Have you ever considered including an employee stock ownership plan in your salon’s business model? Well, it’s time to start!
Doug Cole, owner and founder of Cole’s Salon and self-proclaimed life-long learner, is here to teach you a thing or two about growing your business and giving back to the people who have helped you along the way.
How to Know It’s Time to Grow
Doug is the proud owner of five beautiful salon locations with prospects of a sixth on the way, but he’ll tell you that he grew into each new location for exactly the same reason, it was simply time.
He admits that he may have handled things differently than other entrepreneurs, because as soon as Doug ran out of space in one location, he eagerly opened another. After five years in his first salon, his team had outgrown their space and he quickly grew tired of turning down incredible talent. So, along came location number two, and well, you know the rest.
Doug has such a heart for the people of Cole’s Salon, and he said it simply broke his heart not to bring people into their incredible community, especially as their reputation grew and so many young stylists were showing interest in his brand.
Not Just Bigger, but Better
Of course, there are other areas you must grow in in order to have five successful salon locations. Doug and his team always focus on getting better before getting bigger.
Doug struggles with dyslexia, and for years he avoided any kind of learning that would pose a challenge for him due to his disability. He worked hard, and he was an incredible kinesthetic learner, but for several years of his life he was afraid of putting in the extra effort required to tackle the things that challenged him the most, like reading and writing.
At 26, Doug decided he had had enough and he wasn’t willing to let his disability hold him back any further. He found a mentor who challenged him to do an hour of learning per day, a habit that he’s carried into his 70s because it fills his mind with different ideas and possibilities for the future.
Doug’s commitment to learning is built into the culture at Cole’s Salon. His entire 375 person team is comprised of passionate individuals who are excited to climb their way to the tops of their careers—and the view just keeps getting better.
Giving Back and Building Loyalty
After 15 years in business, Doug realized that so many of his best people had been with him since the beginning. His stylists grew with him and his brand, his managers had taken over their own salon locations, his front desk employees grew into leadership positions and for the most part, his best people stuck around.
Doug’s employee retention rates were practically unheard of and he wanted to find a way to give back to everyone who helped shape his brand. Doug sat down with his tax attorney and they came up with the idea of implementing an employee stock ownership plan for all of the people of Cole’s Salon.
Another 30 years later, Doug proudly maintains 70% ownership of Cole’s Salon, and the other 30% is in the hands of his trusted team of employees. The tax breaks are pretty sweet and the Cole’s Salon brand has never been stronger. Doug’s employees are so proud to have part ownership of their company. Their loyalty runs deep and the brand continues to grow even bigger every day.
Of course, with such a big appetite for education, Doug believes that the best is yet to come. He’s got so much more to learn, and he can’t wait to share in the abundance, there’s always enough to go around!
Want to learn more about Doug and his inspiring salon business model? Listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 185. And be sure to check out Cole’s Salon for more details on their incredible salon culture.