Why Salon & Spa Owners Should Not Fear Change

March 7, 2016 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments


Fear sucks.

Fear is debilitating.

Fear magnifies stress.

Fear kills momentum.

Fear typically leads to more bad decisions or no decision at all.

Fear, and nothing else, is the final hurdle between you and taking that first positive step toward change.

FACT: Fear of change and inaction will always lead to the very outcomes you fear most … or worse.

So what do salon/spa owners fear most about implementing change? They fear that productive service providers will quit and take their clients with them. In essence, they fear that implementing change could potentially result in a significant financial setback.

It’s the dilemma of fixing and improving something in the business, versus the ugliness of staff resistance and a potential walkout. The fear is real, and there are endless horror stories of walkouts to back it up. What a crazy business model this is…

So why is it that salons and spas are the most vulnerable to the threat of a staff walkout and the devastation that follows? There are three answers to that question:

  1. The traditional salon/spa business model is based on client loyalty to service providers first and the business a distant second. By design, the business is at a disadvantage.
  2. Owners are ill equipped to lead such a labor intensive business model. There is nothing “easy” about leading salons and spas. Hairstylists may be the most passionate, high spirited and creative people … but they also require leadership capable of harnessing and directing all that passion and spirit.
  3. Owners working behind the chair and in treatment rooms have too little time to lead. Many are stuck between the need to generate revenue with their own hands and the need to lead their businesses. Too often, this “Catch 22” creates poorly defined and unstructured cultures. When change needs to occur, the culture pushes back.
    • It’s worth noting that when non-industry individuals open or buy a salon/spa, most completely underestimate the level and depth of leadership these businesses require. I’ve seen many very smart business people and former corporate executives get their business butts kicked in this industry.

Here are some No-Compromise Leadership thoughts and strategies to help salon/spa owners navigate through the dynamics of change … rather than fear it:

  • Doing nothing is not an option: If you fear change to the extent that it paralyzes you from implementing the changes your business desperately needs, you are essentially placing your business on life support. You are giving into fear and allowing the inmates to run the asylum. Your culture will devolve. Performance will devolve. Problems will persist and get worse. And finally, your fear of change and losing staff will become reality. Staff will leave because your company offers no growth opportunities or future. “Doing nothing” is not an option.
  • Waiting too long is not an option: As a business and leadership coach, there are times when I just have to ask an owner, “How bad does it have to get before you fix it?” I totally understand the fear of what may happen when implementing change. I also understand that the bigger a problem gets, the harder it is to fix. Fear and pain go hand in hand. In business, when change occurs because the pain got unbearable … the change was long overdue. In most cases, the owner knows exactly what the solution needs to be, but fears implementation. Waiting too long is certainly an option if you have an extremely high tolerance for pain.
  • The drumbeat of change: The drumbeat of change is consistent and steady. Incremental changes lead to more significant changes. It’s like exercise and working out. The intensity of the workout stresses your muscles and they adapt. Periodically, the intensity increases to further adapt. Stop working out and your strength gain regresses. In business, when extended periods of time pass without any incremental change, even the simplest change effort can encounter staff resistance. Why? Because the business, its culture and its people got comfortable and stuck. Everything about business is dynamic and constantly evolving. Salons and spas that embrace consistent incremental change move faster and farther. They also handle the big changes without drama or hesitation.
  • Employees will leave: Guess what? Employees will come and go. Owners stay until they sell, retire, quit or die. You’ll have your long-term employees and you’ll have the constant flow of newbies.
    • Take care of your employees.
    • Create growth opportunities and career paths.
    • Create and protect a dynamic culture.
    • Show appreciation.
    • Coach, inspire and make your team stretch to achieve wins.
    • Make it fun.
    • Make it special to be part of your team.
    • Weed out the misfits, attitude problems and non-performers.
    • These points are the work of leadership. They always have been. Employees will quit. Some employees will undermine, break trust and forget the meaning of integrity. Shit happens. Get over it and move on. That’s what leaders do. And every now and then, you will need to implement a BIG change that is vital to your business. You may lose a few employees and it may hurt financially … but it will only be a temporary setback that sets the stage for even better things.
  • You have everything to lose: It’s your company. Your personal guarantee is on the lease, the bank loan and more. Chances are, your home and the security of your family are on the line. If you allow fear to get in your way, you jeopardize losing everything. Keep that in mind the next time you see fear building roadblocks in your way. The only way to beat fear is to take action – to lead and be the No-Compromise Leader that you are capable of being.

Here’s my challenge to you: Pick the ONE BIG THING in your salon or spa that absolutely needs to change in order for your company to start moving in the right direction. Now, what can you start doing RIGHT NOW so that 30 days from now you can look back and see forward progress?

Need some inspiration? Consider attending one of Strategies upcoming seminars. Want me and my team to help you implement and execute these changes faster? Click here to find the Strategies Membership Program that’s right for you.

Strategies Incubator Seminar - October 16-19, 2016


Categories: Business Builders , Leadership , Monday Morning Wake-Up , No-Compromise Leadership

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