Balancing risk during reinvention

Over the last year, I’ve led our team through a rebrand and the introduction of a new salon and spa concept. PENZONE Salons + Spas aims to help guests connect with themselves on a deeper level and go beyond outer beauty. We encourage mindfulness with holistic services. We even provide access to plant-based food options and cold-pressed juice because great hair, skin and nails start with proper nutrition.
To many, this approach may seem a bit untraditional. We believe the risks we’ve taken will improve our guest experience and evolve our industry. When you’ve been in the business as long as we have (April marks 50 years), you must balance the risks, but not be fearful to reinvent to remain relevant.
For any business at a crossroads, we’ve learned a few tactics to balance the risk of reinvention.
Support reinvention with facts
When you’re working in the business, it’s difficult to find the time to work on the business. Make it a priority. Think big and get out of your own way. Be open and mindful, and listen to your intuition.
I believe that gut instinct will lead to the right direction, but having facts can certainly boost your confidence. Benchmark, research what’s going on in your industry and focus on what can be better.
Lean on team members’ knowledge and expertise, especially the people in the trenches. And don’t forget your customer. Talk candidly, take surveys and keep looking for what can be done to improve your offering.
Invite others on the journey
Communicate. When reinventing, you run the risk that others won’t buy in. We combatted this with a strategic communication plan targeted at our internal and external audiences. We wanted to take everyone along on the journey — what, when and, most important, why.
Consider all communication touchpoints and prioritize what has the most impact with your audiences.
Be focused, yet flexible
Any reinvention requires a thorough project plan. Designate a project manager and ensure all critical stakeholders support the effort. Especially when adding a new element to the business, outline what it is, how you want it to operate and identify what defines success. With clear, supported objectives, the team can focus on meeting expectations.
If new elements aren’t hitting the mark, don’t be afraid to acknowledge the challenge. With awareness comes the ability to adapt, plan and improve. Be patient but always focused on the end goal.
Even the best-laid plans encounter challenges. Embrace those and know that on the other side, your business will be better for it.
Celebrate the small wins to foster engagement and be prepared to really celebrate the big ones. (I’d be remiss not to mention our latest reinvention, PENZONE Salon + Spa Dublin, was just named Salon of the Year by the industry’s most prestigious North American Hairstyling Awards.)

Recognize that the reinvention journey is never over. Change is the only real constant in life and in business. Let that inspire you.

Debbie Penzone is the president and CEO of Charles Penzone Inc. Debbie’s expertise as a business leader, hair professional and her avid philanthropy have earned her the respect of the salon industry and the nonprofit community.