As one of the leaders of the Moms as Entrepreneurs academy, Jasmine Simms talks to other small business owners about the importance of standing out. It’s perhaps inevitable that businesses will pop up offering similar services, but there’s still a lot that entrepreneurs can do to offer something unique.
“You really have to find ways to make yourself different,” said Simms, who was voted the year’s top entrepreneur at the 2016 Baltimore Innovation Awards.
That lesson comes from experience. Simms is the founder of Scrub Nail Boutique in Fells Point. She knows there are other nail salons. However, Scrub Nail Boutique’s membership program is one way it stands out. Customers can get unlimited manicures, or an opt for manicures and pedicures. They also offer additional benefits for members.
“If it doesn’t work for you, you can cancel it and there’s no contract,” she said.
During a recent interview at the salon, Simms told us about how the membership model grew out of another key for any business owner: talking to your customers.
Simms worked at other nail salons, and wanted to be sure to create a business that gives customers what they want. Scrub also uses natural products that don’t create fumes and takes extra care to keep tools safe.
But with a second floor space that doesn’t have street access, Simms immediately recognized the importance of building relationships with clients. Simms is interested in getting to know the customers and hearing their stories, and the business is built partially on referrals — whether person-to-person or through Yelp.
She found many of the customers come back regularly, and they like perks. By becoming members, coming back regularly and getting perks becomes official. For the business, the memberships generate recurring revenue, and open up the potential for additional sales.
Through Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program this year, Simms is getting mentorship and looking at additional ways to grow.
But she said it all comes back to being willing to try something new. She’s always asking herself, “What can we do that’s different that will set us apart?”