Making The Cut

By Scott and Jennifer Fontana

Making The Cut

Making the Cut: Get Rid of the Box

To differentiate your business, you have to think outside the box; better yet, just get rid of the box altogether. Of course you know this, but are you actually doing it?

Unfortunately, many businesses are not. As we searched for brands that took their products or services to new heights through creative thinking, we came up short on success stories. There’s much discussion about thinking outside the box, but finding examples is challenging.

Here at Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, we’re breaking the mold. This April, we will be hosting our first ever hair show to find OC’s Best Hairstylist. We’re working collaboratively – not competitively – within our industry. As we kick off the contest this month, top stylists from salons throughout the county are invited to enter the competition on our website (www.cristophenb.com/news/events). In the coming months, we’ll narrow down the participants to five finalists and those finalists will compete on stage to win the title “OC’s Best Hairstylist 2013,” along with cash and other prizes. Hosted by Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, and managed through our salon’s website, Facebook and Twitter, every element of the hair show ties back to furthering our industry credibility and driving new clients into our salon and onto our digital networks.

Ready to move beyond selling and servicing, and diversify your efforts through a little creative thinking? Follow these tips to get your juices flowing:

- Do what you know. Getting rid of that box of limitations doesn’t mean getting out of your comfort zone. If you own an auto repair      shop, for example, you could host an annual car show that brings car owners together, on your property, to show off their vehicles. At Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, we know hair. We’re experts. So it’s a natural fit that we would bring our industry together to recognize the best in hair styling. We’re not trying to be something we’re not; rather, we’re furthering our platform of sharing what we know.

- Tie it back into sales. Creative thinking does nothing if it’s not positively impacting your bottom line. Figure out how to tie each of your efforts back into promoting your business and driving more traffic into your doors and onto your website. Let’s revisit the car show idea: while hosting the car show, the auto repair shop can give all attendees a “bounce back” card with a discount or free tune-up with purchase of any other car repair service. The goal is to incentivize people to come back and give your product or service a try. If they enjoyed their experience, you’ll have a repeat customer for life.

- Collaborate. So often, businesses ostracize their competitors seeing them as only that: competition. Instead, find ways to collaborate with your industry to improve the quality of everyone’s services or products. This doesn’t mean that the auto repair shop should necessarily invite other auto repair shops to the car show, but it does mean they should invite car dealers who may want to show new car models (even if those dealers also offer repair services), or an auto lube shop that wants to offer attendees additional rewards or prizes. Bottom line, don’t rule out your industry players when they could actually become great referral partners, or even employees.

- Execute. We can’t say it enough – talking about ideas will only take you so far. Write down your goals, map out a plan, ensure its viability, and begin the work. There will always be distractions or other obligations. You can make excuses forever. The problem is that those excuses will forever prevent you from rising above the masses to be an industry leader. Prioritize what needs to get done and start doing.

Do you have a success story of creative thinking, where you didn’t limit yourself or your business to the proverbial box? Share your story with us here.

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