What would happen if you introduced yourself to another nail technician at a show or seminar and asked her advice on a problem you were having? Would she exploit your self-disclosed weakness and steal your clients? Probably not. What she’d probably do is tell you about a similar problem she had and offer helpful suggestions. There are enough things to be worried about in this industry without worrying about sharing a little information with a fellow nail technician.
I understand that a person in business has to guard certain secrets in order to stay competitive, especially in the nail industry, where every little business-building technique is an advantage. But I’ve seen this problem in the extreme, where professionals would rather suffer in silence than ask for help from another nail technician.
But I have seen what good can come of sharing information, even with potential competitors. I conducted several focus groups recently and had the opportunity to talk to small groups of nail technicians about industry issues. What I learned is that technicians want to learn about each other and share information, but they’re afraid to. They’re afraid that if they give their good ideas away they’ll lose clients.
But so much good can come of letting your guard down and sharing experiences with other technicians. At the close of my last session, a small group of salon owners gathered and exchanged business cards and I heard them tell each other, “Call me if you ever need anything.” They shared comments on products, what classes they attended, tips on building teamwork among their employees, and promotional programs (one salon owner actually shared with another how she conducted her most successful promotion). There was give and take: Everyone gave an idea and everyone took one with them.
Sharing what we know does not diminish us, does not give our competitors an advantage over us. It improves us and it improves everyone around us. Being a team player doesn’t mean you support only your salon coworkers, it means you support your industry coworkers. When you do that, you improve yourself, you improve the industry, you reduce the fear.