The owner of St. Petersburg's posh J.CON Salon & Spa, Connell
considers the customer experience to be foundational to the success of his
has always built on the foundation of client satisfaction through quality work and quality service," he
However, Connell is content to manage his business and let someone else take the credit.
It is a philosophy formulated from his
"First and foremost," says Joe
, "I have been brought up understanding that all credit goes to God.
"Everyone who desires quality hair, skin, massage and nail care is a potential customer," says Connell
attracts customers based on the salon experience and quality of service, not price."
devotes as much time and attention to his
staff as he
does the salon itself.
recognizes that a sumptuous décor enhances the salon experience, but it is the talent and commitment of his
people- some 60 employees strong- that really makes things happen.
After 27 years in the business, Connell
recognizes that the strength of his
employee team plays a huge factor in the success of his
business "If I had a manufacturing plant, I would have the best equipment, and it would be maintained perfectly," he
"However, since I'm in the service industry, I hire the best people, and provide continuing training and education to keep them at the top of their game."
The emphasis on training led Connell to open the New Team Salon, where customers can receive the same signature hair treatments and stylings from new employees working in the company's intensive training program.
They receive more than instruction in house techniques and styles; They also have J.CON's
service mentality and culture reinforced daily.
"We work extremely hard to provide an excellent experience for our guests," says Connell
"If we fall short, which we do at times, we don't just make it good, we want to make it good.
That's the culture we continue to foster."
Still, the owner-employee relationship is fraught with challenges even in a Christian-owned business like J.CON.
"I think the biggest challenge is helping people find where to look for contentment and happiness in their careers," says Connell
"Promises and expectations are so high, from both employees and employers.
Society no longer is informed on how to have passion and enjoyment on the job.
No one group
is to blame.
From both employers and employees, there is too much, 'what's in it for me' attitude."
counters this "me first" attitude with a heaping helping of grace.
"The more grace you extend to others, the better," he
"That is not synonymous with lacking expectations or even holding others accountable.
I find when you take the time to find out what each person is looking for and follow through on helping them achieve their dreams or goals, most people appreciate that type of environment and rise to it.
The challenge is getting that message communicated to them on a personal level quick enough."
understands and relates to his
employees who are seeking to better themselves because he
was once on their side of the business.
started in the business at the tender age of 18, influenced by older brothers who showed no desire to become wage slaves.
"I wanted a commission-based job so that no one was dictating my pay potential to me." However, that was then; it is his
Keeping that business moving forward is a priority for Connell
, and he
recognizes such a priority means sharing the responsibilities of managing the business.
"Over the past year and a half, I have been developing a much higher level management team and delegating greater responsibility of the whole business to them," he
He credits C12 with providing significant counsel and encouragement in this important undertaking.
"The guidance from Scott, the depth of the material and the input from the other members have been the primary guidance I have counted on," he
"I must say, the results are quality leadership, not Mom & Pop advice.
Regardless of the interest or need that I am working on at any given time, C12
always has quality direction available."
The impact of C12
goes beyond the limits of just his
business, touching him deeply on the personal level.
"During the course of my involvement with C12
, my personal relationship with Christ stays on track primarily because of accountability," Connell
"When I first joined, at the top of my 'to do' list was establishing a quiet time.
Now, I can't imagine starting my day without that quiet time.
That is credited directly to my involvement in C12
Despite the current rising tide of success, Connell
still has a vision for his
company, one that his
C12 brothers and sisters can prayerfully support and willingly encourage.
"My vision is that in our company, from the top down, and starting with me, the love of Christ becomes our main priority," he