Alan Austin Smith

Alan Austin-Smith became a hairdresser when he was 16, attracted by the creativity on one hand and “women everywhere I looked” on the other! “I had a fantastic time – working with Vidal Sassoon in New Bond St – beautiful women, famous faces and wild parties, what better way to spend the years from 16 to 23?”

By the age of 23 though, it was time for a change of direction and the realization that although those first years were great fun, the only thing he could offer a prospective employer was that he could cut their hair!

Moving into sales with L’Oreal, meant that he could use his knowledge of the salon industry while still moving in a new direction. Over the next 8 years he moved rapidly through the ranks becoming the youngest departmental head L’Oreal had ever had when he became Business Development Manager, leading a team dedicated to helping salons improve their business skills.

Realizing that here was niche market that no-one was taking any notice of, he left L’Oreal and started The Fantastic Hairdresser Company – dedicated to teaching salon owners and their team how to turn their creativity into a business.

Recognized by many as ‘the man who helped change an industry’* he is now in demand as a speaker by many companies and industries who have nothing to do with hairdressers.


The salon industry has shown dramatic growth in the last 10 years with fragmentation creating a sub-sector which is highly profitable, with improved quality, better leadership, innovation and creativity, and workable business principles. With over 60% of these salons using the Fantastic Hairdresser in one way or another it is easy to understand why Alan is often referred to as the ‘man who helped change an industry.

He quickly built a reputation as a superb communicator, with a unique ability to understand the issues and offer practical solutions.

“The Fantastic Hairdresser – the messages are clear and useful – and in hard practice, transformative” -Tom Peters

His philosophy – 50% of what makes someone ‘fantastic’ at their job – has nothing to do with their job – is transferrable to any business.

It is the other stuff that makes the difference – communication skills, confidence, self motivation etc., that makes a great sales person, leader, service provider, sports person, entertainer, business person, shopkeeper, doctor, bin man….

“In almost every job we are taught how to do ‘the job’ but rarely do we learn about the stuff that really makes the difference – that’s what we do with Take Control – show you how to have more control over how you operate you have to understand how you work, how a human being actually works – then you have a chance to change it”

If you want change – change something!

Take Control

When you understand the simplicity of ‘how we work in 4 words’ you can achieve fundamental changes in your job or your life by taking control of how you think, which will impact on your communication, your confidence and your motivation levels.

Using this simple tool means that you take complete control of how you operate rather than being at the mercy of the fears, worries, anger, negativity etc., that so easily comes into your mind and then affects everything from your relationships with people through to your productivity at work.

Although these are life skills – what we do at Take Control is not personal development training or life coaching – it is very focused on the work place – using personal skills to be more successful in your job.

  • Don’t serve people – delight them Use the principles to focus on amazing customer service.
  • Don’t sell to people – excite them Use the principles to focus on how to make sure your customers enjoy buying from you.
  • Don’t manage people – inspire them Use the principles to focus on how to communicate with your team in such a way as to motivate them to perform at the highest level.