No, it won’t run itself

You hear the chatter, you hear the laughter, you hear the hum of the blow dryer, you smell the aroma of fresh coffee brewing mixed with the scent of hairspray, you are at the Salon. The place where we come to renew ourselves, treat ourselves to some “me time”, to share our woes and our celebrations. Yes, the Salon is a wonderful place to be. Not only can it change a person’s hairstyle or color, it can change their perspective, even change their life.        It is a great business to be a part of. Yes, a business – from time to time, something that Salon managers/owners forget.

I deal with over ten reps. from different distributor’s and each time I see them we always end up having the same conversation…Salon manager/owners;

1)  not ordering retail product.

2) no rhyme or reason to staff attire/behaviour.

3) not having their orders prepared.

Always to be followed up with the same complaints from the Salon manager/owner’s – business is slow, they have “no idea” about how to make their staff behave, and have no idea what they need for the Salon.

Ladies and gents, I know beauty is fun and exciting and you always dreamed of owning a Salon and changing people’s lives. Guess what? It is also a business and it takes work, and effort, and time, and attention. When taken care of and done properly, it can  be awesome and not even feel like work. When not taken care of and everything put on the back burner, it’s gonna feel like you are on the chain gang. If your Salon is struggling and your staff isn’t performing up to par, as a Salon manager/owner, well, it’s your fault. Yeah, I said it. I am a manager of a Salon/shop and when something isn’t going right, I look at what I am doing first. (…not my favorite thing to do, admit a wrong…but this is what I signed up for). I lead by example,I am fair, but firm. I do not ask anything of my staff I would not do myself, from sweeping the floor to washing a baseboard = fair. If you show up late for a shift, you are getting a verbal warning = firm. Hey – as managers/owners this is what we signed up for. As managers/owners, we cannot be the “friend”. Yes, we can be friendly, yes a friendship may bloom after years of working together, but at the end of the day, we are the manager/owner, not the friend. If  you want to be the “friend”, you may want to rethink your position.

Salons, as all businesses, need structure, process, leadership. Your staff needs to know the ground rules, where the line in the sand is drawn,so that they aren’t always wondering what is going to happen next. They need to know that their manager/owner is taking care of the orders so they know if there will be enough color for their clients this weekend. When a Salon has structure it will blossom, because your staff only has one thing to think of, their client in their chair and the customer walking through the door.

– Staff meetings are a must, for salons with two or ten stylists. A meeting people – not a gossip fest about the newest juiciest news about your last client or a whine fest about someone not washing the towels enough.

– A staff manual is always an awesome idea. Oh calm down…It doesn’t have to be a novel. A few pages outlining the salon’s procedures for client care, the cash register, reception, pre-booking, retail sales & commissions, opening/closing procedures and dress code. Make two copies, one for the employee and one for their file. Have the employee sign both copies, for two reasons;

1) an understanding of what is expected of them and of the Salon

2) by chance, for example, the dress code is not being followed, you can show them that you know they know what is expected of the dress code…since they read and signed it. (if it happens again, now you know you have a problem). * As the manager/owner – we MUST follow dress code, at all times. Lead by example.

As managers/owners, we MUST know our inventory. We need to know how much stock we need, from color to gloves to coffee for the clients to disinfectant for the tools. There are many awesome Salon management programs out there. At our shop we use SAM by Milano and it is awesome, especially for retail. All you need is your clients name and number ( and you already have that) and this gem tracks all their purchases. An AWESOME tool for retail – in case of package changes or you can’t remember the last hairspray they bought, it’s there in their file.

You have to do the work. You need to be present and professional. A Salon will not run itself but with the right procedures in place, respect for your staff and clientele, it will begin to feel like it.

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