Monday, December 28, 2009

Stress Relief For The Final 2009 Work Week

Are you feeling frazzled -- even frantic -- this time of year?

While I personally love the holiday season, there are so many expectations, so much to accomplish, and so many feelings all rolled together. A lot of it has to do with time -- just plain figuring out a way to fit in hours of extra stuff on top of the over-stuffed schedules that most of us keep these days. (Myself included.)

Here are a few ideas for taking control this last week of 2009:

Don't do it all: In fact, drop the obligation that you have to squeeze another client in. Just don't do it! If you really feel you must then have another stylist support you. That means “asking” for help. Maybe they could shampoo the client or finish the style for you. Just be creative and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Limit the work: This year, I refuse to add more than an hour of extra work to my day -- with it's all being done in one hour doses and it's making me feel really, really sane because it allows me to take care of the rest of my life -- that would be work, friends, and keeping the house tidy. Those needs don't stop during the holiday rush.

Refuel: And no, not with booze. Try to do one thing a day that makes you feel grounded, relaxed, and healthy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Art Of Communication: Listen Up!

As a business coach in the salon and spa industry I am faced with the task of supporting my clients to work on implementing new systems, building better relationships and producing results with more ease!

While we spend a lot of time working on developing systems, the implementation and then follow through, I see time and again that the biggest opportunity for personal and professional growth lies in the Salon owner's ability to work on communication - rather and more importantly, listening!

Typically as a Salon owner you get so excited to get something in place, and want to take action quick, that you forget to remember a few very important points:

1. You are excited because you made a choice to change and improve your business. It is your choice. At the very beginning you are the only one on board, no one else is! In my years of coaching I often see people get so excited to get something off the ground only to be let down because their empoyees done't have the same level of excitement, passion or clarity to make it happen! Remember that they never will feel it the same way you do and that change takes time! They will come around eventually.

2. You do not listen to them! When I say listen I really mean observing them, taking in their reactions and their energetic response to what you introduce! In an earlier blog I wrote about the importance of asking questions. It is at a crucial time like this that you want to be prepared with some questions to ask to see if they see the same issue you see or that they see the importance of putting a new system in place to help the area you want to improve.

In a nutshell, start with listening to where your employees are, and once you are through checking the pulse you will know how to introduce what you need to in a way that they will receive - which will make your life much more easier!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Salon and Spa Owners - What would you rather do...Work More or Make More?

Are you are a busy Salon or Spa Owner in desperate need of making more money but you don’t have the time or the energy to do it yourself?
Do you feel that you are really close to grabbing the ‘brass’ ring only to find yourself unable to reach it yet again?
Are you frustrated by the lack of initiative, willingness and drive among your team members?
If you answered yes to one or all three of the above questions then take a moment, kick your feet up and read about how you can change your course to working less and making MORE. What I’m sharing isn’t rocket science, however, even the best of us could use a good swift ‘kick-in-the-pants’ every once in awhile to get ourselves back on track.
The three ways to making more are:
1. Understand the 80/20 Rule
In 1897 Pareto, an Italian Economist came up with the 80/20 rule. This rule in of itself revolutionized the way we think not only about wealth but about every area of our life. Applied to your business it can be said that 20% of your employees will produce 80% of your revenue. Many business leaders spend little if any of their time focusing on those areas of their business that can generate the most revenue. You’ve got to shift your focus and begin spending your valuable time on those areas that can generate the most revenue and thereby save you time.
So in any given situation the question to ask yourself what is the 80 percent and what is the 20 percent. In other words if you want to be wealthy ask yourself what is it that the 20 percent do differently that allows them to control 80 percent of the wealth. If you want your business to be more profitable ask yourself what is the 20 percent that is accounting for 80 percent of your profits and focus in on that.
2. Build it and they will come!
I love the move Field of Dreams! The movies theme serves as an excellent analogy for salon and spa owners struggling to make more. When I say, ‘build it and they will come’, I don’t mean go and build a brand new salon and spa I simply mean build a business.
Allow me to clarify. Most successful small business owners do one thing really well. They think like large businesses. Meaning they visualize themselves making it big, align themselves with individuals that can help them get big and systematically implement the necessary structures to be big.
You bought and opened a business, now act like a business! Success comes to those who plan for success. Planning begins with preparation. Establishing a clear vision and mission for your business, developing a realistic cash flow plan for profit and establishing the specific systems, policies and procedures in which you will operate your business. Even if you have only one employee you must prepare your business to receive. Preparing eliminates fear, procrastination and reduces turnover. It also provides power and positions you in the rightful seat of leader. If you feel behind the eight ball and that you are loosing traction in your own success. STOP! Take a vacation from working IN your business, hire a coach and go work ON your business. When you return you will be armed with the tools necessary to work less and make more. Not only will you save time but you will save money and quit possibly your sanity.
3. Serve your number one customer FIRST!
As a salon and/or spa business owner your number one customer is your team! Without a team you don’t own a business you own a job. Taking care of your team and serving them well is your key to success. Marcus Buckingham wrote a fantastic book called, The One Thing You Need to Know. In his book he writes that great leaders and managers have the ability to turn talent into performance. Read that again…turn talent into performance. To make more money in less time your job is to simply turn your talent (your team) into performance (producing revenue). He goes on to say that doing so is as simple as; finding their talents and strengths, trigger great performance and tailor their learning style.
Essential your job as their manager/leader is to get your team working on those activities in which they perform their best. Secondly, you must work to trigger great performance. You’ve got to consciously recognize and reinforce desirable behaviors. Get creative! This may be in the form of a personal thank you note, a public acknowledgement in front of the team or simply having an employee of the month board. Lastly, tailor the learning. Your job is to discover the best way in which each individual on your team learns and work to provide an environment that supports their learning preferences.
Although these three steps are simple they do require time and effort to implement. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Working less and making more can be done but you must be willing to make the necessary changes.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Art Of Communication: Ask! Don't Tell!

I once heard from a coach I worked with that, "the answers are in the questions."  At first I didn't know what this meant! She said, most managers spend too much time "telling" their employees where they need to improve or what they need to do, opposed to taking a minute to get them involved.

This wisdom has stuck with me over the years and I will tell you this, I can do a pretty good job of putting the cart before the horse or putting my big foot in my mouth for sure! However, by practicing this I have grown immeasurable and been able to help lots of salon and spa owners over the years grow as well.

It is really simple, when you want to make a point, coach someone on your team, or get people involved in a project - Instead of telling them what to do, think of questions you could ask them to find out what they know or don't know, what their point of view is, how they see it, and are they excited, etc.

In our industry, we are so used to doing things all day long! DO!DO!DO!DO!  We are so in the doing we forget to BE with our team! Practice this technique, come up with at least three questions you can ask them the next time you need to share something or coach them. They will feel respected and valued and you will save a ton of time by starting with what they know first ,so you know how to steer the conversation forward!

Try this and you will reap amazing benefits!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feelings or Facts - Your Numbers Don't Lie!

Today I was on a coaching call with a client and something really great happened! My client showed up to the call feeling a bit down and stressed about a myriad of things. As we dug into our work together we began to look at the last two months of sales and compared them to the same two months from last year.

As we began to dig into the numbers, many things came to the surface. The business saw a drop in client visits of 81 from last year and ONLY saw a drop in total revenue of $285!!! This was due to the business having a combined average ticket of $11.84 per client more than last year!!!  Wow!!!

We also looked at her staff. When we reviewed one of her stylists average retail ticket we saw awesome growth. In the months of August & September combined the stylist had only 1 of 9 weeks where her average retail ticket was above $10.00 compared to 7 of 9 weeks above $10.00 for the combined months of October & November! Wow again!!!

As we looked at this the shift my client had was amazed! She went from being down to being completely fired up and she couldn't wait to share this with her team and acknowldege them! Can you imagine the boost her team is going to feel when she shares not only the results but her excitement and pride in them! This is what leadership is all about! Praise! Praise! Praise! This will only reinfoce practice, practice, practice!

It just goes to show you something we coaches at Milady are always harping on: Manage your buisness based on the facts, not your feelings!!! You may FEEL a certain way because you are having a bad day, someone is not following through, busines is slow on that given day, etc. However when you look at what the numbers are saying you can always find something truthful and positive to go with!

Make it a practice the next time something is getting to you to stop, pull up your sales numbers; look at past versus current sales, look at individual people on the team and what they are doing! There is nothing more empowering than having the truth, even when it shows sales being down or percentages being over budget. When you have the truth, you can lessen the gray areas and the feelings, get clear and continue to focus and drive towards your goals! It is just smart business!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Easy Steps You Can Implement NOW! to Plan for Success in 2010

Here we are moving into the second week of December and the Holiday season is in full swing! Sooner than you know it the season will come and go and we'll be in 2010. Now is the time to plan to have a successful next year before it's upon us! Here are some easy steps to ensure your success!

  1. Unload Your Trunk: A new year always holds the promise of a fresh beginning. But before you can do this ask yourself, “What things do I need to be set free from in 2009?” Spend some time over the next month reflecting on your life & business. In the book, Transitions by William Bridges, he shares a simple yet profound concept, the idea of moving on or past “stuff” in life. He uses the analogy of a caterpillar who wants to become a butterfly. The caterpillar must go through certain stages or phases in order to have a successful transition. The four stages to support you in this process are:

    Take a blank piece of paper, your original written goals for 2009 and get into a quiet place. Review the goals you created for this year. What did you accomplish? What was the result and impact it had in your business? How did it feel to make that happen?

    Next, take a few minutes and write down the top three positive experiences you had in your business this past year. What did you learn about yourself from them?

    Continue with this theme by writing down your top 3 challenges this year. What did you learn about yourself? (This is a great opportunity to really let go of anything you may be left feeling about past failures or challenges. This will really help you get refreshed and ready to rock for 2010!)

    Finally, what did and who do you appreciate this past year! There are lots of things that happened that contributed to your successes and lots of people who have helped you. Taking a minute to write them down is not only humbling but healthy as it makes you aware of what you have and supports you to think more abundantly! This will make a difference in the next step.

  2. Embrace the New!: Now that you are complete with last year, focus on this new coming year ahead! What do you want o accomplish in the areas of sales, marketing, finance and operations? What do you want to accomplish personally as a leader? What are goals you have in your personal life? What are the goals you want to accomplish with each person on your team?

    After you have your goals written the next step is to think into the future and visualize them being accomplished! What will it feel like for you? What will be happening? What will the energy be like? What will you know about yourself? How will you have grown because of it?
Once this is all complete the final step is to begin to take all of your goals and begin to put them into action and into your schedule! Then it’s all about follow through!

Follow this blue print and you can have a successful and prosperous new 2010!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tis The Season To Be Social!

I have recently been researching different marketing campaigns and programs to support my clients to utilize for the holiday season.  I am amazed at what you can find out there on the web! In my studies, not only did I find different promotional ideas and gift cards, I also found websites that custom design promotions for you. All of this led me to think about how important it is for salon & spa professionals to continue to utilize the web as the resource it is!! I think what makes the most sense is to follow this golden rule: If you need something, look online first, then ask others for help! If you make this a practice you will trully take your knowledge to a whole new level in little to no time at no cost! Makes sense huh!

Another great resource online is using the web to expand your marketing and public relations through social media. Milady has recently increased our presence this way and it has a tremendous impact. In fact, if you are reading this very 'lil blog here you are connected to us via social media!

As a coach I have talked with many clients that have resisted this transition. I remind you all that your ability to move your business forward because you are being progressive and moving with the speed of technology will make all the difference in your future.
At the end of the day, get dialed in and use this vast resource, you'll be the better for it....

Steve Gomez, Milady Business Coach