Well, I have to be honest with you. The owner rarely uses it because the owner doesn’t have time. And the owner’s not even thinking about it. It’s the stylists that are looking for the product line. It’s not the owner necessarily. Some owners are. I mean, to be fair, some owners are. But most of the time it’s the owners that are running, running and owners are the ones stuck on the one product that they’ve used for 25 years that they love and that’s the one that they have inside of the salon.
It’s the stylists that want the new sort of thing. They offer a lot of points as well and education. Salons want something that will be able to incentivize their staff. So for example, Kerastase is a great line that we have in our salon. They incentivize because they allow people to grow points to win trips to Milan and to Paris and things like this or fashion week. I mean, what stylist doesn’t want this? Because it lets them be a part of that editorial world and they love that. I don’t know where he’s at or what level he’s at with that, but those are one way to do it.
The second way that I think is really, really key is for him to find educators that are small level, not the big, big, big massive level, small level. And say, “I will provide you with the whole line to use during your classes and during – all you have to do is just use this and I’m going to provide it for you.”
Those educators love that kind of sponsorship. So I would tell you as an educator myself, I love that kind of sponsorship. I’m teaching on a hair stylist cruise in November and they emailed me and said, “Hey, do you know of any corporate sponsors that would fill our swag bags?” I think there’s something like 700 stylists going or something like that or I think 800 now. But right there you have a captive audience. I mean, he could literally be the corporate sponsor for that entire cruise. There are always things like that happening.
Jaime Masters: That’s what I wanted to ask you, too because if he can’t be local – because that’s the thing, too. Leverage is important, right? And even if he has a team, it’s like, “Okay, we can only do the salons here and then we either have to expand and have another team or have our team go there or whatever.”
Nik Trowbridge: Right.
Jaime Masters: So I’m thinking how can we do online or bigger plays of one to many. So the cruise is one.
Nik Trowbridge: I would capture things like those things.
Jaime Masters: Okay.
Nik Trowbridge: We’re doing an event September 18th and 19th, it’s a two day event for about 200 salon owners and we’re giving two days of business education and then education that’s hands on sort of stuff the second day. These kinds of events educators like myself are always looking to fill corporate sponsors. He needs to get in touch with them.
And then it’s not like trying to get in multiple salons with all these little fingers, it’s one localized event where he just ships it to that event and set up at that event. So even though it might not be local, it’s still very manageable. And I think that that’s a really, really important thing to do. He needs to start connecting with those kind of people and creating those relationships. And it’s about knowing people and building a network.
Jaime Masters: I love this. Thank you so much.
Nik Trowbridge: You’re welcome.
Jaime Masters: He’s going to be ecstatic, too, by the way because that’s the thing, each industry is always a little bit different, right? So I work with a ridiculous number of industries, game board organizers, crazy stuff, right, plumbing companies, but each one has little nuances that you really – you’ve been in it for so long, you’re like, “Okay, I know.”
People just do this. So that’s the thing I really highlight and want people contact the people that are in those spaces that know better, even if they’re not necessarily educators like you or coaches like you, but be able to ask somebody that is a salon owner what would you want in this.
Nik Trowbridge: Right. You ask and customize the plan.
Jaime Masters: Exactly.
Nik Trowbridge: And do the work for them. See, that’s the thing. Owners are overwhelmed with the amount of work. And so if he’s ready to do some good service like provide the service – they say they give service but they really don’t. I mean, I’ve been through so many product lines. They say, “Oh, we’re going to support you this way and we’re going to support you this way.” At the end of the day you still have work. You know what I mean? And an owner just doesn’t want to do that.
Jaime Masters: Yeah, for sure. They couldn’t implement all the systems we talked about for them before then they’d just let them do whatever the heck they wanted.
Nik Trowbridge: Exactly.
Jaime Masters: That’s amazing. And we have to start wrapping up. So what’s one action, right, and especially thinking of all the service owners in general because a lot of people listening definitely have service businesses, what’s one action listeners can take this week to help them move forward towards their goal of a million?
Nik Trowbridge: Well, I can tell you I can probably give you ten things right now, so it’s hard for me to pick and choose which one I would tell you because I think they all are intrinsically tied together, but probably the first step – and it depends, again, on where you are. I think this is such a customized answer for the person and where you’re at what I would say, but I think a master schedule is going to be one of the most relevant things.
The second thing is to find a mentor. So if I could throw out two things. The master schedule, I think, is a given. The master schedule is given. So let’s put that out of the way. I would say that’s an easy task to do. Sit down and make an amazing schedule for yourself. But the other thing that I would say, if I could put a priority on it, probably the higher priority is to find a mentor, find someone and I don’t mean mentor as in your neighbor who had a business. I mean somebody who is doing what you want to do. Somebody who is already as a business owner in the industry that you want. Reach out to them. Connect with them. The internet is an amazing tool. Start sitting down one night for three hours every night and literally pull up as many emails as you can and find as many contacts, go onto websites and just contact. And you might get one response out of a hundred people, but eventually something’s going to happen.
I would tell you to find a mentor and find somebody that you can just ask a few questions, to talk to and just sit down and have a plan of action and create a plan of action for yourself.
And so to wrap it all back up into it, it goes partly into that master schedule again. If you can talk to somebody that gives you some feedback and say, “Okay, where you’re at is to do this, this and this, Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3” I think that’s probably going to be the biggest thing for you. You have to find a direction when you’re lost. And if you’re feeling like you don’t know where you’re going, you’re like, “Right now, what do I do?” I’m throwing my hands up in the air and I just don’t understand. Ask someone. Just ask anyone. Ask you. You’re a great person to ask because you talk to so many people.
And I think that there are a lot of people – entrepreneurs are very gracious people. They want to solve the world’s problems. They want to fix the world. And they want to create solutions for the world. They’re going to talk to you. Every entrepreneur would be happy to talk to you.
And I, personally, if you want to contact me you can email me. I’m completely open to talking with any business owner, especially if you’re a salon. Obviously I know that business more than anything. But I have a lot of affiliates that are in other businesses that I can connect you with as well. So if you want to contact me, I’m going to give you my email. I know you were saying that that might not be a –
Jaime Masters: I was like be prepared if you give them your email.
Nik Trowbridge: I know. I’m prepared. I’m prepared. So if you want to do it, send me emails. I like to stay up until 2:00 in the morning emailing people. So it’s Nik, N-I-K, @TheStatementsProject.com. So just email me and I’d be happy to talk to you and just give you just one call to action that’s maybe a bit customized to you.
I think that you need a plan of action. Find somebody that you can rely on that gives you some energy to know the direction that you’re in. The first thing to do when you’re lost is to find the direction and sometimes you just need a little help.
Jaime Masters: Yeah, that custom – oh my gosh. The people I interview are just fantastic, aren’t they? I’m talking to everybody that’s listening. The fact that I told you in advance, too, “Well, some people give their email, but I’m warning you just in case.” I mean, you guys are amazing. Of course, contact her if it’s a perfect fit and make sure explain to her how you can help best and keep the email short, people, just so we know so that way she doesn’t get too overwhelmed. But I really, really appreciate that. How can they find more about you and what you provide, especially with all the different businesses that you have?
Nik Trowbridge: Sure. So the fastest way is Instagram. It’s always a nice place. So my Instagram account is @NikTrowbridge, N-I-K-T-R-O-W-B-R-I-D-G-E. So you can just get on Instagram and you can private message me there or whatever. You can get on my Facebook as well. It’s The Statements Project Facebook. Please join and like that. And I’m happy to send you anything we post, anything about classes that we do.
I’m also a business consultant. I don’t worry about the money and honestly in the beginning what I wanted to do was I wanted to create a network and I want to create relationships. And I just want to help people out. So if anyone wants to talk about anything, I was there. I was the young salon owner, lost, didn’t know what to do. Sometimes I find myself in those same shoes, but I’m very fortunate to have a lot of people helping me and to achieve a lot of things that I have and so I’m very, very lucky and I want to give back in that way.
I’m also if you go onto Twitter, it’s TheStatementsProj, @TheStatementsProj, P-R-O-J. So you can go on Twitter as well. But Instagram and Facebook are two of the easiest ways to connect with me through social media and I love it.
And then my email Nik, N-I-K, @TheStatementsProject. So you can email me there and I’ll be happy to send it back. The website for my online business is TheStatementsProject.com. Please go on there if you’re looking for courses about business, actually systemizing your business really is what it is. And anything about financial literacy, I really teach that. That’s kind of my specialty. I teach a lot of financial literacy to salon owners that really need to understand how their businesses are running and how to do it better and get profitable. It’s all about profit.
Jaime Masters: Heck, yeah. I’ll have you back on the show and we’ll talk only finances next time and how to be more profitable and have people know the stuff, too.
Nik Trowbridge: It’s my thing. I love it. I love it.
Jaime Masters: I feel like people avoid that as much as humanly possible and we need to shove it down their throats because they’ll understand as soon as they start seeing the bottom line go up, they’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, this is absolutely amazing.”
Nik Trowbridge: Yeah, I’m always about doubling your income. I want to teach stylists how to double their income. I want to teach salon owners how to get to that million dollar, $2 million, $3 million mark. So –
Jaime Masters: I love this. I’m going to follow you on Instagram.
Nik Trowbridge: Thank you.
Jaime Masters: So I think everybody else should.
Nik Trowbridge: Yay.
Jaime Masters: You can actually chat. Thank you so much for coming on today. I really, really appreciate it, Nik.
Nik Trowbridge: Jaime, it was my pleasure. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.
Jaime Masters: Have an amazing day. Take care.
Nik Trowbridge: You, too. Thanks, bye-bye.
[End of Audio]
Duration: 50 minutes