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Meet West Seattle’s “Psychic Barber”

I passed this business some months ago, then found this story on the West Seattle Washington blog.  It is reprinted here due to the interest of so many people - lots of hits ~

Meet West Seattle’s “Psychic Barber”:

He KNOWS you need a cut

Rick Cook, owner of Rick’s Barber Shop at 5251 California SW (in West Seattle, Washington), has inherited both a sign and a claim to fame: “Psychic Barber.”
     You’ve probably laughed, driving along California SW, when out of the corner of your eye you caught a glimpse of two white neon signs next to each other: “Psychic” “Barber.” That reaction was partly by design; after a psychic moved in next door to Rick’s Barber Shop, Rick had a matching white neon “Barber” sign made by the same person who created the “Psychic” sign.
     Now, Rick owns the “Psychic” portion of the signage as well, and his front window proudly announces “Psychic Barber.”  The Psychic Barber attention came after Rick had already been in his current space for 15 years.
     When the sign went up in the window next door, it became a directional touchstone for people looking for Rick’s shop, and a way to differentiate his shop from the one down the block. It also became a rich source of jokes for people calling for appointments: “Since you’re the Psychic Barber, you’ll know when I’m coming in.”
     In fact, when the psychic business dissolved and the sign went dark, people complained to Rick: “You’re just a barber now, you’re not the Psychic Barber.” So when the landlord offered the sign to Rick, he took it.
     A graduate of Chief Sealth High School, Rick has been a barber since 1976 and has been in business in West Seattle since 1978. Some of his clients have been with him for more than 30 years. While not actually psychic, Rick is very much in tune with different folks who come to see him, “I can talk to pretty much anybody, about pretty much anything.”
Story and photos by Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Originally published December 22, 2009

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Welcome to the wonderful, whimsical world of POSITIONING.

Positioning is a marketing term that roughly means creating the image of your business that you want in the mind of your customers and prospects.

Now, Rick's "positioning" was really by accident.  People passing his location would see Psychic in one window, and Barber in the next.  Rick had his sign made in the same style as the psychic's for whatever reason, but the combination became his position in the minds of those that drove by.

Am I suggesting you do something of the same for you business?  No.

Positioning has to be honest - Rick's is serendipitous as much as anything.

The positioning of your business can be created by an interesting combination of words, by the price point you establish, by the quality of the goods and services you sell, by the way you dress or select and decorate an office.

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The Entrepreneur's Bookshelf ~
The more you know about small business management and financing before you start, the more likely you are to succeed.  That's why I urge anyone thinking of starting a business to contact their local Small Business Development Center or Community College.  I have also organized this bookshelf for you at Powell's Books, the world's largest single site new and used bookstore, featuring the latest books on small business start-ups, marketing, and small business money management.   
A Selection Related to this Post:

Click on this link to see all the selections on ~

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  1. If you have never started a small business before, then this form of coaching is certainly for you. Starting anything for the first time can be quite difficult, but a small business especially can be challenging if you don't have any previous experience.

    Small business

  2. I disagree with you on one thing. Starting a business is only as hard as a person chooses to make it. For most small business owners, it's a very straight forward process. The key from research is to have basic financial management and marketing knowledge and skills before one starts, and, to make sure that you're in the right form of business. Some people are natural entrepreneurs and others more comfortable in a franchise or direct sales operation - especially the first time out.

    I do agree that coaching is important as is finding or setting up a support group of other small business operators. The research on this point - worldwide - shows that a support group increases the likelihood of success by a factor of at least five.

    Thanks for the comment. Stay in touch.



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