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Concepts to Emulate

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PostPosted: Dec Sun 17, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject: Concepts to Emulate Reply with quote

Concepts to Emulate

"Be a model of what you offer, and be your own advertisement. " I have always believed that you cannot succeed if you don't use the product yourself. All of these are excellent advise though. . . ..but that is where to start.

The Top 10 Business Concepts We Can Emulate
That were Embodied by Martha Matilda Harper in 1888

Martha Matilda Harper was 'bound out' as a servant at age 7 and remained a servant, lacking education, into adulthood. Yet she opened her first Harper Method hair and skin care shop in 1888, devoting it to the belief that the basis of beauty is good health and spiritual wholeness. She was the first person to use franchising as it is now used, and developed a network of around 500 Harper Method shops throughout North America and Europe. Harper Method shops were independently owned and yet followed Martha's original pattern down to the decor and the use of her products. Harper franchisees ('Harperites' or 'Harper girls') were women similar to herself, often having started life as house servants, but burning for independence. How can we learn from Martha?

1. Be a model of what you offer, and be your own advertisement.
She herself was a model of what her clients could become. She used her own products, and let her hair grow so long and luxuriant (it touched the ground when unbound) that P. T. Barnum tried to hire her for his show.

2. Know that you can grow.
Lacking childhood education, as an adult she hired a tutor, and later sat in on the few classes then open to women at the University of Rochester. She encouraged this attitude of learning and growth in all her franchisees and colleagues and gave them continuing training even after they were running their own shops.

3. Don't be afraid to break new ground.
In the 1880s ladies were visited in their own homes to have their hair done. Martha persuaded them to come to her shops by offering a refined, relaxing atmosphere and superb service. She owned a business when this was not yet acceptable for a woman. She invented (but did not patent) the tip-back shampoo chair, developed her own products, and then manufactured them, at first herself and later in her own factories.

4. Service, service, service.
Though the service given involved hair and skin care, the nature of the service customers experienced was far wider. Harper Shops focused on providing a calm, uplifting and relaxing atmosphere. They also pioneered the establishment of children's play areas - a service to the parent and a smooth way of introducing little future customers to enjoyment of the Harper atmosphere. One of the reasons Martha believed in recruiting servants to become Harperites was because she believed that they had already mastered the attitude of service.

5. Givers gain - support your colleagues/franchisees.
All Harper girls were regarded as family. They often lived in Martha's house while training, and they knew that in case of emergency she would give them whatever help she could, even when they were in business for themselves in far away cities. Not only did she share her many innovations with her own Harperites, but also with the burgeoning beauty industry of the time.

6. Synthesize with other businesses.
Example - in the same building as the first Harper Method shop was a music teacher who lacked space for his pupil's mothers to sit while the children took their lessons. Martha allowed them to use her waiting room... and of course they soon began having their hair done while waiting.

7. Instill pride and enthusiasm in your colleagues.
Because of The Harper Method, the encouragement to grow, and the careful training they received, hundreds of women whose choices had previously been confined to household service or marriage were able to develop their own businesses and become independent business women. So proud were Harper girls of their values-based system that standards were maintained even though visits from Martha could not be made frequently.

8. Make use of referral sources.
Harper customers received such good service that they became enthusiastic in their recommendations. Martha was skilled at attracting the well-known members of high society. Such well-known people as Susan B. Anthony, and eventually two United States Presidents and four First Ladies were not only Harper customers, but many spread the word about The Harper Method wherever they went. As a result, when a Harper Method shop opened in a new city, it often had eager customers already waiting for it.

9. Create and use your network.
Martha Harper was the first woman to join the Rochester (NY) Chamber of Commerce. It is also clear that she used her contacts to get where she wanted to go, such as in persuading the owner of her desired location to agree to rent to her despite his fears that her establishment would attract an 'unsuitable' clientele.

10. Brand your service.
For her logo Martha cleverly chose (and registered) a cornucopia, with its subtle message of 'bounteous rewards' to potential recruits. She ensured that customers who traveled the world would find the same familiar atmosphere and service regardless of whether they visited a Harper Method Shop in North America, in England, or in Continental Europe. The experience that The Harper Method provided world-wide was of high-society women receiving dignified service in surroundings conducive to harmony and relaxation.

Submitted by Diana Robinson, Ph.D., who can be reached at the web
The original source is: Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream by Jane R. Plitt and
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