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The Super Duo: Salon & Spa Systems and Culture


A salon/spa owner is sharing how her team works together to achieve the company’s monthly service and retail goal. One puzzled owner responds, “How do you get them to do that?

The scenario is always the same when owners share how their team is always on time for huddle, consistently achieves high prebook rates, follows customer scripts and other essential salon/spa systems.

Owners will always ask, “How do you get them to do that?”

The same is true when a salon/spa owner implements a significant change with little drama or pushback. There will always be owners that respond, “My employees would never do that. I’d have a walkout.”

What’s the difference between a salon/spa that operates like a well-oiled machine and is able to implement major change and those that struggle?

The answer comes down to a company’s ability to dial in the super duo of systems and culture.

Systems define how work is done in order to create predictability.

Culture is the collective thinking and behavior of a team of employees.

A salon/spa can have the most amazing systems for customer service, technical skills and operations, but if its culture is undisciplined and poorly defined, the systems will sputter or fail.

When thoroughly designed systems combine with a highly focused culture, the result is teamwork at its best.

  • Teamwork is a beautiful thing.

  • Teamwork is an outcome of systems and culture — guided by leadership.

  • Teamwork requires relentless work — massively more work than most owners realize.

Here are some No-Compromise Leadership strategies to help you put the super duo of systems and culture to work in your salon/spa:

  • Systems versus country club: If systems define how work is done and assures predictability, the lack of or absence of systems is best defined as a country club. Employees do their own thing, come and go as they please and pretty much function as if they were independent contractors. Most salons and spas fall somewhere in between. The closer they are to “country club,” the more inconsistent the work, the lower the productivity, and the more missed opportunities. FACT: To succeed and create a viable brand identity, a service business like salon/spa must be systematized throughout.

  • Systems set you free: This frequently used statement in Strategies training and coaching is the key to ending the daily firefighting that consumes time and feeds owner frustration. If you’ve ever said, “How many times do I have to tell them,” or, “What were they thinking,” the cause is a lack of systems and an indifferent “I don’t care” culture. FACT: The more systematized your salon/spa, the faster and more efficient it operates — and the more owners are free to focus on growth and new opportunities.

  • Think “Operations Manual”: An operations manual is the collective “how-to” instruction guide to how your salon/spa works. Think of it as your company’s “secret sauce” for success. If something needs to be done, the “how-to” should be in your manual. Yes, creating an operations manual is a time consuming endeavor. The alternative is to cross your fingers and hope that your company runs efficiently, consistently and profitably. FACT: Your operations manual adds predictability to your salon/spa and value when the time comes to sell.

  • Culture reflects Leadership: You can have the best designed systems, but it’s leadership that brings meaning and purpose to its culture. Systems in the presence of weak leadership rarely if ever produce the intended results. Systems thrive on a culture of accountability, discipline and a shared passion to do whatever it takes to be the best. FACT: Culture begins with the leader. It’s fueled by the leader’s vision, passion, determination, fairness and respect for those he or she leads.

Here’s my challenge to you: Do the work.

If your goal is to run a mediocre salon/spa that can’t get out of its own way and stumbles from one cash crisis to another, you probably didn’t read past the title of this blog post.

If you’re still reading, it’s because something resonated with you.

At no other time in the history of the industry has growing a successful salon/spa been so challenging. Good talent is hard to find. Rental and suites are a constant lure for existing employees. Amazon has become your competitor for professional retail sales.

The growth opportunities for employee-based salons and spas is there — if you do the work. The work is to become everything that marginal salons/spas, rental and suites are not. Marginal salons/spas don’t do the work to create systems and the culture that supports them. Rental and suites are independents that want to do their own thing.

Do the work.


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