I get asked all the time by salon and beauty spa owners how they can make their team more accountable. It’s totally understandable because it’s not something we’re taught in the normal career and business journey. It’s a leadership skill rather than a skill that’s innate in our craft as a beautician, hairdresser or therapist.
While I’d love to say there is one secret you need to know to master this, I’d be lying to do so. It’s the small things, lots of small things that you need to take on board. What I can say with absolute confidence though, is that if you do master the art of leading your team, then your chances of business success will increase dramatically.
The problem is exacerbated if you are still ‘hands on’ in the business doing client facing work. The temptation to take on the workload will be especially high if you are your own star performer and others on the team can’t match you in terms of output. They may not be as fast as you. Or as consistent with their standard of work.
That’s a problem you can only fix by stepping back and elevating your team. Until you put more focus on the team than the tools, the problem will continue.
So here are 4 of my key tips to help you down that path. You can read them below, or listen to them on the Beauty Think Tank podcast, or, because you are one of the smart ones, you can of course do both :-).
1 – Make Expectations Known. Make Expectations Visible
To make someone accountable for something they first have to know what that something is, what the impact will be on them to get it done, and how they can actually do what’s required.
If you want them to achieve targets – financial, sales, client numbers, client rebookings…, these need to be made visible. Not buried in a report that they have to extract from a software system but visible and up front where they can’t be avoided. Front of eyes is front of mind after all. Document the expectations and put them on display.
While you are at it, make the values and standards of the business visible also. After all, these represent expectations also. They determine the expected behaviours of all the team members.
It’s one thing to bury these in the business procedures manual (you do have a procedures manual don’t you?) where they only get looked at when someone starts with you but it’s another to have them on display as a constant reminder. Not just a reminder but also a source of pride to know that they are part of something important.
2 – Create A Communication Rhythm With Your Team
Meetings can be a drag but not having meetings is an even bigger drag, on the whole business. A regular pattern of meetings, with the whole team and members individually, is essential. If you don’t have them, the business will just settle into a rhythm of its own – a slowly descending spiral towards mediocrity, instead of an upward climb towards excellence.
If you don’t have one already, set up a team calendar that everyone can see and have access to. Use this to mark holidays and events and to mark quite clearly when your regular meetings are. It’s ok to shift one or two meetings from time to time but the rhythm itself is essential.
Key point here is that we’re not talking about long drawn out meetings. A ten minute catch up with a clear agenda of no more than three items to clear roadblocks and raise standards is fine. What are we stuck on and what can we do better? Simple as…
Make sure people walk away with any action items they are accountable for. Not a massive list (unless it’s a specific project), just a few key things that have clearly defined outcomes and timeframes.
Whether it’s a team meeting or a one-on-one meeting the rules are the same.
Performance reviews and personal development catchups are the exception as far as timing goes (more on this in the next point). These should still be regular but they should not be rushed. They should also not be stretched out.
I say again, regular meetings do not have to be a drag. Follow the tips above and you’ll find that you actually enjoy them…
3 – Ensure Everyone Has A Personal Development Plan
Everybody likes to ‘do better’, no matter how laid back they might seem about these things. The more you support your team to do better, the better they will become.
A personal development plan does take effort but the rewards always exceed the effort dramatically.
Keep the plan to 4 key areas:
- Values. The values of the business don’t have to replicate the values of the team member but they should at least align in some way or have some relationship to each other. Work together to see this is reflected in the plan and give them the basis to make their work with you purposeful. Without that you’ve just got a warm body turning up to collect a pay cheque each week. Not ideal, even if they are meeting their targets.
- Behaviours. These are values in action and should reflect the standards that have been agreed to by all.
- Contribution. What does the role of the team member require them to do and what are the measurables (targets) that determine if it’s being done effectively or not?
- Development opportunities. Agreements on what skills are to be developed and how.
Review the plan with your team member quarterly at least but monthly is more ideal.
Focus on targets and finding out if the team member needs support with theirs. If they aren’t reaching them ask them why they think that might be. Set the tone of a check-in rather than an interrogation.
And if they are exceeding targets, have them contribute to setting higher and more challenging targets. Each new level of achievement becomes a benchmark to establish what the next level will look like.
And if there isn’t a pattern of continuous improvement, then that tells you if there is a deeper problem you need to look at. It may mean engaging a coach for you and/or your team member to reverse this (let me know if you need help with that).
Remember it’s a development plan and not a management plan. Management plans are tiresome and don’t yield great results.
4 – Have Adult To Adult Conversations With Your Team
If the relationship with your team members is akin to a parent child relationship, you’ll just create a culture of co-dependency, with you playing the part of the nagger and the team member playing the role of the under performer who constantly needs to be told what to do (and who doesn’t do it). No one wins in this scenario.
Adult to adult conversations are constructive. They yield really positive outcomes and everyone will enjoy the situation a whole lot more. You need to set the tone as a leader and put time and energy into thinking about the conversations that you have.Think about the outcomes you want for your team members, and then lead them.
And if you don’t quite know how to do that, get some support so that you can put yourself into a really effective leadership opportunity (you know where to find me if you need help with that :-).
The Only Way Is Up
Once you start to lead your team and make them accountable for the role that they’re there to do, you will actually enjoy the business a whole lot more and the financial rewards will absolutely come. I can promise you that 100%.
You will also enjoy higher retention rates among your staff. Nothing kills the morale of the team faster than high staff turnover.
But it’s not just staff retention that will go up. Client retention will go up with it. Clients love consistency and if the same quality team is delivering the same quality work each time, they will keep coming back, sometimes with friends and loved ones in tow.
This type of leadership can’t be done if your stuck on the face to face client work though. Put at least an hour a week aside and really think about what you’ve got planned for your team this week. What do you really want them to achieve? How are you going to step up and lead them this week? And really start to put some critical thinking behind the actions that you take as a leader with your team.
Onwards and upwards!
Money and cash flow are the biggest causes of stress, frustration and lost sleep for salon and spa owners.
Given how essential cash is, both for the business and personally for the owner, it’s critical to get a handle on it.
Here are three of my high-level tips for getting a handle on the money situation for your business. You can read them below or you can hear me talk about them on the Beauty Think Tank podcast (or you can do both to really drive the message home).
Follow these steps and I guarantee you’ll swap stress for comfort, frustration for control, and sleepless nights for sweet dreams. And who wouldn’t want more of that?
1 – Know Your Numbers
Knowing your numbers is about more than just knowing how much you need to cover the next payroll or rent payment. It’s about knowing how the numbers fit together and how to ‘read’ them so they make sense (and give you the comfort you are looking for).
Make the Profit and Loss your new best friend
Start by getting to know your Profit and Loss Statement (P&L). The P&L does exactly what it says on the box. It tells you if you are making a profit or a loss.
Don’t just wait for the year end when you get your accountant to do a P&L for the tax department. Get it done by a bookkeeper every month so you’ve got a handle on just how well the business is performing.
It may feel icky at first but once you get into the swing of it, you will see how powerful and important your P&L is, especially when you start plugging the leaks in the business and seeing more cash in your pocket.
Here are the three things to focus on with the P&L:
- Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). This is basically what it costs you directly to make your revenue. This includes products costs for treatments and retail products that sit on your shelf for sale. It is really important to measure this because if it is high it might mean your treatment pricing needs tweaking or a good stocktake procedure needs to be implemented to better manage your purchasing cycle.
- Payroll. This cost can make or break your business. If it’s more than 50% of your turnover you have a problem. It either means you are not charging enough, you are paying therapists too much, you have too many staff on payroll or not enough clients. You need to do what it takes to get that number down around the 35% mark.
- Expenses. Rent, laundry, insurance, equipment leases, cleaning… basically any other cost that the business incurs. Your P&L helps you bring all these costs into focus so you are better able to manage them. It’s super important to do that otherwise profits that could be yours end up being someone else’s – like the Tax Man!
Make the Business or Trading Summary your second best friend
The next report to look at is your trading summary or business summary. That’s the report you pull from your point of sale system to show client activity and daily performance of the business.
How many clients are coming through the door each week? How much are they spending with you on average? How often are they coming back? These represent the ‘volume’, ‘average spend’ and ‘frequency’ for the business – the 3 most important growth levers for any salon business.
Tweaking any of these numbers can make a big difference to your bottom line but unless you know what they are, you will probably go for the default position of trying to get more clients to get more cash in the door. In reality, that ranks about third in terms of where your efforts should go. It’s much more expensive to get new clients than generating more business with existing clients.
With your trading summary you can play around to see what the impact might be of having clients spend an additional 20% per visit, or to come back every 4 weeks instead of every 6 weeks for example. Knowing the impact and your preferred outcome you can get creative and work out a smart promotion to make those things happen.
It takes a bit of work to find and track these numbers but I can promise you it will be the best investment of your time in the business. In fact don’t just know your numbers, learn to love them and they’ll love you right back!
2 – Make Your Cash Count
Are all of your treatment options profitable?
Here’s the thing. I see a lot of clients work hard to get more clients through the door. They make more sales, increase turnover and are generally pleased with themselves until they see there’s nothing left in the bank at the end of the month.
That’s a red flag telling you that you are selling services that aren’t profitable. And if you are offering discounts or bundles on these services to get more clients, you’re going backwards fast.
Knowing the numbers that you looked at in step one above gives you an indicator of the overall business position but you need to drill it down and look at the business on a service level basis. You may be making a profit on one service but a loss on another service will cancel that out and leave you scratching your head at the end of the month.
In this situation, you may actually be better to offer fewer services and reduce your turnover, in order to make a bigger profit. How about that huh?
Go through every service and be ruthless about what it’s really costing you.
And make sure you factor in the overall business costs that you’ve identified in the P&L. Each service you provide has to make a fair contribution to those costs, otherwise they will come out of your pocket.
Make. Your. Cash. Count.
3 – Take Time Out For Critical Thinking
No, I don’t mean take time out to pass judgement on the Kardashian’s choice of wardrobe.
I mean take time out to review your business critically.
One hour. Each week. No distractions.
Ask yourself questions that spur your thinking around the business.
Where is the cash coming from in the business? How are we talking to our clients? How can we make them want to come back more often? How can we make them talk about us to their friends? What can we do to add more value to their experience?
How can I develop my team so they are less reliant on me? How can I support my team to increase their sales confidence and conversion rates?
Don’t use this time to ‘worry’ about the business or to criticise yourself for what you ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing and definitely don’t use it to create a “TO DO” list that ends up being pages long and really overwhelming. This is a creative exercise so approach it with an open mind, no judgement and no expectations. Use it to explore the operational changes you could make to move the business forward. It might be as simple as just improving a system or process that is already in place but not working that great. I watch business owners give so much of their time to their clients, to the team, training on services and products but never much time on really looking at their business – I guarantee if you do this consistently every week, you will be amazed at the results that show up in the bottom line of your business.
It’s Good For Business
There you have it. My three high level tips to get you talking about and thinking about money in ways that make you feel good rather than feeling stressed and overwhelmed. It’s time for you to take control of the money situation rather than have the money situation control you.
PS – If you’re really serious about your business you might like to come along to one of our upcoming Beauty Think Tank Business Accelerator Workshops. One day of total focus on what you can do to really move the wheels in your business. We’d love to see you there.
Growing your business may require taking a step back… way back, and even looking at it through different lenses.
You’ve heard the saying, work on your business not in it, but what does that actually mean? What is the difference between on versus in your business?
While employees work in the business completing certain tasks and duties are set for them. The “boss” sets their own tasks. These self-appointed tasks vary, and often derive from visible and immediate priorities or spot fires. In fact, the owner of the company is usually so good at managing spot fires that often their team will approach them with a problem that needs addressing immediately.
While this may seem logical – bosses know everything about their business and most likely have years more life experience than their employees. The reality is, the business owner is often responsible for encouraging employee behaviour that teaches the team to bring urgent issues to them (as and when they happen). This in turn removes the responsibility away from the employees and puts the accountability back with the business owner.
While this management and business style may work – there are customers walking through the door, orders being made, appointments being re-booked and the team know what to do on a day-to-day basis… so why ‘fix’ something that isn’t broken?
This is a very micro approach. Where is the macro view of your business?
- How are you leveraging what you’re currently doing?
- What is the long-term plan for the business (12 months, 5 years, 10 years)?
- How are you developing your team to be more accountable and drive the business further?
- How are you responding to new technologies and developing processes within the business to keep ahead of industry trends and competitors?
Let’s change this from the owner working on their business. First they wouldn’t be there till all hours, they may not even be a need to come into the business every day. The owner would have a strong team who know how to put out the spot fires and instead, the owner would be making contacts within the community and connecting with other like-minded business people. The “boss” would now have reflective time, to think of new directions and new innovative ways to move the business forward, rather than being bogged down in the day-to-day.