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The TOP TEN Reasons Salon/Spa Owners Should be Appreciated
November 17, 2019 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments
Owning an employee-based salon/spa business can certainly be a mixed bag of feelings and emotions.
The good times are great. The bad times are, well, anything but great.
The one absolute is that it takes people — skilled, service-minded people — to make a salon/spa business work.
Hands do the work. Hands create service sales. Those hands are attached to employees. And leading employees is, without question, the toughest part of being an owner.
Salons and spas thrive or die based on the performance and productivity of their employees. That performance and productivity is the owner’s prime responsibility.
It is in the execution of this responsibility where employees see owners focused on what they could have done better, or, what they didn’t do.
So in their effort to grow the company and provide the best for their employees, owners often feel a lack of appreciation for all they do.
So, if you’ve been feeling unappreciated for all you do, here are my TOP TEN reasons why owners should feel extremely appreciated by employees:
- You took, and continue to take, all the risk: You were bold, and perhaps crazy enough, to start or buy a salon/spa. It is your personal guarantee on the premises lease, bank loan and equipment leases. You believed in yourself and your vision, and you brought it to life. If the business fails, you have the privilege of losing everything, including your home, and bear the burden of paying off debt. It is because of all this and more that you are able to provide jobs and a great place to work.
- You have high performance expectations: You didn’t start a business to be mediocre. Your vision is to be the best. To be the best, your business requires structure, rules, standards of performance, a strong work ethic, a dynamic culture built on trust and fairness, and so much more. Performance is measured in behavior and numbers like client retention, productivity rate, prebook rate, visits per year, and retail recommendations/sales. This is why it’s easy for employees to misinterpret your drive to improve “the numbers” as being “all about the numbers.” What you’re actually doing is fulfilling your responsibility as an owner to coach/inspire/motivate employees to achieve their full potential, so your company can achieve its full potential. Damn right there are goals and critical numbers expectations.
- You invest in education: Your company cannot deliver superior salon/spa services and value without investing in skill development (technical and customer service). What many employees fail to realize is the high cost of education. When education is mandatory, employees must be paid an hourly rate. When employees are training, they’re not generating service revenue. The educator must be paid. If education is offsite, there is the cost of the training, payroll (if mandatory), and lost service revenue. And then there’s the risk that an employee may not be a good fit, and take advantage of education and leave, before any return is realized. Providing continuing education in your salon/spa is a non-negotiable for quality assurance and brand building. For employees, it is a privilege and a major benefit of employment.
- You keep the shelves stocked with products: This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s far from it. FACT: Professional products are expensive. They don’t magically appear on the shelves. Hair color is seriously expensive. Most manufacturers and distributors want products paid in full when ordered. Waste drives up the cost of doing business. Most employees would be shocked if you posted the total value of the professional product inventory sitting on your shelves. Product cost is the first hard lesson that independents learn.
- You care about their success as much as your own: I’ve never met an owner whose intent is to suck every bit of performance out of a service provider so he or she can take all the money. Owners want their employees to succeed because that’s the only way their companies can succeed. Yes, owners can and will be demoralized by bad employee experiences, but they always continue to keep the success of their employees in direct proportion to the success of their companies. To truly succeed, both the employee and the company must have opportunities for growth.
- You take financial responsibility: A salon/spa cannot succeed without cash-flow management. For most owners, financial literacy and responsibility is a learned skill. It’s the owner that pays the bills, rent, insurance, loans, products, taxes and more. It is the owner’s responsibility to meet payroll, ensure profit, build cash reserves and to reinvest in the company. None of this happens by accident. The financial responsibilities of the owner bring a level of stress that few employees appreciate, that is until they become owners themselves. The one big lesson every owner eventually learns is that the owner’s paycheck may have to be sacrificed so employees can get theirs.
- You provide guest services and support staff: The best strategy to drive productivity and efficiency, is to provide all the support staff necessary so service providers can focus on delivering great work and customer service. Floor managers, assistants, guest services staff, housekeepers, call centers and retail specialists exist to keep the flow of business flowing smoothly. It keeps the appointment book strategically full and optimized. And the better owners orchestrate all of these moving parts, the higher the level of teamwork — the better the growth opportunities are for all.
- You invest in technology: These days, technology is a big deal and a big investment. Software runs daily operations. Appointments books stay full because technology measures retention rates, prebook rates, productivity rates and more. Today, online booking and gift card purchasing is a client expectation. Just like Apple Stores eliminated checkout desks, cloud-based software, smart phones and tablets are challenging the viability of the traditional front desk. Cloud-based applications confirm appointments, do email campaigns, market white space on the appointment book, monitor social media reviews and more. To be a market leader, investing in technology is non-negotiable.
- You market and build the brand: Digital marketing and social media is a complex maze that changes daily. Yes, someone with a smart phone can create personal buzz on Instagram, but filling a salon/spa’s entire appointment book requires extensive knowledge, time and investment. There’s something powerful and dynamic in a salon/spa that consistently generates 75 to 150 or more first-time clients a month. There’s also one hell of a growth opportunity for employees of that salon/spa whose most important responsibility is to convert those first-time clients into retained clients.
- You earn the right to have a bad day: I’m not suggesting that it’s okay for owners to come to work in a pissed-off mood that gets all over everyone. What I’m saying is that the stress of ownership can be a massive weight on an owner’s shoulders. Tight cash flow, employee challenges, client complaints, broken washers/dryers/HVAC units/hot water heaters and more can ruin anyone’s day. Some owners carry the stress well. Others not so well. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to ask for a little understanding. If you created a teamwork culture, you will be supported.
Here’s my challenge to you: First, DO NOT print this blog post out, pass it out to all of your employees, and say, “Here are ten reasons you should appreciate me.” That’s going to blow up in your face.
Each of these ten reasons, and there are many more, must be earned through your leadership abilities.
Any owner that expects employees to appreciate all that they do is simply setting themselves up for disappointment. More importantly, this instantly puts both owner and employee in an adversarial relationship that will rapidly deteriorate.
I wrote these ten reasons as a reminder to owners of their leadership responsibilities and how elevating your level of leadership engagement can create employee appreciation in return.