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Business Owners vs. Entrepreneurs

Friday, December 1st, 2017

By Grant Miller, salon consultant

Business owners and entrepreneurs – most people think these terms are interchangeable. Isn’t every business owner an entrepreneur? The answer is no. The definition of an entrepreneur is “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk; an employer of productive labor.”

In my opinion, the key phrases in that definition are “considerable initiative” and “productive labor.” A business owner typically runs and manages a business with little or no innovation, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Owning and running a small business provides an income that supports your family and is part of the American dream.

Far too often, business owners fail to grow their businesses in new directions, which may cause them to go out of business. Your business is a living, breathing thing; it needs to grow, adapt and change with the times

My first business was a small corner store that sold items such as lottery tickets, milk, bread and snacks. I was definitely a business owner; I didn’t have a boss and was making a profit. However, that little business was never going to generate a large profit.

In an attempt to increase revenue, I added VHS tape rentals to the back of the store. Within two years, that little corner shop became a full-fledged video store. I later purchased the rental space next to me, knocked out the adjoining wall and created one large store – but I didn’t stop there.

Within four years, I had expanded into a chain of six video stores – but I still wasn’t done. I started to put racks of videos and DVDs in other local corner stores and would split the revenue with the store owners. While my main stores were making a great profit, this additional expansion created even more revenue.

The main point I want to convey is that I continuously changed and adapted my business.

When I realized the video rental industry was never going to recover, I started to look for an additional service that would intrigue customers. A friend of mine had successfully added tanning to his video stores and encouraged me to try it – this started me down a new path. As I learned about tanning, I either closed the video stores or transformed them into tanning salons.

I noticed the majority of local salons were small with basic level beds, and they didn’t offer a luxurious environment or equipment. I decided to make my salons different and was the first owner with large locations, high-pressure tanning and spray tanning.

Since the tanning industry has slowed down, I’m changing the business once again by adding high-end spa services to my salons. As a result, I’m bringing in a larger and more affluent customer base that’s willing to spend more money on luxurious services. While other salon owners are fighting over the $19 a month tanning customer, I’m focusing on clients with a higher disposable income. Every city has a wealthy demographic, but you need to find and provide them with what they want.

Don’t simply label yourself a tanning salon owner; you’re a provider of products and services that make people feel amazing about themselves. While this does include tanning services, imagine what else you can provide that’ll make your business thrive.


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