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Around 500 BC a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus said, “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” Today, we are more likely to hear, “The only constant is change,” and feel like it’s a new idea. The truth is that change has always been, and always will be, regardless when we discover it.

When Henry Ford introduced the automobile he was amused by the idea that people really only wanted faster horses. When your grandmother drank coffee she was, at most, looking for cream and sugar not Butterbeer Frappuccinos from the Starbucks Secret Menu. When the Wright Brothers invented flight they didn’t quite imagine the International Space Station.

Recently, I attended Raylon’s 14th annual Art of Business symposium where I caught Josh Hafetz’ talk. Josh is the 3rd generation President of Raylon Corporation and he made a compelling argument. Like hair that is always growing, salon owners and managers must constantly grow, adapt, and remain relevant. Josh cited several very real examples of changes that are happening—right now—and why many of these changes cause salon professional product sales to remain flat, put pressure on salon service pricing, result in fewer appointments per year, and impact the loyalty of our clients to our salons.

After following Josh on a visual tour of the new ways our clients obtain information on beauty and style (social media, YouTube beauty tutorials, and mass-customization of consumer beauty products) another time-tested truism came to mind.

Consumer expectations are always growing.

The Kano Model (Google it) is a trendy way to understand changing consumer expectations but it too is based on an age-old truth. In a nutshell, what Kano says is this. There are three kinds of things consumers want at all times from any business:

  • Basic things: For example, A salon that is open, furnished, clean, with plenty of parking.
  • Expected things: Great haircuts, artistic hair color, and nice blowouts.
  • Delightful things: Complimentary finishing touches, outrageously good consultations, luxurious washbowl experiences, etc.

Kano also points out that, over time, things that were once “delightful” eventually become “expected,” and ultimately “basic.” This creates one of two situations for every salon owner and manager A) tomorrow we invent something new and delightful, or B) we stop inventing and start going stale.

This presents each of us with a bold and never-ending challenge: Change or go stale. Innovate or die!

I encourage you to sit down tonight, with at least one other person on your team, and list out all the products, services, and experiences your salon provides. Sort your list into Basic, Expected, and Delightful. Then look at your list and push one thing from Expected into Basic. Push one Delightful into Expected.

And then invent one new Delightful thing