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Salon/Spa Ownership is About Making a Difference

Without question, being the owner of a salon/spa is not for the faint of heart — or anyone not willing to do the work to build a successful business.

But there is something more to owning and building a salon/spa business than making money.

Of course, money is important, but there is a higher purpose.

Being an owner is about making a difference.

Your company is a living representation of your vision. You envision your company making more than just money.

Your company creates jobs, livelihoods and career growth for your employees.

Your company provides services to help clients look and feel better.

Your company serves the local community.

Your company contributes to the economy.

To illustrate this, there’s a great story about three brick layers. When asked, “What are you doing?”, the first brick layer said, “Laying bricks.” The second brick layer said, “Building a wall.” The third brick layer stood up and said, “I’m building a cathedral.”

Your salon/spa exists for many reasons far beyond cutting and coloring hair, doing facials, massages, lashes, waxing and more.

As an owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the employee challenges and fighting cash flow. It’s easy to forget just how much your salon/spa makes a difference in the lives of so many.

During the Covid-19 shutdown, I saw owners doing everything possible to ensure the wellbeing of their employees. I saw owners making one tough decision after another to make sure their companies survived.

When it was time to reopen, I saw owners doing everything in their power to learn and follow safety and sanitation protocols to ensure the safety of their employees and clients.

Never before have I seen our industry respond to change so quickly and thoroughly to implement safety and sanitizing protocols. It wasn’t just about reopening to make money. It was about getting back to work and making a difference.

Let’s not forget those that still cannot reopen

Last March 30th, I did a blog post on Karie Bennett, the owner of the highly successful Atelier Salons in San Jose, CA. Karie had just closed her salons and shared the fears and frustrations she was feeling. Today is July 6th — Karie still has no idea when she can reopen her salons. 

Making a difference is about leadership, commitment and integrity.

Here are six straight-forward prerequisites to lead a salon/spa that makes a difference:

  1. Lead by example: Don’t expect others to do what you’re not willing to do yourself. Rules, policies, performance and desired behaviors mean nothing if you don’t lead by example. Show the best way. Don’t dictate your way. Leaders make a difference by stepping up.

  2. Keep your bar set high: Being “the best” salon/spa means nothing if your bar is set on average. Setting the bar high makes everyone stretch to get better. Stretching to be the best becomes part of your company culture. When a team stretches to be the best, it creates lift for everyone. Everyone moves closer to achieving their full potential. Where you set the bar and how you lead your team to reach that bar makes a difference.

  3. Always do the right thing: Leadership is about making decisions and choices. In leadership, some decisions and choices can be brutally tough. The only way to always doing the right thing is to live by your values and integrity. If it feels right, do it. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. From the path you chose to the decisions you make, doing the right thing makes a difference.

  4. Mentor and coach freely: Leading people means mentoring and coaching. It means giving your knowledge, skills and experience freely. The more you do — the more those around you grow. Yes, some will move on. Get over it. Your mission is to make a difference, not be reimbursed. Loyalty is earned.

  5. Live “We” not “Me”: Teaching and coaching how to be a Team-Based “We” salon/spa is how Strategies makes a difference. We do it because it works. “All about me” leaders create “all about me” cultures. Yes, individuals can make a difference. Teams of like-minded people make major differences.

  6. Wear a mask: It’s a simple thing to do that can save lives. It makes a difference.

Here’s my challenge to you: Lift your thinking above the daily chaos and challenges of leading your salon/spa. Remind yourself of the difference your company makes in the lives of others.

Embrace these six prerequisites. Make a difference.

And wear a mask.


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