Ten Leadership Must-Do’s to Survive the Pandemic

August 23, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 3 Comments

Last week’s blog post was a message on what it means to be an owner and leader in these crazy times.

Owners overwhelmingly responded that it was the right inspiration at the right time to push the ugliness of this pandemic aside. That it was an uplifting signal to re-embrace their visions with passion and determination.

The inspiration to keep pushing forward is so badly needed in these times. But inspiration alone has a short feel-good shelf life. Owners and leaders need more — much more.

This week’s blog post delivers the top ten leadership must-do’s that all owners need to practice consistently. Here they are:

  1. Engage, don’t retreat: Stress, fear, and dealing with challenges is the way it’s going to be for a while. The more you stay engaged, show up as the leader, and deal with challenges, the more in control you are. Retreating backs you up. Retreating is the equivalent of taking your hands off the steering wheel and your foot off the gas. KEY: Push forward. Show up. Be relentless. That’s what your business needs. That’s what your employees need to see. That’s what keeps you in control.
  2. Tackle problems before they tackle you: This pandemic is like a shooting gallery. Shoot one problem down and another pops up. The fact is, problems NEVER fix themselves. When unaddressed, problems dig in and get worse. The longer problems persist, the more motivation, productivity and cash flow suffer. KEY: When a problem reveals itself, it’s a sign that a system is not working, is being ignored, or needs upgrading. A problem is your call to action. Evaluate it. Identify the solution(s). Get your team informed and onboard. Get it fixed.
  3. Appreciation matters big time: If everyone knows the importance of showing appreciation, then why is it always in short supply? When owners get caught up in the “they just need to do their job” thinking, appreciation takes a hit. KEY: People work for more than money. People want to feel part of something special — not just being an employee or “revenue producer.” The simple act of positive acknowledgement does wonders to motivate, inspire, and strengthen cultures and job satisfaction. It’s not about giving money or a bonus. It’s about showing heartfelt appreciation for the work and effort of each and every employee.
  4. Hope is not a plan: Hope is a wonderful thing. But hope alone can’t take you very far. KEY: When there is no plan, there is no direction. The energy and positivity of hope takes hold when it’s attached to a plan. “Do more” is not a plan, it’s a command. A plan is a how-to guide to achieve the desired outcome. If you want to truly fill your team with hope, give them a plan. Give them the steps, accountabilities, milestones and a picture of what the win looks like.


  5. Cash flow is survival fuel: The key to surviving this pandemic is cash flow. Cash is fuel. Cash is what keeps a business alive and functioning. KEY: To have sufficient cash flow, your salon/spa needs to be profitable. To be profitable, you need to project monthly revenues and budget expenses (it’s called a cash-flow plan). The only way to know if you’re following your cash-flow plan is to pay ongoing attention to your Profit & Loss Statement and Balance Sheet. Profit is planned. Managing cash flow is a discipline. Want our help building your cash-flow plan? Learn more here.
  6. Share the load: You can’t do it all alone. Owners that try to do it all eventually burn out. Some owners don’t trust others to help with business responsibilities. The more an owner holds on to the controls, the less empowered (and valued) key employees feel. KEY: It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to share key responsibilities. To do so requires training, clearly defined expectations and positive oversight. Allow your trust to be earned. Allow others to help you protect and grow your company.
  7. Communication and transparency matters: Everyone is concerned about jobs, income, paying bills, family, safety and wellbeing. That’s why it’s so important for employees to be kept informed on where the company is at, what needs attention, what’s working and what’s not. Otherwise, employees make assumptions and wild-ass guesses that feed the rumor mill and spread drama. KEY: Information flow is the term we use to describe communication and transparency. That’s why daily huddles are so vital to set the tone and objectives for each day. That’s why sharing critical numbers, progress toward goal, and what needs attention keeps a team focused and on task. Everyone knows that getting through this pandemic requires stepping up and hard work. They need to know what stepping up and hard work looks like.
  8. Never assume you know what’s going on: Whenever an owner’s response to a problem is, “How was this happening right under my nose?”, it means the owner wasn’t paying the right level of attention to what’s going on. KEY: Owners get distracted. Owners get overconfident that things are going well and that people are locked onto the systems. They stop checking in. They blindly trust rather than inspect. It’s good leadership to check in on progress, procedures, and the work of those you lead. It keeps everyone on task. It’s simply called accountability.
  9. Productivity and prebook rates are vital: During this pandemic, with mandated reduced occupancy, driving and maintaining your company’s overall productivity rate is more critical than ever. KEY: Prebook has an immediate impact on driving the future productivity rate. Last minute cancelations, no shows, and clients waiting longer between visits, makes efficient prebooking and confirmations more important than ever. Better end-of-service consultations, focused on proper maintenance cycles and prebooking, means more training and scripting. Now is the time for you to lead and for your employees to step up.
  10. You must believe for your team to believe: There will be days that beat you down. There will be challenges to deal with and tough decisions to make. But all problems have a solution. All storms give way to sunshine and blue skies. This pandemic will pass and there’s no doubt that things will be different. KEY: Now is the time to believe in your ability to lead your company through this crisis. Now is the time to grab hold of that vision that got you into business and start saying, “Yes I can — yes we can.” The more you believe, the more your team will believe that tomorrow will be better than today.

Here’s my challenge to you: Print out these ten must-do’s and post them where you can see them every day.... Read More

Last week’s blog post was a message on what it means to be an owner and leader in these crazy times. Owners overwhelmingly responded that it was the right inspiration at the right time to push the ugliness of this pandemic aside. That it was an uplifting signal to re-embrace their visions with passion and determination. The inspiration to keep pushing forward is so badly needed in these times. But…
Read More

Categories: Coronavirus , Leadership

A Message for Salon/Spa Owners in These Crazy Times

August 17, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 12 Comments

It’s hard to believe that just five months ago, it was business as usual. The problems you faced back then pale in comparison to what you’ve endured.

No owner would sign on for this madness, for this level of stress, but here you are.

You’re tired, frustrated, and probably feeling mighty disenchanted with business ownership. And I’m sure that little voice in your head may have said, “I’ve had enough of this.”

Guess what? As a business owner in these crazy times, you have every right to feel tired, frustrated and pissed off.

WHY? Because you’ve had damn near every business, financial and employee problem thrown at you.

And guess what? You’re still here. You’re still in business. You’re doing what leaders do. You adapt and overcome.

Has it been fun? Hell no.

Is there a reason to be proud of yourself, your team and your company? Hell yes.... Read More

It’s hard to believe that just five months ago, it was business as usual. The problems you faced back then pale in comparison to what you’ve endured. No owner would sign on for this madness, for this level of stress, but here you are. You’re tired, frustrated, and probably feeling mighty disenchanted with business ownership. And I’m sure that little voice in your head may have said, “I’ve had enough…
Read More

Categories: Coronavirus , Leadership

When Employees Choose Potential Exposure to COVID-19

August 10, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

Life is about making the right choices.

Careers are about making the right choices.

Respecting the wellbeing and safety for loved ones, teammates, and fellow humans, is about making the right choices.

When COVID-19 began to spread across the country last March, medical experts gave us three very simple safety guidelines:

  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Practice social distancing.
  3. Wash your hands and sanitize.

I don’t know about you, but my family and Strategies employees have followed these guidelines. In fact, seeing someone without a mask in Connecticut is rare. That’s why Connecticut’s positive test rate for COVID-19 is an extremely low .08%.

To me, all the controversy about being ordered to wear a mask being a violation of one’s Constitutional rights doesn’t make sense to me.

People starting fights or hurling insults because they were asked, or ordered, to wear a mask doesn’t make sense to me.... Read More

Life is about making the right choices. Careers are about making the right choices. Respecting the wellbeing and safety for loved ones, teammates, and fellow humans, is about making the right choices. When COVID-19 began to spread across the country last March, medical experts gave us three very simple safety guidelines: Wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands and sanitize. I don’t know about you, but my family…
Read More

Categories: Coronavirus , Leadership

How to Survive This Pandemic — NO MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

August 3, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 5 Comments

COVID-19 is still surging, which means more unknowns for salon/spa owners to deal with.

To say these are stressful times is an understatement.

To emphasize the sense of urgency to keep your salon/spa as productive as possible, here’s the current reality:

  • Most salons, spas and barbershops have reopened.
  • For the second time, California recently ordered non-essential businesses (including salons/spas) to shut down. Some California salons haven’t been allowed to reopen since last March.
  • Fingers are crossed that more states don’t follow California and order non-essential businesses to shut down.
  • Depending on the location, salons, spas and barbershops are only allowed to operate at 50% capacity or less. With COVID-19 surging, it is unknown when a return to full capacity will be allowed.
  • Many businesses are at or near the end of PPP funds. Businesses that received EIDL loans will burn through cash if reduced capacity isn’t lifted.
    • Businesses can still apply for a PPP loan until August 8th.
    • SBA is still accepting applications for EIDL grants and loans.
      • Grants are $1,000 per employee up to $10,000.
      • EIDL loans are now capped at $150,000, no payments for 12 months at 3.75% interest for 30 years. To apply, go to SBA.gov.
    • Another economic stimulus plan is being argued in Congress. On the table is the ability for businesses severely impacted by COVID-19 to get a second PPP loan. As always, both sides are far apart on reaching agreement.
    • Many salons are reporting an increase in last minute cancellations and no shows.
    • The probability of employees being exposed to COVID-19 is increasing. Those that are exposed cannot return to work until they test negative. This makes operating at reduced capacity even more of a challenge.

What this all means to your salon/spa business... Read More

COVID-19 is still surging, which means more unknowns for salon/spa owners to deal with. To say these are stressful times is an understatement. To emphasize the sense of urgency to keep your salon/spa as productive as possible, here’s the current reality: Most salons, spas and barbershops have reopened. For the second time, California recently ordered non-essential businesses (including salons/spas) to shut down. Some California salons haven’t been allowed to reopen…
Read More

Categories: Uncategorized

What are Your COVID-19 “Out Sick/Can’t Work” Policies?

July 27, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

When it comes to salon/spa business challenges, COVID-19 is the virus that just keeps on giving. It’s like you solve one problem and two more instantly appear.

In last week’s blog post, I gave you six strategies to address the recent increase in last minute cancellations and no shows.

This week, I’m going to address employees calling out with little to no notice and other challenges due to COVID-19.

Andrea Birst is a Strategies Coach and the owner of Glance Salon & Spa in Bismarck, ND. She offers this caution, “Due to the surge of COVID-19, salons/spas need to be prepared to deal with employees that need to stay home. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cough, sinus issue, fever, exposure and/or testing positive for COVID — we cannot have sick, or potentially sick, employees at work.” ... Read More

When it comes to salon/spa business challenges, COVID-19 is the virus that just keeps on giving. It’s like you solve one problem and two more instantly appear. In last week’s blog post, I gave you six strategies to address the recent increase in last minute cancellations and no shows. This week, I’m going to address employees calling out with little to no notice and other challenges due to COVID-19. Andrea…
Read More

Categories: Coronavirus , Information Flow , Leadership

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