Thursday, February 21, 2013

What you need in your business is... Clarity! Part 1

Have you ever read any of Patrick Lencioni's books?  Death by Meeting is one of my favorites.  They are business parables.  Easy to read, but he makes great points.

He recently wrote The Advantage.  It takes all his other books and puts it into a step-by-step approach to developing a company with a competitive edge. 

The first step is to have a management team that is willing to communicate openly.  He has some exercises to bring your team through that starts them understanding each other better.  Then you teach them how to disagree with each other constructively. 

The second step is what I loved!  In fact, if you read these blog posts, you will walk with me through the process of developing Clarity with the Mirabella management team.  This is the 6 step process:
  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is important, right now?
  6. Who must do what?  
Today we went through step one, "Why do we exist?" 

The key to this first step should answer the question "How do we contribute to a better world?"  It should be idealistic.  This should NOT be something you can ACTUALLY accomplish, rather it is bigger than your company.  It is what you aspire to. 

Also, when thinking of "Why do we exist?", your statement should ring true.  It should actually be something that your company is trying to do everyday, perhaps subconsciously. 

To help us answer this question, it helped to determine who our audience was.  The following are the different groups your business could be ultimately set up to serve:
  • Customer
  • Industry
  • Greater Cause
  • Community
  • Employees
  • Wealth (the owner)
We then began a discussion of why Mirabella exists.  One person talked about our founder, Christy Thurston and why SHE started Mirabella.  She started the brand so her salon could offer prestige cosmetics in her salon.  Therefore, we wrote down, "Helping salons to be successful with makeup."

Our creative director Amber said that she thinks we exist to help woman feel more comfortable in their own skin.

There was then a long discussion about who is our client.  Is it the woman using our product or the salon that sells the product?  Again Amber stated that we try to think through how a salon could EASILY sell the product to their clients.  We always try to remove the guesswork for our salons.  We ended up realizing that our company exists for consumers, trying to make woman more beautiful.

Then there was another manager that was an internal manager who thought our company exists for its employees.  She admitted she thinks that because she doesn't have a view of our salons and consumers. 

We had a long discussion about mineral makeup.  Is this who we are?  Probably not.  We decided that we indeed have clean and healthy ingredients.  We think that is VERY important.  But ultimately we are not ONLY a mineral makeup brand. 

Then I told the group about Amber and I's discussions recently about a Mirabella tagline.  We really don't have one today.  We had begun playing with the idea "Mirabella--Makeup with Personality".  Amber has been creating products like Blush! Colour Duos that have names like Radiant and Merry.  This is how a woman should feel while wearing this product.  We came up with some fun and beautiful concepts for this year that were all different moods. 

In the end, after lots of discussion, Amber said we are "inspiring confidence with whatever the day may bring".  That really rang true with the management team.

That is who we are.  We try to help woman feel fantastic about themselves no matter what they are doing.  Whether they are moms, employees, wives, board members, or athletes; Mirabella is there to help them be confident!

Then we realized that of the different groups our business served, it seemed we were most interested in the Greater Cause. 

So we are done with step 1. 

It was great to get everyone on our management team discussing the core of our business.  They got much more committed to who we are.  They all had a voice in determining a part of our future.  It was fun.

And I am excited to go to step 2 next week!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why Private Label is NOT the Answer for Makeup in Your Salon

Salon and Spa owners are busy.  Their list of duties is huge.  They need to:
  • train and lead a team of people
  • market and develop their salon and its offerings
  • handle the financials of the salon including payroll and bill paying
  • educate themselves about all the newest things in the industry
  • hire great people (this is a full time job!)
And this is assuming the owner doesn't do services themselves!

The idea of having your own brand is exciting.  The margins are better.  There are private label manufacturers who do much of the work.

But to develop a brand that your CLIENTS think is AMAZING is a full time job.  In fact, it is more than that.  At Mirabella, we employ a person to manage our social media.  When your customer looks at your brand, they want to know if it has credibility.  If it is JUST your salon, it will lack that social media credibility.

We have a team of people who do product development.  We are constantly surveying the industry for what is hot, interesting, revolutionary.  Then bringing one of these ideas to market takes time and money.

We have a team of people who market our brand.  Whether it is signage, photo shoots for new images, PR, or displays; all this takes time and money.

What generally happens with salons that attempt private label is they make the initial order.  Then they are completely on their own to make the brand work in their salon.

Still due to the adrenaline of starting their own brand, it might actually get a good start.

Mirabella Graphic Girl Collection
But 3 months later, who is going to think of the next innovative thing?  Is there someone you can call on to show you how to do it?

In hair care, private label was a big deal for salons 20 years ago.  But the owners learned they are better off concentrating on their business.  And let others focus on building brands.

But for some reason, salons and spas are still falling for this. 

Mirabella Tester Unit
Save yourself the heart ache, if your going to get into makeup use an established brand that will do all the work of brand building for you.  This will give you time to make your business AMAZING!