The Secret to Salon/Spa Success Hasn’t Changed

May 8, 2017 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

I’ve been training and coaching salon/spa owners since the mid 1970’s. I’ve coached wildly successful businesses and I’ve coached more than my share of owners out of the fiery pits of hell.

Sadly, I’ve coached salons/spas that just couldn’t figure success out and closed their doors.

In almost every case, no matter how accurately I pointed them toward daylight, they would find a way to sabotage their own recovery.

Through it all, I’ve acquired a keen perspective of the thinking and behaviors that drive success … and those that lead to business nightmares.

There are no shortcuts to success.

There are no quick fixes.

Just the other day, a former coaching client called me seeking guidance. Her business has been struggling for a long time. She was at the point of making that really tough decision … close it or fight.

She decided to fight. However, the decision to fight, as admirable as it sounds, is very different from actually fighting to save a business.

I asked if she had a completed Cash-Flow Plan. Her voice sounded like I just caught her not doing her homework. She did not have a Cash-Flow Plan. It’s hard to fight the cash-flow battle without a cash-flow battle plan.

We then discussed a challenge with a key employee who, a few days earlier, intentionally deleted her last scheduled client so she could leave early. The owner had no choice but to service this client.

This led us into a “leadership” discussion and how to address this employee challenge. I could tell the owner was extremely uncomfortable with the potentially confrontational conversation she needed to have with the employee.

I told the owner to consider the following: Fighting to save your business means…

  • Doing the tough work of leadership.
  • Getting control over cash flow by creating, and living, a Cash-Flow Plan.
  • Stop being a doormat that employees walk over.
  • Begins with respecting yourself, your investment, your employees and the salon’s clients.

I know the owner will be reading this MMWU. I hope reading the words I spoke to her on the phone bring out the fight in her that I believe she has.

So what is the SECRET to success that hasn’t changed?

The eternal SECRET to salon/spa success is as follows:

  1. Your ability to share your PASSION: I love and believe in the work I do. I willingly fight for what I believe in. Always have. But I can’t build and sustain a company myself. The people I surround myself with believe in what we do at Strategies just as much as I do. In fact, my team’s passion and energy lifts me up when my passion needs a boost. Share your passion so your success is much more about “WE” than it is about “me.”
  2. Your ability to FINISH what you start: If you can’t get the things you start across the finish line, than that becomes part of who you are as a leader. When a team’s response to a new initiative is, “We tried that before and it didn’t work,” they’re defeated before the starting gun goes off. Businesses struggle and fail due to big starts and weak finishes … or not finishing at all. Businesses succeed because they find a way to adapt and win.
  3. Your ability to create STRUCTURE: If there is one success element that many owners (and too many salon/spa employees) push back on, it’s the need for business and operational structure. Think of structure as the “this is how we create quality and consistency in everything we do” framework of a business. Structure consists of rules, procedures and standards. The less structure a salon/spa has, the more “country club” the culture and the more inconsistent the delivery of technical and service experiences. Success is built on creating and embracing structure, not avoiding it.
  4. Your ability to create DISCIPLINE: Structure is pointless without the discipline to put it to work. You can have the best diet or fitness program ever devised, but without discipline to follow the program, nothing will change. That’s why some salons and spas have little issue with tardiness and absenteeism while others are plagued by it. That’s why all those “Employee Policy and Procedure Manuals” are worthless without discipline. Creating discipline is about coaching the thinking and behaviors that support your structure. It’s about not accepting mediocrity.
  5. Your ability to SHARE success: Employees thrive in cultures where they are appreciated and experience a sense of shared ownership in the success of the business. That’s why giving someone stock in a company doesn’t instantly make them think and act like an owner. Sharing success is what Team-Based Cultures are all about. That’s why some service providers rally behind a salon/spa scoreboard and fight together to hit goal, while in many salons/spas they could care less about the company goal. Business success is about “WE” success.
  6. Your ability to LEAD: Yes, it feels great to celebrate wins. But your ability to lead your team to your vision means leading through the tough stuff. It means tackling problems before they evolve into a crisis. It means protecting your culture and weeding out what doesn’t belong or no longer fits. It means sticking to the budget and cutting unnecessary expenses. It means being the voice of your company even when being that voice pushes you out of your comfort zone. If you believe enough in your dream and in yourself … you can be coached to be an effective leader.

Here’s my challenge to you: Get real about taking responsibility for your salon/spa’s success. Put all those … “it won’t work,” “they won’t like it,” “that’s not how it’s done,” “that’s outside my comfort zone” … and all the other excuses in a box and throw it in the dumpster. Stand tall and become that No-Compromise Leader your business is waiting for. Achieve your success the old fashioned way … work as hard as you can for it.

Categories: Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up

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