The skills required to be self-employed for 30 years – Part 2

When someone reminds me that our business is 30 years old it kind of doesn’t feel like anything to do with me because I am way too young to have a 30-year-old anything and I’m certainly no wiser than the next lady and I did not set out to be self-employed in the first place. Roy had dreamt up Cape York Motorcycles when he was a kid and he was always going to do it. I was just the channel to assist in the creation of his vision and I reserve the right to continue to decide what I will be when I grow up.

Back when I was a kid, hairdressing, I learned so many invaluable business lessons that I had taken for granted, I didn’t have any business education but I had a multitude of small wisdoms from the salon that made a major impact on our business and set it up for strength and sustainability.

My first manager had a customer card system in place for all clients and we would get the card out for every engagement with that client. The card held all the magic on it! We’d record all of the basic details along with the client’s style and colour choices obviously but we also had the partner’s name, kids’ names, where they had their last holiday and how they take their coffee or if they prefer a glass of wine during their visit with us. Yep, those were the good ole days. Every member of the staff would read the card before talking with the client, then it’s easy to say, “Mrs. Client do you still have white and one? Would you like a coffee?” Then the next staff member would ask about the kids by name.

Our clients felt pretty bloody special and they certainly were not going to go to the unknown salon down the street ever again. We’ve moved them into the friend zone and we’ve made a client for life.

Now what do you do with that card after the client leaves? You schedule it for a follow-up, you make a note and you give Mrs. Client a well-timed call to make sure everything is as she wanted and see if she’d like to make another appointment and you tell her when it’s due. Not to mention Mr. Client should be well recovered from that little biopsy or they should be back from that vacation by then so there is plenty to chat about… etc. etc. You get the picture.

I didn’t know when we started our male-dominated tourism business that these methods were pretty specific to female hairdressing. I’d certainly not seen any of them on the dodgy jobs I’d done while I was travelling and so I just adapted them to what I was doing in our business and our clients responded in exactly the same manner.

You’ll know when you’ve mastered this skill because you’ll be spending your days with friends all around you. What you practise is what you become.

Renae Kunda, Co-founder and Director, Cape York Motorcycle Adventures