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The Salon/Spa Owner’s Guide to Scaling Back Services

June 26, 2017 | By Stan Bialecki | No Comments

salon spa owners guide to scaling back services

You’ve built the most beautiful salon/spa in your town.

Clients love you.

You are really busy — like, 12-hour days busy — and plenty of cash is flowing into the register!

Great situation, RIGHT?

There’s just one minor problem…You’re the only one who is busy. 

Every week, we have multiple conversations with owners facing this exact situation, with each sharing their frustrations about looking up from their chairs, or emerging from their treatment rooms, to see staff hanging around with no clients.

Here is the far-too typical phone conversation we have with salon/spa owners:

Strategies: “How many hours per week do you perform services?”
Answer: “40+ hours.”

Strategies: “Is a large portion of your company’s income generated by you?”
Answer: “Yes.”

Strategies: “Could your company sustain itself and be profitable if you stopped doing services?”
Answer: “No.”

Strategies: “Have you ever gone without a paycheck to meet the expenses of the company?”
Answer: (There is usually a quiet pause as the owner reflects for a moment) “Yes.”

It’s incredibly frustrating when an owner has invested in expensive spaces and hiring/training staff, only to find out they have essentially bought themselves an expensive job being stuck performing services 50-60 hours a week.

So is there is a better way?

Or course! And it all starts with embracing the power and responsibility of the owner’s leadership role. Yes, it may seem counter-intuitive (and downright scary), but stepping away from the role of full-time service provider — and into the role of leader — can have a much larger impact on the success of your company.

Why? Because, it’s really hard to influence the growth of your company when you are tied to a chair or behind a closed door.

Does this mean you need to give up doing services completely? Absolutely not! However, finding a balance between a time to lead and a time to provide the services you love is the key.

Here are five No Compromise Leadership strategies for getting out from behind the chair or treatment room today.

  1. Become the LEADER your company needs: While it was your technical expertise that launched your company, your role changed once you hired employees. Realize the real value you now provide to your company is that of being a leader. That means…
    • Setting the vision for the entire company.
    • Providing career paths for the team.
    • Coaching and mentoring team members.
    • Fostering relationships with clients so they become loyal to your brand, not a column on the book.
    • Working a plan that financially grows the company and builds up cash reserves.
  1. Create a cash-flow plan (CFP): How does the money flow in and out of your company?  Most owners fly by the seat of their pants and run the business out of their check book. This approach makes it very hard to step away from doing services, because there is no plan or forecast for growth. Creating a CFP sets your business up for success and provides a game plan for stability and growth. A good CPF also determines how much revenue your company can generate without you performing services. This allows you to plan for correct staffing levels, overall sales, total expenses and yes – the profitability of your company.
  2. Skill certify your entire team: Too often, owners feel that they are the only ones who can provide the best technical services. In turn, they avoid fully training their team members on those technical skills. Is it any wonder why those same employees are sitting around with no clients? When a salon or spa team isn’t fully trained, it guarantees that the owner is stuck behind the chair or in the treatment room. A good skill certification program…
    • Is documented in a written manual or online file.
    • Maps out the skills that are required, and the systems that need to be followed.
    • Provides clarity on expectations, and how service providers can grow within the company.
    • Is the key to creating consistency in your salon or spa.
  1. Transition your clients: WOW, this is the tough one, right? But, as tough as it is, once your team is skill certified, it’s time to start transitioning your clients out of your column and into the hands of other now equally-skilled service providers. Some key points to make this transition as smooth as possible:
    • Create scripts and role play with your team.
    • Be ready to coach your team and the customer through the process.
    • REMEMBER: For every hour you get away from doing services, you have an hour to invest in growing your company.
  1. Evaluate your compensation plan: Does your compensation plan foster an environment of employee career growth, team work, and the creation of a profitable business? Many owners have payroll costs that hover around 50% + of total revenue. When you factor in all your expenses like payroll taxes, insurances, rent, utilities, etc., what’s left? Is there enough left for you to stop doing services? At Strategies, we always stress the importance keeping your payroll at a level that pays employees what they rightly deserve, but also ensures the company as sustainable profit dropping to the bottom line. When payroll expenses start exceeding 35% of your TOTAL SALES, it’s usually a red flag that it’s time to start exploring compensation programs that make more sense for your financial future.

Here’s my challenge to you: If you love performing cuts, color or spa services, PLEASE continue to practice your craft. Never stop.

Realize, however, that your company needs you to be the LEADER. That cannot be done spending 40+ hours behind the chair or in the treatment room.

Determine how many hours you can step away from doing services, and then invest those precious hours into growing and building your dream company.

Let me know how you do.

Categories: Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up

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