Thursday, May 27, 2010


Everyone at the Western Hills School of Beauty and Hair Design takes the "managers course." The managing cosmetology course includes an additional 300 hours of study beyond the 1500 necessary for an Ohio state cosmetology license. Those three hundred hours are spent in the study of how to plan and run a small business including the regulatory laws and codes for a salon. The core assignment is to write a business plan. The plan must include a mission statement, a company overview, a list of products and services, an advertising and marketing plan, financials for product sales, a personnel plan, a financial plan, a floor plan (designed to code), a location map and resumes for the owner and staff. The instruction for this project is very thin (at best) and the resulting plans are essentially useless. But my business plan is not useless. My business plan is BEAST! I got the assignment back in January, did some research and then spent about twenty hours knocking it out. I was back in my comfort zone and it felt really good. Really fun. Really energizing. When the plan was done, I printed it out on nice paper and had it bound at Staples. It looks awesome and is awesome.

Now everyone wants me to help them with their business plan. At first I thought they wanted my help to actually develop and write their business plans -- to help come up with differentiating mission statements and then building all the rest around that. But no; what they really want is someone to type up their crazy-ass plan, make a logo, print it out on nice paper and get it bound.

Isis had to do a salon business plan when she was "locked up." She takes it very seriously because she already has a significant clientele (from doing "kitchen hair") and very much wants to have her own salon. Having run a successful small business in the past (albeit an illegal one) she's one of the few students who has the right skill set to be successful. Because of this I was pretty psyched to help her.

She gave me her hand written plan to review. My thought was that we'd work together to flesh it out. At first glance it looked pretty good. All the headings are there, the writing is way better than I thought it would be, and there are several pages of financial charts. But where I thought we'd work on it, she thought I would just type it up, add a logo, make it look good and get it bound. We're still struggling with this.

She keeps asking me "Do you still have my plan and when you gonna get to that OG?"

We've had several discussions with me saying things like "I thought the whole point was so this could be really good. So you'd be able to take it to a bank and get a loan. Or a grant! You could totally get a grant for this. You're the perfect profile. I found this organization...."

"Yeah, OG, exactly. You just gotta do it."

Well OG can't "just do it" because after a few introductory sentences almost every section ends with "more content to come later." But really, the biggest obsticle is that her mission statement is COMPLETELY UNSUSTAINABLE. But I can't make her see that.

Me: "Do you really think '...providing affordable make-overs' is a good idea? How are you going to make money doing that? Affordable isn't going to make you any money. And a 'make-over' is a once-every-several-years kind of thing. What you need to get the same person coming back every week, and paying big bucks for something only you can give her."

Then she argues with me that she wants to do "affordable make-overs." And asks me when I'm going to have her plan typed up.

I've been hitting my head against the wall on this for weeks. Months really. So now I'm thinking "Oh to hell with it." I'm just going to type the thing as is, make her a logo, get the thing bound and let Ms. Ebony tell her it'll never fly (no matter what kind of paper it's printed on or how sweet the logo is).

Besides, Ms. Ebony totally gets it and wants me to help her with her business plan. She asked me "how much?" "$2,200" I told her. "I will totally pay you that, if that's what it takes." Her plan will be as BEAST as mine. Actually it probably will be mine. I have no intention of having my own business. I want to work at a big corporate salon that charges $135 for a single process color and makes the client blow-dry their own hair. Something like Bumble + Bumble; where I use to get my hair done back in the day when I was writing real business plans.

No comments: