Why Barbershops Fail
& How to Make Sure Yours Doesn’t
First things first, don’t let the title of this post scare you.
We’re not sitting here telling you that if you decide to take the leap and open your own barbershop that you’re somehow destined to fail—no way. There are (obviously) tons of barbershops out there that don’t just survive, they thrive—customers need great barbers, and if you can offer that to your market, there’s something to be said for that.
That being said, because we’re in-the-know when it comes to the barbering industry, we’re not about to sugarcoat anything either.
The reality of starting any type of business—no matter what industry—is that sometimes they fail. Things go wrong. Mistakes are made. Doors are closed.
But that doesn’t have to be the case for your business. In fact, if you’re skilled, savvy, and open to running a business that keeps the most important facets in check, you’re going to do just fine. And one of the best ways to make sure your business starts off with smooth sailing is to know right from the get-go about some of the most common mistakes barbers make within the industry that can oftentimes result in a failed barbershop.
We’ve narrowed down a few factors for you to take not of right from the start so that you can keep your barbershop biz successful!
Hardcore Resistance to Change
Even if you’ve been in the barbering biz for decades and have done things a certain way successfully for a long time, as a business owner, you can’t be afraid of change. Times change, things change, and your clients’ preferences change, too.
If you’re not tuned into what’s changing and what’s worth investing in, you could be left in the dust. Too often, barbershops have gone under because they were afraid to make the necessary changes to survive. And while those changes are going to look different for every barbershop out there (depending on a wide array of factors), being open to those changes and really addressing whether or not they matter for your business is going to be vital to the success of your business.
Forgoing the Golden Rule—Customer Service is Everything
Barbershops—and other businesses, too—often fail because they forget what’s at the very core of their industry—customer service.
Yes, you’re a barber. You’re an artist providing a service, and you’re damn good at it, too. But at the end of the day, you’re not in the barbering biz, you’re in the customer service biz. Failing to acknowledge and respect that within your business could set you up for failure.
Ask yourself, your employees, and your customers what you can do better. Think hard about your current system. Did you greet your clients at the door? Remember their name? Offer them a cold beverage? Did you teach your client how to care for their new hairstyle post-appointment? Did you sign them up for a loyalty program?
Making sure your clients are the center of everything you do is one of the biggest ways you can guarantee success for your business.
Long Waits & Quick Service
If your customers are walking into your barbershop and spending more time waiting than on their actual service, that’s a problem. This goes back to rethinking how you treat your customers, but also can speak to how you treat your craft.
Yes, you want to offer your clients speedy service, but you want to find that sweet spot where they know you’re spending an adequate, deserved amount of time on them without feeling like they’re being ushered in and out of the chair in a snap.
Even if your clients are looking for a relatively quick experience, no one wants to spend their hard-earned money on the fastest hair cut ever. Make sure your grooming service is relaxing, it’s peaceful, and most of all, makes your clients feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
Avoiding Digital Marketing & Social Media Presence
We can almost classify this under the tuning into change thing, right? If you’re anti-social media or anti-digital marketing, you really might want to rethink your strategy.
We’re not saying that social media is the only key to your success, but we do think that in our modern era of online credibility, having a well-established online presence for social media proof is enormously important for the longevity of your business.
Location, Location, Location
Like it or not, location is actually a big part of why barbershops fail. We’re not saying that every barbershop needs to be in the most premium spot in town to succeed, but we are saying that if your barbershop is hard to access, not easy to find, requires extra effort to track down, or simply isn’t convenient for any market of client, you’re going to find yourself facing trouble.
Listen, we get it—great locations cost a ton of money, and we know that that’s not always the right financial move for every business. All we want to stress here is that setting your barbershop up for success is going to include making sure clients can actually find it, access it, and locate it.
At the end of the day, we don’t have a secret formula that guarantees your barbershop business success—only you can find that out. But we can offer you the best advice possible for the barbering biz, and that’s entirely what we intend to do.
If you’ve got tips, tricks, or advice for your fellow barbers about how to avoid barbershop blues, drop a line in the comment section and let them know you! For more business advice, barbering trends, and need-to-know shop advice, keep up with NAOB’s regularly updated blog!