Just back from a big beauty industry conference and I’m renewed and excited in that way you get when you’ve been to a show. Getting out of the office and away from the daily grind is an antidote to complacency and boredom. Whenever I’m finding myself in a rut, I try to get out of here — whether it’s to a show to mingle with readers and marketers, or to a salon for a manicure and to talk to techs, or even just to the bookstore to go through magazines and get ideas from what others are doing. When things start to seem a little stale, it’s because they are. Stop what you’re doing and make a change — a change of scenery or a change of attitude.

The whole concept of change was the main message of the keynote presenter at this particular show. It’s a message I’ve heard many, many times before, but a message that is forever relevant: to stay ahead in business you have to constantly look ahead to the next thing. Change is a constant and you have to stay ahead of the pack. And as soon as the pack catches up with you, you’ve got to switch gears and take business to the next level. He had a funny quote about being paranoid. “Only the paranoid survive.” The idea is that even when you’re doing well, the competition is gaining on you and you have to be ready to take a quick turn or do something radically different. As much as you have to keep your sights on the future, you have to look over your shoulder as well.

This is a good message for nail professionals. If ever an industry was changing, this one is. The industry is fundamentally different than it was just 10 years ago. Some say that the traditional nail salon is a thing of the past, made extinct by the proliferation of discount salons on the one end and spas on the other. But I don’t think so. As our article on page 94 will attest, the mid-level salon is still alive. However, although alive and well now and accounting for a large majority of the U.S. salons, it must continue to adapt and change if it is to survive into the next generation of salons. The unease that many mid-level salons have always had about the low-end salons was justified. But what ha? happened is the low-end is raising its standards, improving its reputation. If you were afraid that the low end would simply proliferate, you were wrong. The low end is improving in just about every way possible, and leaving what was once thought to be the bread and butter of the industry — the mid-level salon — lagging behind.

If that’s you in the middle, it’s time for a quick peek over your shoulder, and a few quick turns. 

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