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Five Ways to Outsmart Today’s Business Unknowns

August 30, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that it can hurl one humungous unknown after another at your salon/spa.

Just when you think one challenge is under control, another wrecking ball is coming at you. It’s scary, stressful and ultimately wears you down.

FACT: During this pandemic where uncertainty is a daily occurrence, the worst strategy is to hunker down, do nothing and wait for the storm to pass. The problem is that the COVID-19 storm is far from over.

The good news is that there is a way to outsmart the unknowns and be more in control of your business — and lower your stress levels in the process.

Here are five rock-solid ways to outsmart the onslaught of unknowns and get your business safely through this pandemic:

  1. Make WINNING your goal: For the past 12 years, at the end of June, I do the MS Cape Cod Getaway Ride (Covid canceled this year’s ride). It’s 150 miles from Boston to Provincetown in two days. I can’t just get on my bike the day of the ride and expect to finish. And if I could finish, the lack of training would hurt like hell. So, I train hard to finish and beat my personal record. Hunkering down and playing it safe is no way to lead a company through a crisis of today’s magnitude. You need to have a goal. KEY: Getting to the other side of this pandemic must be your company’s big hairy audacious goal (BHAG). Your team needs to hear this from you. They need to see your determination. They need to feel your passion and conviction. They need to know that winning takes hard work and commitment. It’s time to wake your team up and get them on the same winning page. Tell your team, “We’re going to beat this pandemic.”
  2. The momentum of Productivity: You know the productivity rate drill. You sell hours in exchange for salon/spa services. (Hours sold ÷ hours available = your company’s productivity rate.) In the days of COVID, if your productivity rate is below 80%, your team and company are not fighting to win. Below 70% productivity is lethargic. Below 60% is anemic. Below 50% is comatose. See where this is going? KEY: History has proven that trying to build one column on the appointment book at a time is an exercise in insanity. Teamwork drives productivity. Teamwork means, “Everyone is responsible for every hour the salon/spa has available for sale.” The more you educate and train clients that, “The skills of the entire salon/spa are available to each and every client,” the higher you drive productivity rates.
  3. Systems consistency: The salon/spa industry is known for its free spirit, creative abilities, and individuality. But, it’s impossible to build a viable service business and brand with everyone doing their own thing. That’s booth rental/suites. KEY: Systems create consistency. Consistency creates predictability. Predictability creates sustainability. Sustainability creates the business horsepower to get through this pandemic.
  4. The BEST Business Antibody: What is a business antibody? It’s called cash flow. That’s why Congress passed the CARES Act to quickly get 3.8 million loans totaling more than $500 billion to help small businesses. The EIDL loans, although off to a rocky start, brought $20 billion in emergency funding. That’s why cash-flow planning and financial literacy is the cornerstone of Strategies Coaching. KEY: If your approach to cash-flow planning is checking your bank balances multiple times a day, you’re no match for even the simplest unknown that COVID can throw at you. Monthly service and retail projections are non-negotiable. Monthly expense budgets are non-negotiable. Monthly cash and profit goals are non-negotiable. If you are failing in any of these non-negotiables — you need to schedule a coaching call with Strategies.
  5. What, Why, When and How: The last thing any owner should be asking during this pandemic is, “How do I get everyone on the same page?” This question means dysfunction, chaos and untold missed opportunities. KEY: Communication and information flow are the two most potent tools in a leader’s toolbox. WHAT defines the goal. WHY details the reason and the importance of achieving this goal. WHEN is the starting gun and establishes all of the timelines to achieving the goal. HOW: is all about the systems, training, and accountabilities to achieve the goal. Too many salons/spas are a conglomeration of conflicting and poorly defined goals. One company. One team. One goal. That’s how you beat the unknowns this pandemic will continue to throw at you.

Here’s my challenge to you: The only way to get through this pandemic is to be aggressive, systematized, coordinated, consistent, and relentless.

It’s time to play the business game better and smarter. It’s time to set the goal on winning. Why? Because winning is the best stress reliever ever.


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