Most of us learned to build from an early age. We built forts with friends, sandcastles at the beach, mud pies in the backyard or at the park. At some point in our lives we envisioned a structure and made our imaginations a reality. We learned that barbers were builders as well-- teaching us the art of taking a blank canvas and crafting an entire haircut with just tools and an extensive imagination. Many people never stop to look back and ask a very necessary question, how did this get here? The building, the chairs, the name, the smell of hair products, even the brooms tucked away in the supply closet.
Building a business is a series for barbers who’ve housed a dream to establish themselves as a business or business owners, and are looking for answers to questions about starting a successful business. The series will cover a multitude of concepts and ideas that go into building and maintaining a business and expert tips throughout the process. Today we will start at the beginning: The Blueprint.
When we build houses, we use a blueprint to secure the frame. It’s a detailed map of how things should look and requires a detailed analysis of the “factual to secure the actual.” As barbers, hoping to build our own business we need to think about our “factual.” We need to start by asking ourselves three simple questions:
What am I offering?
Who am I offering it to?
How am I offering it?
Before we start networking and talking about the details in our business, we need to answer these three questions. We can think about this as setting the frame for the picture we are trying to paint. If we don’t know who's going to want what we’re offering and how we’re going to get it to them, then we don’t have the basic foundation to continue our journey. Let’s look at an example of a current successful company, Zay’s Barber Supply, and their answers to the following prompts.
Elite Barber Tools (What am I offering?)
- Barbers worldwide (Who am I offering it to?)
- Online-brand shop (How am I offering it?)
Looking at their model, we can see that they’ve established themselves by anchoring their business within these three concepts and then ensuring that this information is readily available to anyone curious about their brand.
The answers to these questions aren’t always obvious and may take a little work to produce. We can make the process easier by looking at our initial motivation for starting a business by asking ourselves the following question:
What is my brand mission/goal?
Everyone wants to survive, so monetary gain is a given, if not a necessity, but this question requires us to think more critically about our brand’s motivation. Do we want to help specific communities? Do we want to build an empire out of babar-related tools or Do we want to share our expertise to allow other barbers to build their own empires? Do we want to do both. These are the types of questions we need to ask ourselves to answer this question effectively. We can use I.O.I to help us:
Intention- what are our intentions in starting this business that we will put a dedicated amount of time and effort into?
Outcome- what is our desired outcome from starting this business and does it align with our intention?
Impact- how will our brand impact us and communities around us, and are we looking to impact a particular group in a specific way?
In any business, or in any instance that we seek to take the internal and make an external effort, we need to map out the frame before we can add the details and the content. Creating a blueprint will allow us to move forward seamlessly in the process of establishing our business and allow us to be clear when we communicate our ideas to others.
So, what will your blueprint look like?
“A big business starts small.”