So this is not about hair, this is about business. Local businesses, small businesses and mini businesses.
I am what I consider a mini business. I do not have my own store front, I have no employees, and I do not own my own salon. I am a one woman business renting a small space in a big salon which in the world of business makes me feel I am classified as a mini business.
This does not mean I don't market like a full small business has the opportunity too. I use my website and blog obviously, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked in., Google +, Pinterest and word of mouth.
I think a lot of small businesses and mini businesses don't realize the opportunities out there to bring new clientele in. I think it seems overwhelming to set it up and then manage it all. The great thing is that a lot of the sites link to each other so for instance, when I update my blog it posts to Twitter and Facebook at one time if I want. Pinterest can spread word of mouth simply by uploading a picture of your business or service and people see it, like it and pin it. It's virtually free advertising. Now if you don't know much about building webpages it can seem daunting but there are a lot of websites, free even that make it really easy to just drag and drop things you want on your site. The one this website lives at is called Weebly, for me it is the best I have found. There are companies out there that will charge you monthly or yearly fees to build you a website but I found these all look very generic and lack some of the salon's real personality.
For those of you that don't know that in a previous life I was a QA Engineer which means I tested computer software so therefore I am pretty geeky and love working on this stuff. I also love being able to help friends set their social media foot print up and get it all in line and as perfect as possible. Maybe it's nostalgia.
Here are a few rules I live by and maybe have mentioned in previous blogs.
1. Do not bomb your followers with posts trying to sell them something. When I see people post numerous times a day selling to me it makes me want to unlike the page or hide the feeds. I want to be reminded that you are out there and how your small business is doing but I don't want it to be shoved in my face. I try to post something once a day and most the time I try to post something useful, a hair tip, makeup tip or of course like this post a business tip. The business tips are not the ones that get my site the most hits but I feel like if I can make one more small business aware of the opportunities to build your business it is worth the low hits one day.
2. Go back and read your posts, edit and make sure it make sense to you and says what you had intended. Hell even after I do that a few times before hitting enter I still sometimes miss something but I try.
3. Add a picture. When possible I try to add a picture because people like quick and visual and a picture is more memorable. Look at the success alone from Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and other picture sites. If nothing else when you post it to facebook it will look different then every other post flying by on peoples newsfeed.
4. This one is probably obvious but you might want to keep your religious and political beliefs off your business sites unless of course that's part of your business. I try to think of all the opposing people's business I could be losing by the things I believe. For me my business is about my business not about my personal beliefs.
5. Try to keep it positive and upbeat. Money is tight in our economy and you are probably tired like we all are but I will tell you when I hear people complaining about how broke they are and exhausted it makes me think...is that what I want to talk about the whole time? Or is she too tired to give me a good service?
6. Most important...Site your sources! If you use a picture, give credit to the person who took it or posted it. There is a major buzz going around right now because people are using other peoples pictures of makeup, hair and art and calling it their own. It is not the biggest form of flattery, it is the biggest stab in the back. I try to put links either on the picture when you click it or somewhere where I am talking about it. It's one of those internet etiquette things.
Now these are all just my opinions and you could say you are a loud mouth opinionated jerk that should stick to hair. Ehhh, I feel like if I have some helpful tips, hair or not to help my fellow small businesses out then the people who might be offended will get over it.
Signing off note, frequent your small businesses if you can, refer them to your friends if you feel you got great service and if you didn't look around some more. There are a lot of us out here looking to make our current and new customers happy.
Thanks and have a great day!
Hey I needed a picture! Found this in the bathroom of a little divey tavern in Enumclaw, WA. Not what I would expect to find there but ok. Something to catch the eye here!
So a friend of mine and I, you could call her my partner in crime have been friends since we were 21 and 22 and during that time we had some fun together so when it comes time for us to get out of the house before we rip our hair out we usually go out together.
She had an amazing idea to get away to this place up in Bellevue called the Bellevue Club. Her husband is a member here so to be honest the room was on him because it was a signing bonus I guess of sorts. She planned a full day of spa treatments for us and dinner at their schmancy restaurant called Polaris. So as a rule or habit I tend to be cheap but every once in awhile I love to splurge on a good meal. I'll get to the food later though because it is going to take up some space.
Upon arriving at the hotel we were greeted by a very nice valet person who helped us with our bags and then checked in. For some reason I was expecting a bigger entrance or something more hotel feeling. The lady that checked us in was extremely nice and helpful and told us we had been upgraded to a premiere room! Sweet! We didn't have time to drop our bags off first so we just headed down to the spa. Now her husband had said, "It's not fancy." I think from now on when he says that I will be inclined to believe him because he is really not fancy to begin with.
Something to know about the Bellevue Club that will make this all make sense. It is not just a hotel it looks like it's primary business is the "Club" aka gym. Here is what their site lists for the facilities because I would hate to get it wrong.
Yea so it is pretty huge! So when we went to the spa we had to go down a few stairs and into this hallway that made us feel like we were in the basement (because I think we were) and a laundry cart rolled past us. When we got to the spa door it really just looked like a Dr's office and then we found out that only the nail salon was located there. We were given robes and then taken a few doors down the hall into the locker room to put on our robe and then told to come back to the waiting room. So here is where things got a little weird for me. The locker room is huge and so easy to get lost in, just to find the actual bathroom portion is literally a maze. Since it is a gym locker room that is the ambiance you get, if you are expecting a little hazy room, with little sandals and spaish you are not going to get that. I went back to the waiting room by myself because my friends appts started first with the massage and facial and they are in another room down the way. I will admit while sitting in the waiting room I was second guessing our stay, the robes were one size fits all and my ass is anything but one size! The waiting room door was open as you can see in the picture below and right next to the waiting room...the mens locker room. Every time someone went in there they were looking straight ahead at me sitting there in a robe I was desperately trying to keep closed on the bottom.
The saving grace for my nail services was my nail tech Tara. She was so nice and helpful and very down to earth. She did such a great job especially since I had been to a place 3 weeks earlier and had shellac done to my nails and it had turned into a mess. Tara had to really work to get the stuff off my nails and was apologetic lol about the fact that my previous service at a place somewhere else went bad. She really started the turn around for my visit.
After my nail services were done I trodded down the hall to the massage and facial waiting room, which was relaxing, warm and enclosed. What I would really expect from a spa area. My facial was first and the room was very relaxing but to be honest the facial was not as relaxing as some I have had in other places. I really felt like she was just washing my face (yes I know that's what a facial is) and well what really sort of sucked is the products she was using somehow creeped down into my eyes and I tried really hard to keep them closed but after I had thought it had been all washed off I opened them and sure enough my eyes burned like hell! They still feel a little angry today.
Massage up next and this lady was all business. She gave a great massage and made sure I was getting the amount of pressure I was after. My only comment is that it felt more like a sports therapy massage which is great because being a hairstylist I am of course all messed up but I guess it's just not what I was expecting. My friend also made the same comment when we met back up.
Back to the locker room where I searched the maze of lockers until I found mine. Now part of this honestly was probably my inability to think or walk proper after having such a nice long massage but I still got lost trying to get to the bathroom. What's uncomfortable about getting lost in a locker room is well...women change in a locker room so every wrong turn I took I was confronted by naked women. I am not a prude but you have to admit it feels a bit awkward...a naked maze.
By this point we were so incredibly starving because we hadn't eaten all day and it was already 6pm so we headed on up to the room to change for dinner. What we were greeted with was definitely a beautiful room. Funny enough the "premiere" upgrade put us into a king size bed...from 2 queens lol. In our years we have slept in the same bed many times so it wasn't a big deal but still funny. It was an extremely comfortable bed with soft linen and the room was set up well and had tons of amenities. The bathroom was pretty amazing, huge tub, separate shower there were gadget, buttons and modern little touches everywhere. See the picture of the soap for a good laugh on a waste reduction ideas.
We got ready and went to dinner but had a hard time finding the restaurant because a huge graduation party was going on and we had to cut through it and all the fancy (and frankly) uppity people to get to it. When a waiter walked by with a hordevours on a plate I almost wanted to just eat one! The restaurant has a nice decor and our waiter was great. I wish I had actually found out his name so I could post it here. Bald, tall guy with a sense of humor and good taste and recommendations. I was shocked because when we sat down and he asked if he could get us some drinks I replied back with "We just sat down could we have a few minutes to actually decide." Once I said it I realized it sounded extremely bitchy but he didn't even flinch and it made me wonder what he is used to. I was hungry what can I say but I did apologize! We both ordered this fancy martini which I don't usually do and it was way too sweet for us and you could not complain about being cheated on the amount of alcohol in this drink because after 4 sips we were both buzzed! It took a while to finish the whole thing but since I am not a big frou frou sweet drinker this was probably just issue. We then ordered orange vodka and soda water....strong and then we were giddy drunk!
Now to the food..it deserves an entire paragraph on it's own. We started with a carrot curry soup and it was so rich and so good, but if you get it stick with the cup because it is more than enough! We were offered some bread which uhhh of course we took. This was our bread consisted of.
Ok there was some real bread as well but doesn't this totally remind you of bread they would serve in the stereotype of Bellevue?
My friend had the shrimp and pasta and I had the prime rib with yukon gold horseradish mashed potatoes and broccolini. The potatoes were some of the best mashed potatoes I have ever had and if you tell my mother that I will deny it. For dessert we had a fancy lava cake that I cannot remember the name of but it was delicious! I got the fruit tart and it was pretty boring and the crust was a little like bland cardboard, that could have been the point and it was just lost on me but whoa was the toffee lava cake good!
At this point we were so full and so tired we completely ditched the idea of going out on the town and instead went to our nice room, put on the robes and watched some Chopped. I know...stuffed and we watch a food show? Hey, for some of us getting out of the house is getting to eat all your food without someone asking for it and being able to hear the tv and sleeping through the night!
So extremely long story short I would go back but not for the spa services. Next time I will try the other restaurants, eat at Polaris again, and utilize the other services like the pool, the jacuzzi and steam room. Since I had no idea what was there and the whole feel of it it wasn't what I was expecting. Now that I know we will plan our trip differently. All in all, great service people, great room and fun time.
One thing last thing, Bellevue is not usually my taste or brand of people. I live in Tacoma and I really like the blue collar feel to it but if I want to get all gussied up and drink a few super strong drinks and stumble to a comfortable bed this is definitely where I would do it at.
Thanks for your time to stop and read my thoughts!
Welcome to you and to me. This is the beginning of a hopefully useful and fun place to come for tips and tricklets for your hair, makeup and anything else I feel like pushing on you. ;) Isn't that sort of what blogs are about? I am here spiffying up the site trying to get it ready to announce on my facebook and twitter. I want everything to be up and ready for when I make my big move/relaunch over to Willow Salon and Spa. Right now I am in a cute little shop in the Proctor district and will definitely miss it there. I am so excited to start working with more stylists, to have the opportunity for ongoing education and a pretty fabulous looking salon! Well that is it for now I must continue on my website building adventure...next up is user testing so you don't all end up in internet limbo. A random picture for the end of your day.
It is officially grilling season you know!
what's this for?
I find so many things I love out on The Internet and I want a place to share it. Trends, tips, and hopefully some fun stuff too!