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Success, Paying Attention and Avoiding the Business Rollercoaster
September 5, 2016 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments
The dreaded rollercoaster ride is almost always traceable to owners that dialed back how intently they payed attention to their salon/spa business.
The salon/spa business has a funny way of sneaking up behind you and smacking you in the head. Almost always, owners get smacked because they weren’t paying attention to what is going on around them … and ahead of them.
- All it takes is a little staff turnover, some overspending, a system breakdown, or a momentary lack of focus to push your business off course.
Success has a way of making owners feel safe, comfortable and content. They dial back their state of awareness and connectedness to the business. The days of hard work and relentlessly pushing forward fade away.
The ride to the top of the success rollercoaster took enormous effort and tenacity. When you get distracted and disconnected, the ride down can be an out-of-control, white-knuckle, thrill ride into cultural, operational and financial issues.
I’m not saying that owners can never kick back, relax and enjoy their salon/spa’s current level of success. I’m saying that current success is a momentary state that requires persistent leadership attention and energy to not only maintain … but to continue to grow.
The key to avoiding the dreaded business rollercoaster ride from upward growth and success to downward stress and struggle is finding your personal balance between paying attention, pushing forward and re-energizing.
Here are some No-Compromise Leadership insights to use Strategies’ Four Business Outcomes to find your personal balance and avoid the dreaded business rollercoaster:
- Productivity: Your salon/spa’s productivity rate isn’t just a vital critical number and efficiency measurement … it is the end result of how well your operational systems are designed, implemented and locked in. In its purest form, your productivity rate is a percentage read-out of your salon/spa’s efficient use of saleable time. The higher your productivity rate … the more efficiently hours are being sold and work is being done.
>> Pay attention to the following Productivity Outcome elements:
• Skill development training and practice is the most direct path to consistency. How relentlessly are you investing in skill development?
• Time standards define how skills are applied to efficiently complete the services you offer. Time standards are directly tied to quality and profitability. Delivering a quality service takes time. The question is, how much time? How relentlessly are you paying attention to time standards?
• Over- or under-staffing is directly tied to your productivity rate. Over-staffing lowers your productivity rate. Under-staffing drives up your productivity rate to unsustainable levels. The productivity rate sweet spot is 75 to 85 percent. This allows wiggle room to accommodate seasonal highs and identifies when it is time to hire. The more productivity drops below 75 percent … the bigger the red flag. How relentlessly are you paying attention to optimal staffing?
• Information flow drives productivity. Your team cannot deliver its best if it doesn’t have the daily dose of information to stay focused on what’s important. How relentlessly are you delivering information to your team?
- Profitability: There are two ways to create profitability … luck or planning. Luck is high risk and usually focuses on driving revenue with little to no cash-flow expense planning. If you’re okay leading an impressively busy salon/spa that operates in a high stress and perpetual cash crisis … go for the luck approach. If you want to enjoy the peace of mind and rewards of creating profit and positive cash flow … go for the planning approach.
>> Pay attention to the following Profitability Outcome elements:
• Work your cash-flow plan. If you don’t have or use a month-by-month cash-flow plan to set revenue goals and expense budgets … you’re trusting luck. Reviewing your financial reports at the end of the month isn’t working a plan or playing the business game. How relentlessly are you working your cash-flow plan?
• Every purchase … especially those large purchases … is a decision to spend cash or incur debt. There’s nothing wrong with debt as long as it’s manageable. But there’s nothing sweeter than leading a business that is debt-free. How relentlessly are you making the best purchasing decisions to minimize or eliminate debt?
• Cash reserves are the quickest way to a good night’s sleep. Can’t explain it easier than that. How relentlessly are you building your cash reserves in a company savings account?
- Staff Retention: A little staff turnover is natural … but it still sucks. A lot of staff turnover massively sucks in every way. The best leaders recognize that when staff turnover gets ugly … it’s time to look in the mirror at your leadership and your staff retention systems.
>> Pay attention to the following Staff Retention elements:
• The appreciation factor: It’s easy to get caught up in the daily battle of driving growth and forget about showing a little appreciation to the hard work of your team and key staff. Work isn’t always about work. How relentlessly are you MAKING the time to show and share a little appreciation?
• The feedback factor: I will keep beating the performance review and one-on-one drum until salons/spa do them thoroughly and consistently. Every employee deserves the right to know what the company they work for thinks about their overall performance. How relentlessly are you committing and sticking to your performance review and one-on-one plan?
• The culture factor: The growing uproar from employee-based salons and spas over staff leaving for booth rental and suites will continue until owners truly analyze their cultures. The two primary reasons service providers give for going to booth rent or suites is to escape the drama and to have more freedom in their work schedules. It’s not always about money. Drama represents culture contamination. Inflexibility on work schedules can easily be replaced within a framework of flexibility and clarified expectations. How relentlessly are you evolving and protecting your culture and practicing scheduling flexibility?
- Customer Loyalty: There is no greater indicator of your salon/spa’s customer loyalty factor than your first-time client retention rate. If 50 to 75 percent of your first-time clients do not return for a second visit… you are not leading a world-class salon/spa. Creating extraordinary customer loyalty is what truly separates the talkers and egos from the doers and serious players.
>> Pay attention to the following Customer Loyalty elements:
• Is it good for the customer? That’s the ultimate question that determines what your salon/spa is committed to doing. Is showing up for work dressed right and on time good for the customer? Hell yes. Is that thoroughly scripted first-time client consultation procedure, that only some staff follow, good for the customer? Hell yes. Is double-booking and squeezing clients in so a service provider can make more commission good for the customer? Hell no. How relentlessly are you implementing and locking in systems and behaviors that are good for the customer?
• Pre-booking and product recommendations: Hair grows back. One facial cannot fix a skin condition. One massage doesn’t fix those aching joints and muscles. One mani/pedi doesn’t last forever. No professional product lasts forever. Stand near your front desk for one hour on a busy day and observe how clients leave without an appointment for the future or the correct product. How relentlessly are you connecting your service providers to guest service checkout to ensure pre-booking and retail sales?
• It’s all about the customer: The best and most successful service providers put the needs of the client first. When service providers make it all about themselves … customer loyalty is compromised. How relentlessly are you creating and protecting the culture of customer service?
Here’s my challenge to you: There are about a dozen training points in this MMWU to keep you and your team … and your company … paying attention and off the dreaded business rollercoaster. Do the work! No Compromise.
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