How to Control Your Time Bandits

September 16, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

You work hard all day on a bunch of stuff. There are emails, phone calls, tasks, interruptions – and the fires that would burn out of control had you hesitated to step in.

You have busy days, but what meaningful work do you truly accomplish? How much progress do you make on those gotta-do projects scattered all over your plate?

FACT: Being “busy” does not translate into being productive and making forward progress.

Being busy can mean you’re procrastinating on work you should be doing.

Being busy can mean that you’re doing work that others can and should be doing.

Lastly, being busy can mean that you’ve set yourself up to be an easy target for time bandits.

There are all sorts of time bandits just waiting to rob you of your precious time. And they don’t even need to pick a lock to rob tiny morsels or big chunks of your time. ... Read More

Five Strategies to Maintain Your Leadership Strength

July 1, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Let’s face it, it’s hard to be on your leadership game every day.

In fact, it’s shortsighted to even think it’s possible.

The work of leading a salon/spa is a constantly moving target. It’s supposed to be that way. “Current reality” is something you can only partially control. That’s why you often find yourself fighting those inevitable fires. Put one fire out over here and another ignites over there. Such is the work of leadership.

Even in the best-run salons/spas, there are times when the fires seem to ignite faster than you can stomp them out. You feel like Davy Crockett at the Alamo and hopelessly outnumbered.

Leadership battles wear you down. Too much current reality wears you down. ... Read More

“Happiness” Is No Discounts for Prebooking

May 6, 2022 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

A Strategies coaching client recently asked, “Do you recommend offering a discount to encourage clients to prebook their next appointment?”

The short answer is, that you do what you have to do to retain clients.

However, offering a discount to book a second visit, or any subsequent visit, should be viewed more as an occasional marketing effort than an ongoing practice.

IMPORTANT: Do not get into the habit of discounting second or pre-booked visits.

Offering discounts for clients to pre-book is giving money away. Once you start, it can be hard to stop.

FACT: Offering clients a discount to prebook appointments is an expensive shortcut that avoids implementing a systemized and managed prebook system.

At Strategies, we teach “The Happiness System.” It is designed as a professional closing procedure for all salon/spa services. RELATED: Access our free Happiness System Cheat Sheet and mini Video Lesson here.... 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

Achieving That Elusive Work/Life Balance

May 23, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

Every salon/spa owner wants work/life balance, but relatively few achieve it.

Employees want it, but the reality of working in a salon/spa means that services must be available at times that meet client demand and needs.

So, the big question is … if everyone wants it, why is achieving work/life balance much like the quest for the holy grail?

FACT: Achieving work/life balance means reassessing priorities and being willing to make compromises.

Here’s what you need to know and the choices you need to make to achieve your version of work/life balance:

  • It’s about time management: Let’s face it, you could accomplish more great things in less time if you took control of your time. That means setting your priorities to manage what you allow on your plate. Too many owners get caught up in the day-to-day craziness of business fighting fires. Before you know it, the day is shot and your to-do list just got bigger. KEY: Time management demands personal discipline. Use your calendar to make appointments with yourself to work on tasks. Most important is to regard your calendar as your boss. Working smarter and more effectively is the key to unlocking personal time for family and stuff that makes life more fulfilling.
  • It’s about being a business owner: Be realistic, if you’re starting or expanding a business, you’re committing to doing whatever it takes to ensure that the business startup is successful. That means more time must be channeled to work and less to balance. That’s part of the choice to start or expand a business. KEY: Reread the first bullet. Managing your time, even if it means long days or periods of working on your business, it still means working smarter not harder. Many service-provider owners struggle with work/life balance because doing services leaves too little time for leading the business — let alone carving out personal/family time. Yes, there will be times when the business demands everything you’ve got. But achieving work/life balance should always be worked into your plan.
  • It’s about financial discipline: One of the beautiful things about money, profit, and positive cash flow is the freedom it creates. Likewise, tight cash flow, slim or no profit, creates stress and anxiety. When this scenario continues for extended periods, owners can, and will, fall out of love with their companies. The thought of work/life balance becomes a source of frustration — even resentment. KEY: We call the understanding and management of finances and cash flow, “financial literacy.” But being financially literate is pointless without financial disciplines. Spend less than your revenues. View debt as drag. Too much drag can kill a business. To achieve work/life balance, you must be financially disciplined. Profit and cash reserves buy you peace of mind and time. Got it?

... 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 Fall Back in Love With Your Salon/Spa Business

April 25, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

The day you became a salon/spa owner, it was like a dream come true. But like any relationship, it can, and will, hit some rough spots.

Too often, those rough spots turn ownership into a true love/hate relationship. That’s especially so if the rough spots linger too long, or, devolve into what we not-so-fondly refer to as, the fiery pit of hell.

On the “love” side: Your salon/spa business is running like a finely tuned machine. You feel a sense of personal pride and accomplishment. Your team culture is dialed in, there’s money in the bank, your critical numbers are impressive — so much so, you love being an owner.

On the “hate” side: Employees drive you crazy, your culture needs fixing, cash flow sucks, debt load is scary, and you’re always stressed. You’re not sure how much more of this you can take. If there was a viable way to get out without losing everything — you’d take it in a heartbeat.... Read More

Imagine Your Salon/Spa Running at Full Potential

April 18, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

To have your salon/spa running at full potential is every owner’s dream.

Running at full potential means:

  • Your company-wide productivity rate averages 85%.
  • High first-time and existing client retention rates.
  • Everyone working within time standards.
  • Systems make your business consistent and predictable.
  • Every client receives a personalized retail recommendation.
  • Hitting service and retail goals damn near every month.
  • Your culture is dialed in and all staff are on the same page.
  • Cash flow is excellent with three-plus months of cash reserve.
  • No, or very little, debt.
  • Monthly net profit makes you proud of what you built.
  • Your company is meeting or exceeding growth goals.
  • You sleep good at night.

You get the picture. Running at full potential is a wonderful and enviable place to be.

As an entrepreneur, you also know that no matter how dialed in your business is, you see where it misses the mark. Where performance, behaviors, and execution could be better.... Read More

How to Keep Salon/Spa Employees Motivated to Achieve Goals

March 28, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

Goals are essential in business. Achieving those goals requires leadership, information flow, determination, and accountability. More importantly, goals demand teamwork.

There’s something about goals in the salon/spa industry — and working to achieve those goals — that too often creates more frustration than wins.

To illustrate, here’s what an owner posted on Strategies Salon, Spa Business Idea Exchange Facebook discussion group:

Goals — I love them. But not everyone is driven by them. It’s like an elevator trying to motivate employees to hit a goal. I coach. Motivation goes up … then down … and, after another meeting to get their heads back in the game, it goes back up again.

We do bigger staff meetings at the first of every month. A quicker mid-month meeting to keep everyone on track. Then we do one-on-one’s every month plus a 15-minute one-on-one mid-month to check on goal progress.... Read More

10 Reasons for Salon/Spa Owners to Stay Positive

January 31, 2021 | By Neil Ducoff | 3 Comments

For owners, staying positive in these uncertain times is something you need to keep working at. 

Of course, you’re weary of dealing with this pandemic. It’s been a tough ten months and COVID-19 is going to be with us a while longer.

When you’re dealing with cancellations, no shows, reduced capacity, client fears, employee quarantines, and tight cash flow, staying positive is a challenge. 

As an owner, your ability to stay positive cannot be underestimated or ignored. Why? Because the owner’s positivity establishes the company’s sense of urgency and performance expectations. So much so that the culture and performance of a salon/spa business is a direct reflection of the owner’s level of positivity.... Read More

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