Change, Suites and the Four Salon & Spa Success Absolutes

April 10, 2017 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments


The pace of change doesn’t care about the current state of your salon/spa. It doesn’t care how young or old, energetic or tired you are. It doesn’t care how much you think you know or what keeps you up at night.

The pace of change doesn’t care if you want to play the business game fast, slow or not at all.

The pace of change is the relationship of time and innovation. It’s relentless. It’s disruptive. It can be exciting for some and be intimidating for others.

As an employee-based salon/spa owner, you have four choices:

  1. Be at the forefront of change.
  2. Try to keep up.
  3. Fall behind.
  4. Give up.

There is a disturbing level of fear among employee-based salons/spa owners. Much of it is centered on the growth of independents and suites. The rest is the usual financial stress of running a salon/spa in today’s business environment.

FACT #1: Employee-based salon/spa businesses have never been overly structured and disciplined businesses.

FACT #2: Independents and suites celebrate being free of employee-based structures and rules … to be free to do as they want.

There is growing talk of the “hybrid” salon/spa business model. Hire new talent on hourly, transition them to commission to grow their “column on the appointment book,” and when they’re booked solid, lease them one of your suites.

The hybrid model says, “Instead of losing a good service provider completely, at least I can collect rent on a suite.”

The hybrid model also says, “Give away the value of the goodwill that required a serious investment in time, training and development, all in exchange for rent.”

Going back to the four choices outlined above, embracing the hybrid model as an employee-based salon/spa owner is the same as choosing #2 (try to keep up), or #3 (fall behind).

BIG, GIANT TAKE-AWAY: “If an employee sees more opportunity working alone, than being part of your salon/spa … your business model needs a serious upgrade.”

Now go back and read that last sentence again.

And again.

For employee-based salon/spa owners, the choice to be at the forefront of change means embracing and committing to the following Four Success Attributes:

  1. Structure and Systems: All wildly-successful businesses are undeniably structured — and that means “systematized.” The more well designed systems a salon/spa has – the more predictable the work patterns and behavior. More importantly, systems create consistency. In a service business like a salon or spa, the ability to deliver consistently high quality technical and service experiences … the more efficient the operation of the business. As extensively detailed in my book, No-Compromise Leadership, systems drive the Four Business Outcomes: Productivity, Profitability, Staff Retention and Customer Loyalty. KEY: Being at the forefront of change means a no-compromise commitment to seriously upgrading the structure and systems of your salon/spa.
  1. Discipline: Without leadership, structure and systems are simply business buzzwords. Rise to the level of No-Compromise Leadership and you can transform your salon/spa into a dynamic, competitive and empowered market leader. No-Compromise Leadership is when your heart, passion and compassion are focused and engaged on leading and coaching your employees to a better place. KEY: To be a No-Compromise Leader … you must be disciplined. For your salon/spa to be at the forefront of change … you must create a disciplined team.
  1. Brand: The old commission business model is all about service providers building their column on the appointment book. Pay based on individual service and retail revenue feeds “I/me/mine” independent thinking and behavior. FACT: If clients are more loyal to a column on your appointment book than your brand … your salon/spa is vulnerable to walkouts and cash-flow challenges. KEY: Creating a brand that’s at the forefront of change … with fierce client loyalty to your brand … means establishing a “Team-Based Service” business model. A team of professional and skilled service providers free of the constraints of the commission “that’s my client” mentality.
  1. Culture: Yes, company culture. Not the “how many times do I have to tell them” culture that drives owners crazy … I mean the “If it needs to be done, we get it done” No-compromise company culture that lives at the forefront of change. Too many owners fear leading at this level of the business game. They fear pushback, confrontation, and the proverbial “they’ll leave if they don’t like it.” KEY: You can’t build a dynamic team culture walking on eggshells. Culture building is the true work of leadership. It’s where dreams and visions come to life. It’s where growth opportunities abound for your employees. Is culture building hard work? Hell yes it is. Is it worth it? Hell YES it is.

Here’s my challenge to you: You can buy into the nonsense that independents and suites spell the end of the employee-based salons/spas. You can buy into the shortsightedness that a “hybrid” employee/suite that surrenders your goodwill and brand is a sustainable business model.

Or, you can wrap your thinking, energy and future around being at the forefront of change and … once and for all … lead your salon/spa to that next level. It’s time to rock your boat and set it on a better course. It’s time to go No Compromise.

Categories: Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up

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