Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Need Rx for an Ailing Business? Check out Bravo's "Tabitha's Salon Takeover"

As you know we've been snowed in here in Atlanta. I decided to use the time constructively and watch the new show on Bravo called "Tabitha's Salon Takeover". (Ok, I'm not sure how new it is but I just discovered it on Monday!) I watched 4 or 5 episodes. Bravo was having a bit of a Tabitha's Salon Takeover marathon. (Are they trying to compete with those Law & Order marathons on A&E? I digress.)

I think the show is excellent. It provides a clear prescription Rx for ailing businesses. Tabitha, a stylist and successful salon owner herself, visits hair salons around the country taking one week per salon to effect a turnaround on the ailing salon business. Hair salons are selected from the numerous salon owners who write in and request her help. Tabitha essentially parachutes in (figuratively, not literally - since this IS reality tv, I must be clear), assesses the situation from all sides, recommends a course of action and implements. All in one week.

The issues obviously are specific to hair salons such as how to cut or frost hair. However, many of the issues apply to any retail business - cleanliness of the work environment, level of reception, customer service, etc. And a significant number of the problems apply to any ailing business: effective vs. ineffective management styles, employee training or lack thereof, low employee morale, poor follow through, insufficient IT support or antiquated software systems, etc.

On the show Tabitha follows a methodology. She conducts an assessment where she first observes the behavior of everyone in the salon from cameras the employees and owners don't know are there. Next, she views portions of the tape with the owner and asks him/her/them what he/she/they think the issues are. She then introduces herself to the staff and holds a staff meeting the following day where she gets employees' input on the issues at the salon. Sometimes the owner(s) and staff agree on the issues. Sometimes their opinions are highly divergent. Sound familiar?

I think Tabitha's Salon Takeover shows business consulting at its best. Sometimes business owners need someone else to come in and assess problems and their causes. When a business encounters difficulties, small business owners often spend so much time down in the trenches they cannot elevate themselves up to see the forest for the trees. And again, sometimes the owner(s) is/are the problem.

Tabitha's Salon Takeover states that it follows these steps: 1) Clean up management (notice this is first!); 2) Re-fresh staff. It also injects new life into the business with new customers 3) via a day spent doing marketing and PR. 4th: The show spends 2 days renovating/re-freshing the work environment. 5th: Tabitha focuses a great deal on providing great customer service.

I'm quite sure many others besides business owners watch this show. It has a lot of entertainment value. (How many entrepreneurs do you know who like to be told they're doing things wrong or they are one of or the main problem? That right there makes for certain drama!) However, I think the show provides an EXCELLENT view of what goes wrong with businesses...and how to fix them and get back on track. And perhaps be even better.

So I highlyrecommend you check out Tabitha's Salon Takeover. Even if your business is running smoothly, you'll pick up a few helpful hints...if not for yourself, then for others.

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