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27 Years of Making a Difference

September 14, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 8 Comments

On September 13, 1993, I moved into a first-floor office at 40 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT. All I had was some office furniture, a few Mac computers, and a ton of determination to make a difference in the industry I love and have served since 1970.

My passion is for business and for all the dynamics that make a salon/spa business successful. This passion is the core of Strategies’ culture.

Long before starting Strategies, I studied compensation systems and the drivers of performance-based behaviors. Commission, the prevailing industry pay method, never made sense to me because it fed “I/me/mine” thinking and a multitude of financial challenges.

A truly successful salon/spa means more than filling columns on the appointment book. It’s about building a sustainable brand. Brand building takes a level of teamwork that commission compensation cannot achieve. Teamwork means “everyone pushing and pulling in the same direction to achieve team goals — not just individual goals.

In the early years of Strategies, we were the crazy ones teaching that Team-Based Pay thing. To some, we were a curiosity. But to many owners, our Team-Based Pay Business Model made sense.

Fast forward to 2020. No one could foresee a pandemic, let alone an economic shutdown that lasted months.

In all of Strategies’ 27 years, I never imagined that my proudest contribution to making a difference would occur during the worst economic crisis of our lifetime.

One-by-one, coaching clients from the past and present, began posting “thank you’s” on Facebook for the skills and systems we taught them. Here are just a few excepts:

  • Thank goodness for Strategies. It’s because of your teachings that our salon is able to withstand this crazy time. We learned how to put into practice and save for emergencies.
    – Mary Beth Berns
  • I am facing this crisis head on with a strong cash reserve thanks to Strategies and everything I’ve learned over these 20+ years.
    – Ginger Louviere
  • Words cannot describe the gratitude for Strategies helping salons develop solid long-term business practices to get through this nightmare.
    – Jennifer Bobal
  • I could not have lead my company through this without your direction.
    – Bridgette Hardy

I am honored to work with a team of extraordinary people. Together, we made a difference.


Here are some highlights from our 27 years:

  • We created the Team-Based Pay Business Model that has been the cornerstone of our coaching and training.
  • We published 168 issues of Strategies Magazine from 1994 to 2007.
  • We held our first Incubator Seminar in the Spring of 1994 and we’ve been doing them ever since.
  • We opened our Business Academy in 2001.
  • To support our growing coaching business, we started our Certified Strategies Coach (CSC) program in 2002.
  • I wrote the first edition of Fast Forward, the industry’s first business resource book, in 2000. The Second Edition of Fast Forward was published in 2013.
  • I wrote No-Compromise Leadership in 2009 that won the 2010 IPPY Award for Business & Leadership.
  • We were the first company in the industry to launch business webinars.
  • In 2014 we launched the first generation of our proprietary coaching portal called the Command Center.
  • Our first Team-Based Pay Conference was held in Chicago in 2014. (Due to Covid-19, our TBP20 will be replaced with “Thrive,” our new online conference, on November 15th…stay tuned for details.)
  • In 2017, we built and launched a new and improved Command Center 2.0 coaching portal.
  • In 2019 we built a world-class video streaming studio which enabled us to launch an online learning division, headlined by Strategies Onlive events. This facility (and Zoom) have allowed us to continue our education and support throughout the pandemic.
  • I’ve been writing weekly Monday Morning Wake-Ups since January 2008 … that’s 663 to date. (You can read them all here in the blog section of strategies.com)

Here’s my challenge to you: If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that success means more than just being busy.

  • Sustainable success is both a process and commitment.
  • The systems and disciplines of building and protecting cash reserves is a non-negotiable.
  • Team-Based Pay is more than a pay method — it’s a powerful business model that has earned its rightful place in the salon/spa industry.

The pandemic will pass. It’s time to create a better future for employee-based salons/spas.

A big “THANK YOU” to all our fans for these past 27 years. The best is yet to come.

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Comments

  1. We share an anniversary, as my company has also celebrated 27 years since I opened back in August 1993. Here we are, still working at it. When I first opened, we were pioneers, so to speak, because back then, there were no facilities in NYC like ours, and now it’s mainstream to visit a wellness center/spa. I’m honored to be sharing this momentous year, especially under the most challenging of times in our 27 year history, with Strategies. Congrats! Here’s to the 27’ers!

    1. Hi Linda,
      And we’re honored to share our anniversary year with Natural Balance Massage. Yeah … 2020 sure is interesting.
      Here’s the 27’ers. 🙌
      Neil

  2. Congrats Neil for 27 years of lifting up the beauty industry! Thank you so much for what you do. You and your team are an inspiration!

  3. Neil,

    This MMWU is spot on, as usual. After 7 years of being a TBP company, it still amazes me how no matter what comes our way, our TBP adapts to the circumstance.
    The pandemic has certainly put our business to the test, but we are gaining, and saving a little each month, in spite of the restrictions limiting the number of people in the building to 50% of our capacity, and the additional expenses the company has been able to absorb.
    Thank you for your passion and your TBP business model. It truly has been the difference
    between financial stability and financial failure.

    Bill

    1. Thank you Bill!
      It’s been great seeing your company transform into a debt-free, well run, model of TBP.
      Keep up the great work.
      Neil

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