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The Transition Curve

The ups and downs of owning a salon (or any business for that matter) are part of the process. And even though most of us know this intellectually, often we don’t connect with it emotionally which can take us on the rollercoaster ride of our life. I finished reading Cameron Herald’s book Double, Double this weekend (a great read, I’d recommend it!) and when I started digging into Chapter 12, I knew I had to share it with you.

He brought up the concept of the Transition Curve. A brilliant approach regarding what to expect emotionally at each stage of your business.

I recognized my own entrepreneurial journey in this model right away and I also realized that the business owners coming to see me for coaching are at a specific stage of the Curve (Informed Pessimism to Crisis of Meaning).

See if you can recognize where you are in the Transition Curve:

Getting ready to open
Getting ready to open

Stage 1: Uninformed Optimism

You are flying high on creative energy! All your dreams are coming together as you put your finishing touches on your new space. You are sure that as soon as you open the doors, the phone will begin ringing for appointment bookings and the salon will soon be bustling.

Tip: Harness your optimism and use it to create momentum in hiring, networking, guerilla marketing, etc. because this energy won’t last long.

Stage 2: Informed Pessimism

Once you’ve moved into this stage, you have a bit more information and realize you are not as prepared as you thought. You may be wondering what you got yourself into at this point. Your optimism from before is replaced with dread and you tend to focus on your short-comings.

Tip: This is the perfect time for strategic planning, budgeting & ad purchasing. You are your most realistic with your business at this stage.

Stage 3: Crisis of Meaning

This stage is an awful place to be. You are really scared now and maybe even paralyzed with fear. You feel like giving up but are still burdened with unfulfilled contracts and debt.

Tip: Something has GOT to change at this point. Stat. It’s do-or-die. Reach out for a mentor or peer support, get organized and take lots of breaks to keep your perspective from tumbling out of control.

Stage 4: Crash & Burn

No need to explain further. Your business is D.O.N.E

Stage 5: Informed Optimism

Ahhh…. relief. This stage is like jumping into a cool pool on a hot summer day. You instantly feel refreshed and can think clearly. You are able to use your new learning and insights (and the momentum it delivers) to move your business in the direction you wanted.

Tip: It can be tempting to think you did this all on your own and it’s important to keep connected to your mentor or peer group so you don’t backslide.

For me, I have intuitively known this process and kicked myself into gear plenty of times at the Crisis of Meaning stage. But I really appreciated seeing the graph and its corresponding patterns to solidify that it is indeed normal and expected. In fact, the curve happens over and over in smaller areas of my business as I add new services or shift directions.

One of my personal truths is that emotional expectations always get me in trouble and to avoid them at all costs. Yes, I have goals and strategies for my business (how else could I get to where I want to be?) but I’m careful about attaching an emotional expectation to my outcomes.

What I love most about the Transition Curve is that it separates my emotion from the business so I can see my reality more clearly.

So, where are you in the Transition Curve? And how did learning that all the emotions you have felt are actually part of a process? 


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