Who Owns the Salon/Spa Client?

June 5, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

FACT 1: No one owns the client. Clients give their business and loyalty to those that earn it.

FACT 2: The traditional salon/spa business model is built on service providers building their own followings.

The question of who “owns” the client is central to the thinking of most stylists and technicians — because they want to own as many as possible.

This is especially prevalent in commission salons/spas where income is based solely on individual service and retail sales. In such circumstances, more clients equal more money. But this mentality builds those invisible barriers within the salon.

  • When salon stylists and technicians become more concerned with the quantity of clients they serve than with their quality of service, the finer points of customer relations easily fall through the cracks.

Who “owns” the clients in your salon or spa? If the business model is based on individual book building, service providers naturally assume that clients belong to them. This is the way many owners “train” new staff members to think and act.... Read More

Everyone is Accountable for Salon & Spa Customer Loyalty

May 15, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Everyone is accountable for customer loyalty.



Yes, customer loyalty begins with leadership and that’s where the problem can begin.

Leaders are notorious for going on those infamous rampages when a customer quits the salon/spa or when customer retention rates go critical. The no-compromise question to ask is, “Where is the accountability and how far down in the salon/spa does that accountability go?” Playing the blame game is a compromise and totally unacceptable.

The no-compromise leader places accountability for customer loyalty in the hands of every company employee.

It cannot be any other way.

For this level of accountability to exist, employees need to understand just how accountable they are. What I’m talking about here is a team-based business culture.

In a team-based business culture, ALL employees feel the pain of a lost customer. They feel the pain when a customer has a problem that could have been avoided.... Read More

Ten Characteristics of a Successful Salon/Spa Business

April 9, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

For salon/spa owners, the past two years sure feel like everything to run a successful business has changed.

What hasn’t changed are the characteristics of a successful salon/spa.</strong> In fact, they just became more non-negotiable.

Using a simple grading system of 1 to 10 (10 being truly outstanding), each characteristic listed below establishes a benchmark that you can use to quickly assess the viability of any business … including yours. Using this approach, a score of 10 for each characteristic will yield a perfect score of 100.

Characteristic Number 1 – Leadership: First and foremost, the owner of a successful business functions as a businessperson. This means that the owner is engaged, accountable and drives performance by paying attention to the business. That being said, it’s easy to identify owners that are so engrossed in their non-leadership work that the business is essentially free-floating without direction, structure or systems. This is the equivalent of trying to run a business by remote control. It just doesn’t work.... Read More

When Working Solo Isn’t Enough

February 4, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

The enticement of working solo in a salon/spa booth or suite certainly has its appeal.

For many long-time owners, working solo can be a refuge from the stress of managing employees and finances, to just focus on their clients and do the work they love.

Busy service providers see working solo as a means to control their schedule, work when they want, charge what they want, and hopefully make more money.

The flexibility of working solo has its limitations. That’s why, for a growing number of solo service providers, working solo isn’t enough.

FACT 1: A service provider’s two hands can only generate so much revenue.

FACT 2: Revenue stops when those two hands stop working.

At Strategies, we’ve been receiving a steadily increasing flow of inquiries from solo workers asking for training and coaching on growing a company and a team.

Here’s what they’re telling us: “I’ve been working by myself. I’m ready to hire a team and grow my own company. But I want to do it right.”... Read More

Is Your Salon/Spa Growing, Coasting, or Shrinking?

May 9, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Most certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic tested the resolve of
salon/spa owners at levels never seen before. But in many ways, that’s what succeeding in business is — a test of your resolve.

But even in the best of times, owning and leading a salon/spa
business is no walk in the park. There are good times, tough times, and, most certainly, times when your business can just feel stuck.

Once-in-a-century “shared” experience …

The pandemic forced all owners to experience a seriously tough, high-stress time, together. Social media and Zoom quickly became an owner’s lifeline for sharing ideas, learning, and, most of all, camaraderie.

And then there’s going it alone …

Pandemic aside, how a salon/spa business succeeds, struggles, or fails, is its unique journey. Growth is exhilarating. Coasting is frustrating. Shrinking is excruciating.

The arrival of spring means the harsh winter is behind us. Days are warmer. The smell of freshly cut grass is in the air. Flowers are blooming. New leaves fill the trees.... Read More

How to Recruit Salon/Spa Employees in the Post Pandemic

May 2, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments

From the day I entered the professional salon/spa industry in 1970, recruiting new and experienced employees has been a serious challenge.

Add pandemic-related disruptions into the mix, and the process of recruiting new employees has gotten more and more difficult.

Then, there’s the industry’s long history of high employee turnover. The more turnover you have, the more pressure on your recruiting efforts — especially in today’s tight labor market.

Many owners blame turnover and recruitment challenges on the growth of booth rental and suites — but even businesses that cater to independents are having difficulty renting/leasing space.

FACT: You can’t grow a service business if you can’t recruit new

Yes, the pandemic seriously rattled the economy and our industry. In the process, it proved that the days of “business as usual” are long gone.

So, what’s a salon/spa owner to do when want ads, online recruitment sites, and visits to schools, barely get a trickle of applicants — or no applicants at all?... Read More

Dare to Dream — And Dream BIG

April 4, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments

Without question, leading your salon/spa through the pandemic tested your tenacity and leadership skills.

We all had to overcome one obstacle after another until some semblance of normalcy and stability was achieved.

In tough times, your focus and energy are on making it through today, tomorrow, and next week. Future dreams and aspirations have to wait. It’s called “survival mode” for a reason.

FACT: Survival mode can be a trap. If you stay in it too long you can get stuck in survival mode.

The pandemic turned “business as usual” upside down. Many salons and spas closed their doors. But the majority survived.

From the beginning of the pandemic, my message to owners was simple.

  • Salons and spas that entered the pandemic with tight systems,
    disciplined cultures, and cash reserves, will make it through relatively unscathed.
  • Salons and spas that were struggling culturally and financially before the pandemic, may not survive.

Today, there are signs the worst of the pandemic is behind us. So much so, that it’s time to start dreaming again — and dream BIG.... Read More

A Time for Gratitude

December 22, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | 6 Comments

At Strategies, we’ve been coaching and training owners of salons, spas, medspas, barbershops, and every other industry related business for over 26 years.

As coaches, we spend our days celebrating your successes and helping you overcome challenges. We love to inspire you and we deliver tough love when situations dictate.

And like you, I am the owner of an employee-based service business. The only difference is that you provide hair, skin, nail and massage services. We deliver leadership and best business practices through coaching and training.

You see, building a successful service business, beauty or business coaching, requires passionate and dedicated people.

Sure, you can go it alone, but there’s a difference between building a “private practice” and something capable of growing beyond your wildest dreams.

Our employees bring life and meaning to our vision. In return for their hard work, we provide growth opportunities in many forms.... Read More

Building Predictability Into Your Salon or Spa

October 29, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

Definition of “Predictability”: The consistent repetition of a state, course of action, behavior, or the like, making it possible to know in advance what to expect.

Having predictability in your salon/spa business is like having your very own crystal ball into the near future.

  • You would know that monthly service and retail goals would be achieved.
  • You would be confident that Net Profit and your Profit & Loss Statement would put a smile on your face.
  • You would know that new hires would be skill certified on schedule.
  • You would know that first-time and existing client retention rates would reflect your culture’s commitment to excellence.

All in all, you would enjoy that sense of wellbeing knowing that your salon/spa would perform consistently well.... Read More

Compensation Laws Forcing Change on Salon & Spa Compensation

May 14, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

California is leading the charge on protecting employee wage rights.

Why should payroll tax laws in California matter to you? Simple, it’s more important than ever for all salon/spa owners to understand and comply with state and federal laws — especially when it comes to classifying workers who are independent contractors.

DISCLAIMER: We can’t decipher the law for you. We’re not authorized legal representatives. However, we’ve done our best to break down a complex topic to give you a better understanding of how it may affect you and our company. Please consult your legal advisor.

What’s happening in California:

In January 2016, salons and spas in California were wrestling with Bill 1513 that made the traditional commission model no longer compliant in California.

As per the Labor Code, compensation for salon/spa services was technically labeled as “piece-rate” work, and not commission.... Read More

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