Monday, August 9, 2010

The More They Know! The More They Grow!

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Education is an ongoing support system that drives every part of our lives. In some areas in our life we are more open to learning and growing than others.
Embracing the power of education and growth is a personal journey for us all.

This point is important to remember when it comes to creating a training plan for your team members. As a leader, creating a powerful educational path for your team to walk down can make the difference between being successful or just average.

The importance of education can be gauged by the energy, passion and enthusiasm that is currently prevalent in your culture today. The more education you provide your team, the more confident they become, the more confident they become the effective they are, the more effective they are the better the results.

Follow these steps below to create an educational plan to raises the bar for everyone!

1. Business, Technical & Personal education. Create training in education in these three areas and rotate the focus on one each month. Developing your team from a technical standpoint is usually where we spend most of our training, however creating personal education (such as creating a budget, having more balance, how to buy a home) and business education (such as retailing techniques, consultation skills and goal setting) support you to create a well rounded salon and spa professional.

2. Get the team involved. Ask them what they feel they need to learn and create your plan for their ideas. You can also get your team to create some lessons and teach some lessons. They grow, your team grows and you save time.

3. Make it fun! Mix it up, go to different locations, use analogies from movies, sports, create power points, come up with exercises, etc. The more creative you are the more confident you will be when you teach your team.

4. Follow through. Once you teach your team, follow through. BE their biggest cheerleader! Make a big deal out of the smallest step forward that they make and acknowledge the successes when they happen. Be patient with them and remember some people get things faster than others.

Take a look at how much time you have invested into education, recreate your plan if you need to, stick to it and have fun! Your team deserves your very best and, at the end of the day, there is nothing more humbling than having a hand in the success of another person!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

5 Tips for Avoiding Hiring Mistakes

Sally was pumped! She had just finished interviewing Callie for an open service provider position within her salon and spa. Sally was so relieved to have someone actually show up when expected. Callie dressed professionally and seemed to be someone who walked her talk. There was only one time during the entire interview where the proverbial warning bell went off in Sally’s mind and she was thrown off guard. Callie had said something that was just…off, and for an instant the hair on the back of Sally’s neck stood up. Sally quickly disregarded her gut and focused on all the right things that were occurring. After all, she was better than most candidates, and it was only one tiny issue with her previous boss. Sally shrugged it off justifying that Callie probably had a good reason to foster hostility toward her previous owner. Sally just seemed to click with Callie. She was exuberant, outgoing and eager. Definitely something that Sally had been looking for in a new hire. By mid way through the interview Sally had made up her mind, brushed all negativity and warning away, and offered Callie the job. To her delight Callie immediately accepted. Sally had another client waiting so she quickly reviewed the logistics regarding her first day. Sally told Callie not to worry about paperwork they would get to that once she started. They shook hands and both were eager for Callie to start.

The scenario above is carried out on a daily basis in salons and spas all across the country. The players, position and details may change but the overall – quick to hire – mentality does not. Hiring processes seem to be something that is commonly ignored, especially when desperation sets in and just hiring a ‘warm body’ becomes the priority. Ignoring warning signs and making hiring decisions without careful reflection and process can cause a ripple effect within the business. Below are five tips for avoiding hiring mistakes:

1. Be prepared: Each year, during your planning time, project revenue as well as the number of team members necessary to reach your revenue goals. Doing so will have you forecasting when you will need to add additional team members. This forward thinking will help form your recruiting plan.
2. Think ‘type’: What type of new hire are you looking for? How much experience? What position are you looking to fill? What types of qualities and skills must they have? How many hours must they work? Answering these questions will help you sift through applicants quickly and focus on only those who will fill your needs.
3. Interview ‘right’: I’ve found over the years that the longer you spend ‘dating’ the longer the relationship lasts. In other words, take your time. Three to four interviews are not uncommon. Involve other team members in the interview process. They will ask the questions that you never would and truly be able to tell if the candidate will fit in your culture.
4. Check references: It is amazing to me how often this is skipped. Calling references is a great opportunity for you to find out how peers, past bosses and friends view as your candidates strengths and underdeveloped strengths. Look for common responses, do they match your interpretations.
5. Listen to the ‘whisper’: In an interview, when asked what would she do differently, Oprah Winfrey responded, “I would have listened to the whisper”. Your intuition is often a good barometer for what could be potential problems. Don’t pass off that feeling. Investigate, talk about your concerns and ultimately if it doesn’t feel right it is a good indication that it won’t go right!
Remember, at the end of the day, a new candidate is being welcomed into your culture. You want them to succeed and they want to succeed. If the fit isn’t right from day one it more than likely won’t be right at day 120. Good luck.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Advice from Top Female CEO

Each day I receive SmartBriefs direct in my inbox. I use these to keep up with latest business news, trends, tips and tricks. In past two weeks I’ve enjoyed two posts by a top female CEO. Janine Popick, CEO and founder of Vertical Response, a leading provider of self-service e-mail marketing, online surveys, and direct mail services empowering small businesses to create, manage, and analyze their own direct marketing campaigns. The company has over 70,000 customers, and was ranked No. 1270 on the 2009 Inc. 5000 list. I figured any advice from her would be great advice. I read her two blog posts and she provided 9 great tips that I feel would apply directly to our industry as well. I’ve tailored that information for Salons and Spas, I hope you enjoy.
Read Janine’s blog on 9 Things I Learned.
Here’s my tailored version:
1. Hire a GREAT Lawyer – From lease negotiation to confidentiality or rental agreements you will, at some point, need a good attorney. Protect yourself now before something happens and costs you twice as much.
2. Don't Hire Ahead of the Curve – Janine believes that you and your teams should be at more than FULL CAPACITY before you hire. I couldn’t agree more. Nothing will kill profitability and morale quicker than a team of people sitting around waiting for clients. The trick is to watch and anticipate your next new hire. You need to always be recruiting and preparing for the next position to be filled. Hiring assistants is an excellent way to capitalize on another team members productivity all while preparing a newbie to hit the floor running.
3. Get a GREAT Accountant – One of the most vital assets any salon and spa owner could have is a great accountant. In our industry it is even more important to have one that understands the nuances of running a salon and spa. Larry Kopsa who owns Kopsa Otte CPA firm is someone that I personally recommend. He has an entire team dedicated to the industry, works with hundreds of salons and spas across the country and is a salon owner himself.
4. QUICK Decision Making – Indecisiveness, over time, erodes trust and effectiveness. You’ve taken the role as owner and that requires the ability to confidently make sound decisions. Remember, not all decisions can be made quickly but when they can and should, don’t hesitate.
5. Get Rid of Bad Employees...FAST – Jack Welch, former CEO of GE always believed that 10% of your employees need to go. Bad employees affect the success of everyone on your team and your customers experience. They are cancer and you’ve got to rid the team of the cancer before it spreads.
6. Establish & Enforce Core Values - Core Values form the cultural foundation of your business. They are the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that unite a team.
7. EARLY Training – Training is the standard you set within your organization. It is the level of expertise that customers come to expect. You want to set everyone up for success, training early and continuously increases the rate of success.
8. Don’t try To Be Everything to Everyone – The role of a salon and spa owner is not to be everything to everyone, it’s impossible. Not everyone will stay or should stay with you. Lead your team from your core values, vision, and mission. Doing so will establish what is to be expected and then others can choose to meet that expectation or not.
9. Love What You Do – A great friend and mentor always said to me, Julie, love what you do and the money will follow. I believe that, however, the one caveat I would add to that statement is this…love what you do, plan how you will do it and then execute the plan! Passion without execution is just a good feeling.
I hope you find these 9 tips a great reminder for simple ways to stay on track. Good luck.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Build From Your Big Rocks!

Stephen Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, teaches that in order to accomplish more in life you have to put your Big Rocks first!

What does that mean?

It means that we spend most of our time putting the little rocks into our schedule and then have no time for the Big Rocks.

Little rocks are tasks you would do on any given day: work with clients, payroll, inventory, pay the bills, return emails, etc. They have to be done in order to keep your business operating.

Don't get me wrong, they are important.

However, they will keep the business and your check book exactly in the same place.

Groundhog Day!

The solution?

When you create your schedule, schedule your Big Rocks first.

Your Big Rocks are those projects you keep putting off; a remodel, learning finance or accounting, creating a marketing plan, developing an assistant training program, etc.

Imagine what you could accomplish if you took the time to schedule your Big Rocks first and then filled in the rest of your schedule with little rocks?

Whatever is left over you can delegate to others. This gives other people an opportunity to grow. They help you and they help the culture. You have more time to think ahead and create a stable future for your business.

Put your Big Rocks first!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Color Touches Will Drive Your Retail Sales

Growing your retail business is a crucial ingredient in increasing bottom line profitability and building brand awareness. Accomplishing this takes time, creativity, ingenuity and thinking BIG! Last holiday season I was driving through a local strip plaza where I live on my way to the store when I was blown away by the colorful and festive holiday decorations from a salon in the plaza, The Vanity Room in Yorba Linda, CA. It was so well done it stayed in my mind and I decided to go in and give them a try a month later. I am now a regular client.

Over the last five months I have been in four times and my wife is also a regular client. Each time I went into the salon there was something different visually to stimulate the senses and increase retail awareness. As a salon business coach I loved seeing a salon practice what we preach so I decided to ask the owner, Shelly Elliott to sit down for an interview.

Successful retail branding comes from the following components:

- great retail products
- education for the staff
- good use of retail space
- adding color to entice consumer senses and awareness
- strategic incentives and promotions
- thinking like a retailer
- creating diversity (accessories, purses, jewelry, etc.)
- team involvement & follow through

What jumps right out to you when you visit Shelly’s space is that she thinks like a retailer, creating diversity and she incorporates color wisely. She stated, “I added decorations one year for the holidays and our customers noticed. They really enjoyed it, asked about what we were going to do next and grew to expect it. Our customers reacted to the colors powerfully so I had to keep stepping up each time and it has become fun. We like to add a little color that signifies the season or event and use it throughout the salon, from decorative eggs for Easter to multi-colored flowers for Mother’s Day.”

When asked how she sees her retail space Shelly shared, “I think of the business as a retail store, like Nordstrom’s for example, not just a salon. We added a boutique and we now sell jewelry, handbags, hats, shirts, etc. Not only that, we add the little touches like gift bags with bows and colorful wrapping paper when customers purchase something.”

As you can see by the pictures a little color and thought can go a long way and can freshen up your space which leads to sales growth and drives profitability.

The next time you walk into your salon or spa, stop and look around and imagine how you can infuse a little more color into your retail space to take it to the next level and give your customers even more to talk about!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Salon and Spa Owners you’ve got to EARN your ‘bragging’ rights!

In all the 20+ years that I’ve been managing, coaching and training I’ve met thousands of professionals and owners. Some were extremely successful, humble, lifelong learners and some not so successful individuals. The difference between these two professionals is that one developed deep experience through trial and error, success and celebration, and the other simply repeated their 1st year over and over again, 25 times.

So, you may ask, “What makes a successful salon and spa owner/professional in our industry?” “When do I get the right to toot my own horn?”

I’m sure that if you asked ten people you would get ten varying responses and qualifications. Success if often in the eye of the beholder, however, I’ve yet to meet an owner or technician who went into this industry or opened their business as a non-for-profit. At the core, regardless of job title you went into this business to be profitable, in other words…make money. Ideally, as an owner you wanted to create something that is sustainable, long lasting and provides a legacy or a vehicle for retirement. If you are like the many owners and professionals that view at least part of your success as gaining more profit/money then read below for a three ways to increase your profit potential.

1. PEOPLE CAPITAL: Money can be lost and/or gained by the individuals that you recruit, train and hire. Developing a consistent plan for building your team and growing their skills, knowledge and attitude is the most reliable way to increase your profit potential.

2. FINANCES: Know the story of your numbers. The numbers don’t lie and learning to organize, analyze and capitalize on the story they tell can make all the difference. You make money only by growing sales, number of clients and the number of times they visit…you KEEP money only by managing budgets and controlling expenses. Gaining greater financial acumen means gaining greater profitability.

3. BRAND: What makes you different? Whether you’ve established your brand or not you’ve got one. Developing a brand/marketing campaign in today’s marketplace is one of the vital contributors to not only survival but your profitability. From your vision to your business cards, from marketing to the way your team communicates to your customers, your brand needs to be clearly defined, marketed and managed.

Seems easy enough right? Well, if it was then I wouldn’t need to write an article on how to increase your profit potential. The way each individual measures success may vary from person to person, business to business, but what remains the same is the need to change. That’s where the rubber meets the road. In my opinion when people quit, or simply begin to coast it is because they were pushed up against the wall of change and it got too uncomfortable. Only those individuals who have an honest to goodness desire to grow and change are the ones who will rise above the challenges, the hard work, and the opponent’s pressure and simply dig in and do the work. Those individuals, in my opinion, have earned their bragging rights. They know what it takes and willingly ‘fail forward’. They learn and grow and grow and learn. They lend a hand to lift another up. They avoid being egotistical and judgmental. Success is like a magnet. Look around you, have you attracted success? If you have then you’ve earned bragging rights. Go ahead, toot your horn. When you are humble your contribution will open doors for others to learn and grow. Toot! Toot!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Who Moved My Cheddar? The Psychology of Financial Self Awareness

Before you can bring your team together in a common goal of profit, it’s essential that you become self-aware of your own current financial assumptions. The best teachers speak from an inner knowing- not from books or here say, but from the doing and failing that defines all the best lessons and the best laid plans. Think about it – when you bring your team together to discuss how to increase monthly revenue, what you’re actually asking is that they CHANGE. Change their behavior, in order to change their level of productivity, in order to change everyone’s level of profit. CHANGE assumes they must give something up, in order to take on something new.

The message in ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Dr. Spencer Johnson, is that if your team can come to see the change you’re asking from them, it is actually a blessing, but only if they come to realize the role that ‘cheese’, or in this case cheddar ($) plays in their lives. In this parable, there are four beings in a maze: two mice named Sniff and Scurry. And two little people named Hem and Haw. Sniff and Scurry are not big thinkers, they just want cheese and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Hem and Haw, on the other hand, have an entirely different relationship with cheese. It’s not just food for them- it’s their entire self image! Their entire lives and belief systems are built around all the cheese they’ve found, eaten, hidden, and hoarded. Readers of this parable can ascribe any part of life to cheese – jobs, relationships, kids whatever. But what if it is actually cheddar -($) Mula, bling, cash, bank, profit?

We have to be alert to changes in our cheddar ($), and be prepared to go running off in search of new sources of it when our original sources runs out. And conversely, be prepared to dig in and stay put when a cheddar ($) source runs deep and rich. After consulting with business managers Sniff and Scurry, Hem and Haw for many years, I’ve found the following list of biggest myths to have infected every industry, every age group, education level, success level, in every region in the U.S.:

· Having more cheddar ($) will make me more happy.
· Only small amounts of cheddar ($) stinks with age. Large quantities have a longer shelf life, therefore I don’t need to check/manage it that often.
· Finding more cheddar ($) depends on how well I can drag my old cheddar ($) along with me. I need a bigger purse!
· Fear of never having enough cheddar ($) is my best motivator.
· I really don’t have time to enjoy any of my cheddar ($). If I did take the time, it might distract me from my hunt for more cheddar ($).
· I should look for cheddar ($) only in my maze.
· However I found this cheddar ($) is the best way to find my next cheddar ($).

If you’ve fallen victim to any of these dangerous cheddar ($) myths, slow down and taste the gouda ($)! Reflect on what perspective might actually be the best motivator to your team, and develop a meeting around that. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but risk and honesty usually are when it comes to financial self-awareness. Good luck.