I had always wanted to own my own business when I grew up, and I also always knew that this business would either be a barber shop or a record store, as they were both my passions. When I turned 23 I decided that it was time, I spent a lot of time learning about and educating myself on different business models, and given that male grooming was a la mode, I decided that a barber shop would be what I went for. My father and his father were both barbers so I had the technical side down, I just needed to implement my business learnings. Sadly, after 4 years we had to close down Soul Quest Barbers for a number of reasons, mainly financial, and I wanted to share what I have learned from the experience.
Be Nice But Don’t Trust
My dream was to have a friendly barber shop which everyone would love coming to and love to work at. I planned Soul Quest to become a community-spirited barber shop and this was probably where I first went wrong. I never wanted to be a boss who demanded excellence by shouting the odds, but rather through example. I was very kind to many staff, paid them i advance if they needed it, gave loyal customers heavy discounts and ultimately, I was too nice for my own good. I lost a lot of money over the years through kindness, and that won’t happen again.
I didn’t want to spend much money on marketing when I opened Soul Quest, mainly because I didn’t really have the capital to spare. I used staff members and implemented traditional marketing techniques, which just didn’t work. By the time I started going hard on social media and digital marketing, the horse had already bolted. I now know that I should’ve invested all that I had into marketing from the outset.
I hired all of the barbers who worked in the store and I foolishly only hired them based on their ability to cut hair and carry out treatments. This meant that Soul Quest had some great barbers, but not great staff. I went through barbers like slice of bread at home and this was mainly because I failed to see if they had the right characteristics to fit in with the rest of the team. The result was many embarrassing incidents between staff, which inevitably made it onto the Soul Quest online reviews.
I took on way too many aspects of the business on my own and it cost me, I was managing payroll, accounting and operations and working long hours. I now realize that I was never able to give my all to each of these functions and I should have sought out help.
Although Soul Quest didn’t work out how I’d have liked, I have learned a huge amount from this and I can guarantee you that when Soul Quest 2, the record store, gets off the ground, everything will be better.