Simply world class!

I’m writing a quick article this week as I’m getting ready to go on a two-week holiday and you know how that is. I just had to mention this experience though.

I had to get my hair done before I left on holiday (ladies you will understand) and I took some time out from my lengthy “to do” list to pop into Blow Unisex salon in Lanterns mall. I say “pop” but I really mean that I called to book an appointment a week or so before which was confirmed by a follow up call from the salon’s receptionist the day before.

I’ve been there before but what struck me afresh as I walked through the door was the fact that I was in a world class salon. This is a salon on the South Coast of Barbados that I could find in any of the major cities of the world, and in fact better than most. The d?cor, from the polished black tiles on the floor, to the chrome-finished receptionist’s station, to the Style TV and even the fresh flowers, shouts “World Class!”.

After being greeted by Jamar, the receptionist with offers of tea or coffee, I was invited to have a seat and I had a short (yes I said short, ladies) wait before my service was started. Algernon, the owner and stylist came out to discuss with me the pros and cons of what I wanted to have done before I was escorted into the service area by the assistant, Shamara.

I don’t know if my male readers go to salons but the ladies will understand the general discomfort of regular shampoo sinks, which often leave you with a neck ache the next day or a wet shirt at the very least. Not so these sinks! These specially imported sinks make the shampooing experience a dream. Did I mention that every step of the way I was told what was happening, asked if the temperature of the water was comfortable, invited to the styling station, offered magazines…?

I’m sure you already know where I’m going with this article. It wasn’t just another salon but the d?cor and the service, i.e. the whole package, made it totally world class and that is what companies in Barbados need to be in order to compete globally. Tourism is still the largest earner of foreign exchange and contributor to GDP, so if no other industry needs to get it right, tourism does, especially since we are literally competing with every other tropical destination in the world for basically the same market.

Furthermore, we can’t just think we’ve arrived in tourism or any of our industries, we have to be constantly looking to add value and to diversify our products and services so that we don’t stagnate and we add to our revenue streams. For example Coral Reef Hotel, which is already one of the best hotels on the West Coast, added a luxurious world class Spa about three years ago in order to add to their visitor experience.

Similarly Blow is about to embark on some exciting new product offerings through its Urban Corner branding with products out of Hong Kong, from make up to mink eye lashes! This will expand its current product line and broaden the market scope of the business, reaching sections of the market that it did not cater to before.

I love that kind of entrepreneurial thinking! When I come across examples like Blow Unisex and Coral Reef, I feel that there is hope for Barbados to truly become the No.1 Entrepreneurial hub in the world by 2020. However, as you know, that will only be possible if we have the supporting infrastructure, i.e. the business facilitation, the government policies, the finance availability and above all the vision and mindset necessary to take ordinary businesses and make them world class.

Donna Every is a motivational speaker, business coach and the author of the books What do you have in your house?, The Promise Keeper and Arise and Shine. She has a degree in Mathematics, is a Chartered Accountant and has an MBA. She is the Project Manager for the Education and Talent Development Pillar of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation.

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