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Ten Salon and Spa Leadership Resolutions for 2016
December 28, 2015 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments
As I processed my thoughts for writing this final Monday Morning Wake-Up of 2015, I had to remind myself that this also wraps up eight full years of sharing my No-Compromise Leadership thoughts with you. That’s over 400 continuous Monday mornings that we’ve shared. And if you’ve been a follower of mine from the beginning of Strategies, we need to add the 14 years and 168 issues of Strategies Magazine we published from January 1994 until December 2007. Add all the written content to my books, Strategies business courses, coaching and our annual Team-Based Pay Conference … and you’ve got 22 years of the best salon/spa business and leadership content in the industry.
The best way to bid farewell to 2015 is to offer you my TOP TEN New Year’s Resolutions for 2016. I wrote this list for the salon/spa owners and entrepreneurs that were bold enough … and crazy enough … to put everything on the line for their vision of building a business.
Resolution #1 … I will stay the course: As a business owner and leader, you learn to cherish the good times and are prepared to tenaciously work through the tough times. Sometimes those tough times can become crushingly tough. In tough times, it is essential to remember that there is always a solution to get your business back on course. The longer you delay the solution, the tougher the implementation. Staying the course means stepping up as the leader, not stepping back and hoping things will get better. You didn’t ask for tough times … but tough times are where great leaders are honed. The only time a leader throws in the towel is when the leader stops believing in his or her dream.
Resolution #2 … I will not accept mediocrity: You cannot create the extraordinary if you accept the ordinary. The moment you stop paying attention, mediocrity begins to infect your business. The moment you allow the performance and behavior bar to be lowered, you allow mediocrity into your business. Allowing mediocrity into your company is a choice. Being the best is a choice. Being a mediocre salon/spa doesn’t take much work. Being the best is hard and relentless work. It means banning anything and everything that is mediocre in your business. The true rewards in business are earned everyday. It always begins with what the leader accepts and allows into the business.
Resolution #3 … I will make two major business decisions in 2016: A major business decision is one that brings about profound change and resets what has become normal. It can be about expansion, rebranding … or fixing something that has been broken for too long. Maybe it’s about getting your finances and payroll system under control. I want you to commit to two major business decisions in 2016 because every business has at least two major changes that need to occur – or are probably long overdue. Make one decision about growth and the other about fixing a longstanding problem. Why two major business decisions? Because change rocks the boat and two major business decisions are about all any business can effectively handle in a 12-month period. I bet you already know what those two decisions are. The question is … will you finally make them?
Resolution #4 … I will create a culture of consistency: Consistency in the salon/spa is about repeatability and nothing is more important in a service business than consistency. The problem is that too many owners and leaders don’t train deep enough, hold staff accountable enough … or set the bar high enough … to create a true culture of consistency. Customer service is about systems and accountability to create consistency. Successful retailing about consistently recommending products for home care before a client goes to checkout. Daily huddles live or die by consistency. The consistent execution of quality work and customer service can only occur if it is embedded in the salon/spa’s culture. And as Bruce Hourigan, president of Strategies, says, “Culture reflects leadership.” Resolution #4 begins with you.
Resolution #5 … I will complete the first 15%: Think about all those situations you got yourself and/or your company into because you didn’t prepare sufficiently. Launching a new project doesn’t mean leaping blindly into the abyss with your fingers crossed for good luck. The first 15% of a new project is the strategy and planning phase that will deliver the remaining 85%. The more thought, detail and structure you put into the first 15%, the more prepared you will be for the detail and implementation work ahead. Give that first 15% all you’ve got.
Resolution #6 … I will treat Productivity as a team sport: The benchmark for salon/spa productivity rates is +/-85 percent (hours sold divided by hours available for sale). The most effective way to drive a company’s productivity rate is a “team-based approach” that has “everyone is responsible for every hour the company has available for sale” embedded in its culture. The team drives the productivity rate by holding everyone accountable. Target and current productivity rates are part of every daily huddle. Commission-based businesses are notorious for having lower productivity rates due to the ease of over-staffing and the false assumption that commission will motivate all employees to “get busy.” By design, the “I/me/mine” commission mentality makes shared accountability for driving the company’s productivity rate impossible. Check out this article on how to increase salon and spa productivity in six steps.
Resolution #7 … I will never squander time: Selling time fills the revenue bucket. Idle time drains the profit bucket because idle time is pure cost. Service businesses that live within the productivity rate benchmark of +/- 85 percent rely on scheduling systems that avoid or limit the accumulation of unsellable time. For example, fifteen-minute gaps on the appointment book can rarely be sold. One of the biggest offenders of squandering time is service providers that do not, or cannot, complete services within established time standards. If your services are priced using the cost per hour + profit formula, any service that exceeds the standard is costing the company money – not making the company money. It is a skill, technique and confidence issue that can only be addressed through skill certification training and coaching. How much time is your company squandering?
Resolution #8 … I will give life and meaning to goals: A goal is simply a number if that’s all you put out there for your team. A goal number has no emotion, buy-in or energy if you don’t position it and give meaning to it. Your team needs to know the story behind the goal, where it came from and what it means to achieve it. If that goal was set with the expectation of everyone showing up and playing hard … tell them that story. If that goal represents the funding of a special project … tell them that story. If hitting that goal is about survival, paying the bank loan, making payroll or paying the bills … tell them that story. If that goal is about funding expansion, hiring and training new staff … tell them that story. Leaders give meaning and purpose to the best-guess goals they set. People won’t give their all for a number … but they will for a cause.
Resolution #9 … I will be the first to change when implementing change: Leaders are all about leading change … except when it comes to the leader’s ability to anticipate and respond to change. Leaders can be stubborn and inflexible even when their companies are screaming for change. The sobering reality is that change will occur with or without the leader’s involvement. Staff discontent intensifies when leaders avoid, procrastinate or outright refuse to change. Sometimes leaders “check out” and stop paying attention to what’s really happening. Leaders always want their companies to change … but that change process cannot begin if the leader does not change first. Look in the mirror and have a fierce conversation with yourself about what you need to own in what’s not working in your company. A lot of stress can be eliminated if you work on changing yourself first. Here’s another article I wrote on the three rules of implementing change.
Resolution #10 … I will always remember that I can’t make everyone happy: Every salon/spa needs structure, systems, accountability and the ability to change and adapt to the needs within it as well as the world around it. As much as leaders and employees recognize the importance of “embracing change” … change can trigger resistance and push back. Change happens because the company needs to adjust, fix a problem or get better. As the leader, you cannot avoid or delay implementing change because the change is going to confront resistance and rock the boat. That’s stressful. It is your responsibility to communicate the why, what and how of change to help others understand. Most will. Some will not. You can’t stress over those that prefer yesterday over a better tomorrow.
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