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Small Salon Success – Tips and Tricks

If you were to take a look at your salon structure how do you see it? Are you at the top of the triangle? Is it your much beloved clients? Or are your staff members perched high? A lot of Salons run via different structures and can be successful under any type of management. However one thing a lot of unsuccessful salons have in common is bad therapists and staff. Therapists and staff who have poor work ethic, therapists who take advantage of your good intentions, Therapists who are just not up to industries standards in procedures and treatments. So how do we fix it? Do we need to fix it or do we just fire and hire (so to speak) until we find the right staff for our salon? The answer is a little more complicated than a straight forward YES or NO answer.

Staff and therapists are the back bone to our salons. Without them the salon is inoperable. The staffing team you have create your profits and earnings so if you have a sloppy team of members behind you – sloppy outcomes will follow. It’s that simple. So take a step back for a minute. Let us break this down.

Have you noticed a decrease in your return clientele? How about Staff enthusiasm? Have the salons treatment standards been slowly slipping? Are you finding you’re more involved and your work load has increased as an owner? How about complaints and mistakes – are more being made? If you answered yes to any of these then unfortunately you have a sloppy team running your much loved salon.

TRAINING Staff can become very bored and stagnant within our industry. I’m sure you’ve been there, I know I have! So how do we create a new found enthusiasm and love for the job they are doing? How about sending them for some training? I know training can be expensive but it’s reimbursable! So why aren’t you doing it? It gets them out of the salon for a few hours or a couple of days. They get to meet people from other salons and walks of life who they can network with, giving them great ideas and an insight into popular and upcoming treatments for your salon. They learn in-depth knowledge about the products and procedures they are currently using or wishing to use.

Refreshing and updating their knowledge on the treatments and products you provide is necessary. If they have something new to share with you and the clients about their recent training the clients will become more intrigued, interested and entrusting in what your therapist has to say. The team you are developing will then have a firm understanding regarding what your salon is recommending to their clients. This will create sales and return clientele who are willing to spend money on things that are going to be correctly recommended for them. You could also find out from your therapists what they love to do treatment wise. Why not make them a specialist in that field? It’s something they love and have a natural drive for. You can send them to training for their specific skills and create a unique therapist who is one of the best in your location at their skill. People will come far and wide to your salon to see your therapist because that therapist loves what they are doing and they are GOOD at it.

INCENTIVES So now your therapists have had their training how do we enforce them to use it positively to create profit? Do you offer incentives? If not then it is definitely something you should consider. I’m sure you have heard of the famous Sir Richard Branson and his view on creating great staff “If you look after your staff, they will look after you!” Now the man isn’t a multimillionaire for no reason! And I think he is on to something. If you can create reasonable and achievable incentives for your staff and you actually come through with the rewards (don’t promise anything you can’t give) you will find your staff will work harder to reach those goals as there is a reward at the end. If you don’t offer commissions or incentives right now just start small i.e. if you sell a pack of 10 eyebrow wax and tints you will receive a $20.00 bonus in your pay packet for each pack sold. Once this becomes a regular sale for your therapists you can up the ante! How about if they make a total monthly product sale amount of $3,000 (each) they either receive a commission of 10% (extra $300.00) or a gift to similar value. You then just up the ante gradually as needed. If they make $5,000 product sales that month a higher reward can be given. This method of a reward system creates a more enthused therapist who will work harder because a reward is guaranteed for their hard work and labor. DO NOT under any circumstance promise something you cannot come through with. This will create resentment and a divide among therapists towards you. Do not promise something unattainable like a holiday or trips away. Start small. See how the incentives are received within your salon. Give them something to work towards and you will reap the benefits.

PROGRESS REPORTS A lot of owners avoid staff meetings and progress reports with their therapists because they fear confrontation. If this is the case you need to step up! You are the boss! Your salon is riding on the back of your team. If they don’t know what is going on, what they may have done wrong or what targets are not being met or received how are they meant to improve and improve your business? Constructive criticism is just that – constructive! You’re not there to be mean or nasty or scare your team into working for you. You are there to guide them. When they do something wrong or not up to the required salon standards something needs to be said. How do I be constructive without hurting their feelings? I hear you ask? EASY! Just always start with the negative but end on a positive. eg. Owner - Cathy I’ve noticed you’ve been taking too long with your clients and you’ve been running behind a lot lately. Is there any reason for why that’s happening? Cathy – I’ve just been feeling rushed and I’m not completing my treatments to the right standards in the time frames that have been given. Owner – Yes I have become aware that you have been falling behind. The treatments you have been providing have been of excellent quality however. If you are feeling rushed within your time frame how about we lengthen your appointments by 15mins for the next couple of weeks. That way you can practice being efficient with your treatments and work towards completing them within the set time frame. At the end of the couple of weeks if no improvements have been made we may need to think of retraining you. Cathy – That would be excellent! I just need a little more time to improve. Owner – Of course. We will have another meeting at the end of the weeks given and go from there. See how the owner told Cathy what was wrong but was willing to help her improve? She also mentioned a positive quality. Never make your staff feel like you’re angry with them or going to fire them. Be constructive. If they don’t understand why you want these improvements implemented explain it. Explain why if they don’t improve in whatever situation they are in, how it could be detrimental to your business, other therapists and clients. Don’t be afraid to let them see it from your point of view. For example with Cathy and the owner – If Cathy does not improve and has to continue to take extra time to do clients she will be seeing less clients then her fellow therapists. This means less potential profits and less return clientele to the salon. Also if she is lacking in self-confidence clients will not wish to see her as she will seem unconfident in her ability. So if Cathy does not improve, is she worth while keeping around for your business? She isn’t making you any extra money and you have put her through extra training with little to no results. She isn’t representing your salon and its abilities – she isn’t demonstrating what your salon is about. So the owner needs to sit down with Cathy at the end of her weeks given for improvement and explain these things to her.

If she doesn’t bring in the money there isn’t the available money to keep her employed. Cathy then becomes aware of how she is effecting your business. She is aware that you have been trying to help her, She is also aware that her job could be in jeopardy if improvements aren’t made immediately. Cathy is conscious too that it is not your wish as the owner to fire her but must think of how Cathy’s potential incompetence could affect your business long term. Weekly 30min staff meetings should be a MUST in all salons. You can see what your therapists have been up to and your therapists have a chance to tell you what has been going on in your business. Personal progress reports should be done quarterly so your staff are aware of how they are travelling along in your business and lets you give them the feedback they need about their personal effects on your business whether positive or not. Make sure to always relay positive feedback to your therapists so they are constantly encouraged, optimistic and engaged in there work.

I know these seem like simple ideas. But common sense isn’t so common anymore! Sometimes you don’t notice your business is slipping as it happens so slowly in front of you. All of a sudden you’re left with a failing business, bad reputation and sloppy staff. These a few pointers on one tiny part of being a business owner to guarantee happy staff who are willing to apply themselves 100% to help you run your business at its most profitable potential. Just always remember your staff are the backbone of your business – You treat them right, they will perform magic for you!

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