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

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

Are PPP/EIDL Loans Masking Pre-Pandemic Salon/Spa Problems?

March 14, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Without question, COVID-19 wreaked havoc on salon/spa revenues during the shutdown, and after with reduced capacity.

When revenues take a hit and expenses keep adding up, things get ugly fast — especially for salons/spas in weak financial condition.

As unimaginable as the pandemic has been, so too has the massive federal aid funding — in not one, but two rounds of PPPs. And then there’s the EIDL loans and grants. Federal funding saved many salons and spas from closing.

Because of federal funding, many salons and spas are in a better cash position today than ever before.

WARNING: If your salon/spa has more cash today than pre-pandemic, it’s no guarantee that the future is all blue skies and popcorn clouds — especially if your company has a history of struggling to be profitable.

FACT #1: Profitability and positive cash flow is a discipline that requires some fairly straight forward financial skills.... Read More

Your Salon/Spa — Where to Go From Here?

September 28, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 3 Comments

Much has changed since March 2020.

Before we can discuss where to go from here, we have to understand where we are today.

In so many ways, it’s a blur of COVID-19 fears, the shutdown, unemployment, PPP/EIDL, sanitizing protocols, reopening, staffing issues, occupancy restrictions, and clients stretching out appointments.

And then there’s the social/racial unrest, forest fires, hurricanes, and a divisive presidential election.

The pandemic’s impact on the economy has been devastating, especially to small businesses with limited resources.

  • We hear the news of large business bankruptcies including Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, Pier 1, Gold’s Gym, Hertz, and most recently Sizzler Steakhouse.

What we don’t hear much about are the owners of small businesses that made the painful decision to close their doors.

When a small business, like a salon, spa or barbershop, closes its doors, it’s a quiet death. Years of hard work, hopes and dreams crumble into a pile of debt that won’t easily disappear.... Read More

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

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

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

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

Six Strategies to Address Client Covid Fears, Cancellations & No Shows

July 19, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 8 Comments

The beauty of being an appointment-based salon/spa is the ability to accurately predict productivity and revenues.

The ugly part of being an appointment-based salon/spa are the last-minute cancellations and, even worse, the no shows.

For most salons and spas, reopening after the shutdown meant full appointment books and doing your best to accommodate clients long overdue for services.

But with infection rates surging in all but a few states, fear is also on the rise.

Now, just when you felt some semblance of business normalcy, COVID-19 fears are causing an uptick in last minute cancellations and client no shows.

Cancellations and no shows are a fact of life in all appointment-based businesses. However, with most salons/spas still operating at mandated reduced capacities, last-minute cancellations and no shows can be financially brutal.

These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary measures. Many individuals and businesses are experiencing financial hardship. That’s why it may be time to add a financial commitment to the simple act of “reserving” a salon or spa appointment.... Read More

COVID-19: Why Salon/Spa Owners Need to be Ready for Anything

July 12, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

Remember last January and February? Your salon/spa business was doing just fine and Spring was just a few months away.

But by the end of March, most salons/spas were shut down, and the only thing that you and every other owner wanted to know was…

“When can I reopen my salon/spa?”

It was as if reopening signaled that the worst was over.

Here we are now in mid-July, and most salons and spas are open. (A few in Northern California should be open by the end of July.)

But unfortunately, infection rates are surging.

So the scary question lurking in the back of everyone’s mind is, will another shutdown happen?

No one has the answer to that question, but it does raise concerns that every salon/spa owner must consider.

If this pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the more prepared your business is, the better its chances of surviving a crisisup to and including another shutdown.... Read More

A Salon/Spa Owner’s Checklist for 30-45 Days After Reopening

June 29, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Depending on the state, some salons and spas have been open since the end of April. Salons and spas in eastern PA and NY are just reopening … or about to. Salons and spas in certain counties in CA are still waiting to reopen.

For most of you, it’s been a mad dash to get your salon/spa reopened. You had to figure out all the safety protocols, acquire PPE, get your employees off unemployment, sanitize everything, reschedule client appointments … phew.

No matter where your salon/spa is in the reopening timeline, checking all the boxes in all those reopening checklists is a daunting task. It’s easy to miss a few. It’s easy for a new system or protocol to become inconsistent, ignored or forgotten.

More importantly, there are to-do’s that should have been on your checklist that you didn’t know about, or feel were important, or just didn’t want to deal with.

At Strategies, our mission is to help owners lead and grow salons and spas that are capable of delivering service excellence in the most efficient, productive and consistently profitable manner possible. To do so requires the right leadership approach, systems and team-based culture.... Read More

My Concern for the Reopening of Salons/Spas

May 18, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 8 Comments

First, some background…

My passion is for business and the leadership and systems that make a business productive and profitable.

I believe in transparency, shared accountability and the unlimited potential of a team-based culture.

The salon/spa industry has been the focus of my career for over 50 years. My track record, and the 26+ year track record of Strategies, of helping owners build the companies, cultures and profitability they never thought possible, is impeccable.

I’m sharing all the above not to boast, but to get your attention and to understand what I need to share…because I believe this may be the most important blog post I’ve ever written.

FACT: Salons and spas are historically known for their lack of profitability and high employee turnover.

Fast forward to today

Since mid-February, our industry and economy has been shaken to its core by COVID-19. All previous national crises and recessions pale in comparison. Never before have all non-essential businesses been ordered to close for a month or more. Never before have such massive federal loans and relief funds been poured into small businesses and individuals.... Read More

Two Salon Owners Share Their Reopening Experiences

May 10, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

These are truly surreal times we’re going through — and the ride appears far from over.

The good news is that all but a few states are relaxing “stay at home” orders and allowing businesses, including salons and spas, to reopen.

Overnight, the conversation shifted from PPP forgiveness to reopening safety protocols.

Today, the big question is: What exactly is it like to reopen your salon/spa?

To answer that question, I interviewed Andrea Birst, owner of Glance Spa & Salon, located in Bismarck, ND.

In addition to winning the Team-Based Pay Business of the Year Award in 2017, Andrea became a Certified Strategies Coach in 2018.

Neil: You reopened on May 1st. What was that like?

Andrea: I was surprised at the overwhelming feelings of emotion I had, and still do. Transitioning from home life and taking care of three kids to going back to work isn’t like flipping a light switch. We were told we could reopen on April 28th and it became a mad dash to prepare the salon/spa.... Read More

Salon/Spa Reopening Service Pricing for a New Reality

April 26, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 5 Comments

Now that most salons/spas have reopened, the first challenge was implementing the sanitizing and social distancing guidelines such as guidelines for:

  • Screening and how to allow clients to enter the salon/spa.
  • Occupancy based on square footage.
  • Clean and sanitized capes and gowns for clients.
  • Face masks and face shields for service providers.
  • Single-use rubber gloves … and lots of them.
  • Face masks for clients … and supplying face masks (free or for a fee) if clients don’t have one.
  • Shampooing and protecting the face.
  • Blow drying restrictions.
  • Sanitized tools, combs, brushes, etc.
  • Sanitizing workspaces before and after each client.
  • And the list goes on, and on, and on.

Next was operating logistics that include:

  • Station separation.
  • Client appointment scheduling.
  • Scheduling of service providers.
  • Extending service time standards to allow for sanitizing between clients.
  • Preparation of sterilized tools and implements.
  • The cost of a massive increase in laundry.
  • The cost of disposable PPE.

Finally, there was/is the challenge of generating sufficient revenue to meet increased operating expenses due to COVID-19, fixed costs (rent, utilities, insurance, etc.), and the reality that your salon/spa has fewer service hours to sell because of social distancing guidelines.... Read More

One Month of COVID-19

April 19, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 10 Comments

One month ago now seems like a distant memory.

I was able to go to work in my office at Strategies and be with my team.

At the time, the news was focused on the devastation that COVID-19 was inflicting on Italy. News quickly shifted to the rapidly increasing infections and deaths in Washington state. Then, the virus exploded in New York City, New York state, New Jersey, California, Illinois, and then the entire country.

Little did any of us realize that our lives were about to change in the most radical way imaginable.

All non-essential businesses were ordered to close. Like you, we locked up our corporate offices and headed home.

That first week was surreal. It was as if we entered a time warp filled with nothing but question marks. How bad will this pandemic get? Unemployment? Rent? The list of tough conversations seemed endless.

Next, Congress approves the CARES Act. Almost immediately, gets overwhelmed with applications for disaster loans. The application required a lot of time and supporting documentation. And then the site goes down completely.... Read More

How to Use the Paycheck Protection Program Loan for Your Salon/Spa

April 12, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 22 Comments

EDIT: This blog post was updated with new funds dispersement info from the US Treasury at 11:50am on 4/13/20.

EDIT 2: PPP regulations are consistently being updated, and have changed since this blog post was written. We highly suggest you continually monitor the US Treasury’s PPP FAQs page for updates, and again, consult your accountant to discuss specifics to your situation. (5/7/20)

Since it was announced two weeks ago, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been a hotly debated and confusing topic.

Here are the ultra-condensed PPP details:

  • The intent of the PPP loan is to get employees back on payroll.
  • The loan amount is based on 2.5 x average monthly payroll for 2019.
  • Interest is 1% for two years. No payments for six months. No collateral or personal guarantee required.
  • To be 100% forgiven, at least 75% of the loan must be used for payroll in the eight weeks after funds are received.
  • Your loan forgiveness will be reduced if you decrease salaries and wages by more than 25% for any employee that made less than $100,000 annualized in 2019.
  • Your loan forgiveness will be reduced if you decrease your full-time employee headcount.
  • You have until June 30, 2020 to restore your full-time employment and salary levels for any changes made between February 15, 2020 and April 26, 2020.

The dilemma for salon/spa owners... Read More

The Importance of Resilient Leadership During & After this Crisis

April 5, 2020 | By Bruce Hourigan | No Comments

Making leadership decisions in times like these, is nothing like most of us have ever experienced.

We can’t think back to yesterday to help make the best decisions today.

As leaders, all we can do is our best, and to look forward as we work through this trying time, planning for a better future.

The pandemic is something we can’t change. For now, we have to focus on tomorrow, and a time when we can put this painful experience to rest.

More importantly, we cannot focus on what we may lose or have lost. Instead, we must focus on what there is to gain.

We, as salon/spa leaders, must stay resilient. 

Resilient leaders:

  1. Are able to recover from difficult situations quickly, encourage teams to embrace change in difficult times, and provide the strong leadership required to help their teams through change.
  2. Are able to embrace chaos and continue making decisions while helping to create a sense of calm among your team and clients.
  3. Focus on strong communication to ensure others understand changes, expectations and new directions.

Embracing Change takes Courage and Requires a Positive Vision for the Future... Read More

Why I Have Hope for Salons & Spas

April 5, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

We’re over two weeks into the COVID-19 crisis. Our lives have been turned upside down. We’re all hunkered down at home — and we need to “stay at home.”

For many of you, your salons/spas are closed, and your employees are on unemployment. In fact, 6.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment. The system is overloaded.

Last week, the process of figuring out the CARES Act benefits shifted into full gear.

Small business owners hammered the SBA Disaster Loan site until it crashed. Many lost all the data they entered. The site did reopen with an easier and faster loan application.

  • This loan is to cover payroll, operating costs, rent, loan payments, etc.
  • No payments for 12 months. Up to a 30-year payout at 3.75%.
  • You can not specify a loan amount. SBA decides the loan amount.

Out of nowhere, comes the $10,000 (that was later raised to $25,000) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).... Read More

COVID-19: Keeping Your Leadership Head in the Game

March 29, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 9 Comments

Karie Bennett is the owner of the highly successful Atelier Salons in San Jose, CA.

Like many tens of thousands of salon/spa owners in the USA and Canada, Karie’s salons are closed due to COVID-19. It is heartbreaking and stressful for owners and employees alike that, just weeks ago, were leading thriving active businesses.

Karie went to check on one of her salons and wrote the following post on Facebook that captured the weight that all owners are burdened with during this lockdown.

I went into one of my salons to check on it and make sure that the lights were turned out to conserve on the utilities and that the refrigerator was cleaned out, the alarm was on and everything was OK in there. I wore an N 95 mask that I had left over from the wildfires to walk from my car to the door in case anyone was out and about.

It’s been a week since I closed the business due to this virus. I spent all last week applying for disaster relief loans, asking for rent relief, reducing payments and talking to my banker, accountant, attorney, and almost every salon owner that I know in my network. And we are in a weird kind of a limbo because we want to help our employees with more than just their unemployment, but we’re all in the same boat. ... Read More

COVID-19 Is NOT Going to Take Out Our Industry

March 22, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 6 Comments

Watching all but non-essential businesses shutting down is beyond surreal — like a nightmare you can’t wake up from.

Where we are:

For well over a week, we’ve been bombarded with phone calls, text messages and emails from salon/spa owners seeking guidance on whether they should stay open or close and how to take care of their employees.

Last Tuesday, March 17th, I hosted a live broadcast Town Hall Meeting from our video studio. Over 600 owners registered.

The bulk of the questions were on how to go about closing and how to create a plan to make it through the crisis. Needless to say, there was fear, but also lots of optimism.

Since March 17th, conditions changed damn near by the minute with federal, state and local governments ordering the shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Simply put, any business that touches people must close.

Initially, salons and spas announced closings for at least two weeks. Today, fingers are crossed to open by May 1st.... Read More

Salon/Spa Coronavirus Resource Links

March 21, 2020 | By Eric Ducoff | 5 Comments

Strategies is here to support all salons, spas and medspas through this unprecedented Coronavirus crisis.

Your best course of action right now is to stay proactive and informed. While by no means is it complete, we have compiled the following list of resources to help you gather information and take action.

Be sure to join our Facebook Group, the Strategies Salon/Spa Idea Exchange, as we will posting continued updates. It’s also an invaluable resource to network with other owners who are eager to share and assist others.

We will continue to update this list as new resources become available.

US Business Assistance and Information:

Canada Business Assistance and Information:... Read More

Salon/Spa Checklist for Pausing Operations Due to Coronavirus

March 20, 2020 | By Eric Ducoff | 8 Comments

Okay, the decision has been made to pause operations in your salon, spa or medspa due to the coronavirus.

Deep breaths…you WILL get through this.

The most important thing for you to do now is to be proactive. And that starts right now.

Here is a list of action items for you to start implementing right now in order to ensure your team and clients are informed, your physical location is secured, and your business is set up to operate at its full potential when it’s time to welcome guests back in the door.

  • Communicate your intentions with your team: Be as transparent as possible, and let them know how frequently they should expect communication from you throughout the pause in business. Plan out daily/weekly updates to keep them informed, engaged and educated. Give them reassurance that you are there for them if they need a person to talk to
  • Create scripts for clients: They need to know when the pause will begin, when it will end (if known) and how where they can find updates (Instagram, Website, Email, etc.).
  • Change voicemail to reflect the verbiage developed in your scripts.
  • Create an email auto-responder to reflect the verbiage developed in your scripts.
  • Post an update on your website to reflect the verbiage developed in your scripts.
  • Call all guests to inform them of the pause. If you have a targeted opening date, be proactive and reschedule all appointments so that you can start generating revenue right away. Just be sure to remind clients the situation remains fluid, and you will notify them if further rescheduling will be required.
  • Put a sign on the front door outlining all details of the pause, as well as how clients can contact you if needed.
  • Post pause details on all social media outlets, giving specific details/instructions for clients that currently have appointments booked.
  • Email guests with pause details on all social media outlets, giving specific details/instructions for clients that currently have appointments booked.
  • Turn off your automated email and text confirmations.
  • Unplug all non-essential electronics.
  • Check the fridge for anything that may go rotten.
  • Lower heat (or raise AC).
  • Finish and fold all laundry.
  • Remove valuables, set alarm, and alert police department of closing date. (Note: Do NOT cancel your alarm service).
  • Supply your team with information on how they can fill for unemployment (if applicable). Check with your state labor department for details and possible economic assistance.
  • Guide your team on personal budgeting
  • Contact your landlord to request a rent reduction. Be sure to outline a fair reimburse plan.
  • Ask vendors for delay in payment on anything you owe on, including leases, loans, credit cards, utilities, software companies, banks/lenders, etc.
  • Cancel any subscriptions that you will not need while closed.
  • Contact your bank for a line of credit.
  • Visit the SBA Disaster Relief site and determine if you qualify for a low interest disaster loan. If you do, apply immediately!
  • Contact your business insurance agent to determine if you are covered for any losses. Business interruption insurance does not cover a pandemic, but put a claim in anyway, as there is legislation in place to potentially change that.
  • Contact your health insurance for your employees to understand their options if premiums are no longer being paid.
  • Start diving deep into your cash-flow plan and adjust accordingly. It is IMPERATIVE that you keep your cash-flow plan updated and accurate during these next few months.
  • Have a mindset that you WILL be re-opening, but start game-planning NOW. Your opening strategy needs to be at front-of-mind.
  • Use this downtime to get ahead by accomplishing all those projects and tasks that you haven’t had the time to complete. Work on your internal training program. Paint the walls. Map out your social media content for your re-opening. Don’t squander this opportunity to get ahead and come back out swinging!
  • Create a plan for the next year, being realistic with productivity. It may need some ramping up when you re-open.
  • Keep a journal notebook (or doc on your computer) and notate EVERYTHING. Also, add your daily thoughts in your notebook, including your gratitudes. Let’s stay positive!
  • Practice self care – You can’t take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself
  • Be creative with ways to generate revenue while the business is closed. Some examples include curbside retail pickup, deliveries, online consultations, etc.
  • Game plan with your team on how to keep them engaged…whether it’s helping creating social content, virtual staff technical training, taking an online course, etc.

Remember, being proactive is the best thing you can do for you, your team and your business. Yes this is a big list, but you don’t have to do it alone. Get your team involved. The more they are involved in the planning now, the more engaged and “ready to roll” they will be when your doors open again.... Read More

19 Points to Keep Your Salon/Spa Moving Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

March 19, 2020 | By Eric Ducoff | 7 Comments

This post was originally posted to our Facebook group, the Strategies Business Idea Exchange, by former Certified Strategies Coach, Lisa Cochran, who owns The Studio – Aveda Hair Salon & Spa in Hattiesburg, MS.

I am reaching out to encourage you as we all navigate through a new business landscape.

In 2005, our area was devastated by hurricane Katrina. The devastation was horrendous, and we knew we were looking at years of recovery. We lost the roof to our new salon, our cars were crushed by trees, our home had trees on it and the list went on and on.

But we survived, and our business did too.

We are stronger for it.

I understand comparing a hurricane and a public health emergency are two very different things. But the response can be similar.

Right now, you might be experiencing a lot of fear, and rightly so. But now it is time to act.

In response to COVID 19, here are nineteen random thoughts, questions and tips to keep my fellow salon/spa owners moving:... Read More

Lead to the Level of the Challenge

March 14, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Scenario 1: An owner is concerned that her team just doesn’t care about, or appreciate, the salon/spa and all it does and offers. Some talented employees left to rent suites. Service providers want more money. They want more of everything. The owner is frustrated.

Scenario 2: The salon/spa has been operating at a loss for too long. One partner runs the business and the other just wants to do hair. Both have taken pay cuts. The business side partner knows what needs to be done but is stuck without the support and cooperation of the creative partner. The creative partner just wants the business partner to make things better. Both partners are frustrated.

Scenario 3: Everyone is confronted with COVID-19 and how to respond to it. Personal lives and business operations are being disrupted. The stock market has no tolerance for uncertainty. Leaders need to make the tough decisions to lock down the spread, even if it requires extreme measures.... Read More

Coronavirus: Salon/Spa Preparedness & Reassurance

March 7, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 10 Comments

This a blog post I didn’t want to write.

In this digital age, we’re being bombarded with up-to-the-second bulletins of new confirmed cases and mores deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

It’s only natural that people are concerned enough to begin altering plans and events are being delayed or cancelled. Tokyo has yet to decide on delaying the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

The airline and cruise ship industry are experiencing empty seats and staterooms. Face masks are hard to find. Supply chains for manufacturing are strained. The stock market has become a roller coaster.

Fear has a domino effect and can spread faster than the coronavirus itself. The last thing I want to do is write a blog post that raises the already mounting level of concern.

I feel it is only prudent that I offer you a short list of things you should be doing to prepare your salon/spa business to weather any adverse effects coronavirus fears can bring.... Read More


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