If you’re ready to step up and take the helm of your own salon, there are a few things you need to know first. Running a salon rarely plays out as you might expect. If you want to make your first few months a success and get everything in order as fast as possible, these are the steps you will need to take.
You can’t run a successful salon without first having an understanding of who the customers are. Start by looking back through the books to find out what kind of services are most popular with your clientele. Next, review any feedback processes to find out what people think of your salon.
Often, complaints will be far more revealing than any positive salon feedback. Look at the nature of the complaints and if they often raise similar issues. Are people complaining about the people, products or service? Also, look at how complaints have been handled in the past.
One of the first steps as a new salon manager should be to put your own process in place for dealing with complaints. All complaints should be raised to management level and then there should be a standard practice for dealing with them.
Take the time to get to know each member of staff on a personal level. Find out where they trained, what they hope to do in the future and how you can help them to achieve these goals. Walking into a new management role and immediately calling the shots without taking the time to get to know the people on the front line of the business is a guaranteed way to lose their trust.
If you identify any gaps in training, make a note of these so that you can devise a plan to bring everyone up to the same level. You could either hold in house training or send your staff out for external training.
If your salon rents chairs instead of hiring its own employees, you won’t be responsible for training. However, you will still need to have a strong working relationship with these people. Make the effort to get to know them and learn more about how they operate their business.
While you might have walked into a fully staffed company, you still need to think about recruitment. People are the life force of a salon business so you need to think about how you will retain your current staff and attract future staff.
You should have systems in place to accept and review CVs, even when you aren’t actively recruiting. This means that if someone hands in their notice, you’ll already have a stack of CVs from people who want to work with you.
You will also need to think about how to market your salon to prospective employees. Recruitment is very much a two way street and you may need to do a little bit of selling to convince the best talent to work for you.
Without strict budgets and business targets, your salon business will struggle to thrive. Delve into the financial side of the business and make sure that you understand how cash flow works. This means that you should know how much money is coming into the business and how much is going out.
Understanding cash flow can help you to identify opportunities to save money and increase your profits. It can also help you to spot areas of your business that aren’t performing well. For example, if you rarely book appointments on a Tuesday morning but it is costing you a lot of money keeping the salon staffed week after week, you could consider changing your opening hours to suit demand.
Remember that salon work is often cyclical, so don’t get too downhearted comparing month-on-month revenue. Instead, look at performance over the whole year and compare it to the year before to help identify if your business is booming or shrinking.
Where do you want your salon to be in six months? A year? In five years? Having a vision for your salon is essential if you want to succeed. Dream big and decide how you want to grow the salon.
Remember that your goals should always be SMART. This means they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. You can’t just say that you want to increase revenue. How much do you want to increase it by? Is this realistic? And when do you hope to achieve it by?
Make sure that your vision for the salon is in line with the public perception of the salon and staff perception of the salon. You will need your team’s support if you are to be able to bring your vision to life.
Processes are essential to a successful salon. Processes allow you to free up time in the back office and bring you out onto the salon floor. If you aren’t already using salon software, you should think about installing a system and teaching your whole team how to make the most of it.
Salon software can help with things like automated appointment reminders to help reduce no-shows and drive repeat business. It can also help keep your staff up to date with rota changes and ensure that you never have too many (or too few) staff working a particular shift.
Processes can also help with things like dealing with complaints. Complaints can strike at the heart of a salon as everyone involved will take it very personally. This can lead to flared tempers and upset. By making it a process which simply needs to be managed, you can diffuse any situation and empower your staff to take criticism as something positive.
You might feel like you need to hit the ground running in your new role, but make sure you take the time to slow down and observe. Watch how things run from the perspective of your workers and from the perspective of your customers. Think about the following:
This information will help to feed into your wider understanding of how the salon operates and help you to shape your plans.
You should now have a clear understanding of how everything operates. Now is the time to put together your initial 90-day plan. A 90-day plan is ideal because it isn’t enough time to implement any drastic changes, but it is enough time to have a big impact.
Be detailed about what you want to achieve and why. You need to be able to share this plan with your team and get them on board. If the plan is framed in a negative light, you are unlikely to be able to inspire their trust. However, if you frame it in a highly positive light, you will be able to inspire your team and energise them like never before. In this way, a 90-day plan is perfect because it’s achievable.
Meeting regularly with your team to share updates and process is essential for the smooth running of a salon. In the beginning, you might want to schedule one on one meetings with your team. These will gradually evolve into team meetings where you share updates, progress and goals.
Having a strong team on your side will make the process of managing a salon far easier and more enjoyable. A flat and transparent management structure will help to ensure everyone feels like they are part of the salon. Once everyone feels empowered to make a difference, you will find that they take a much more active role in their job.
It can be tempting to go in to your new salon management role at 1000mph, but this will likely only end in burnout. Pace yourself and make sure you take the time to relax and wind down at the end of every day. You might feel like you need to work around the clock to prove yourself to your new team, but this can actually have the opposite effect.
Rather than making your team feel energised and inspired, seeing you working around the clock can make them doubt your ability. Or it can make them feel like they aren’t doing enough and demotivate them. Worse still, it can make people question your time management skills and make them wonder what you are doing with your time if you can’t stick to normal working hours.
If you’re starting a new chapter as a salon manager in 2020, make sure you keep your eyes on the Salon Iris blog. We share all of the best industry insider knowledge so you can stay one step ahead of the competition.