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.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Why an annual price increase MAY make good business sense!

Do you agonize over when to raise your prices?

Do you find that some clients are charged one price while others another?

Has it been well over a year since you raised your prices?

Are you afraid you will lose too much business?

Does the economy have you reluctant to raise your prices?

If you answered yes to one or all of those questions rest assured that you are not the only one. Price increases are often synonymous with a visit to the dentist; often dreaded and painful. However, when you learn to step away from the emotion and look at the facts you can often muster the strength to raise your prices.

Make no mistake; raising your prices isn’t something that you do arbitrarily. You must have a method or system for when and why you raise your prices. We often find that owners and technicians are unsure or even fearful of what they should be charging for their services. Instinctively and logically, you probably are aware that price points are dictated by an analysis of the overall expense to run your business as well as a consideration of supply and demand. However, due to fear or a lack of understanding, completing a comprehensive price analysis is often skipped. Plus, many of us will avoid the overwhelming feeling of
“not knowing” and therefore skip the necessary work. Often, the result is falling back on the simpler method of establishing pricing by calling the competition. Unfortunately, there are some major flaws to this system.

What should my prices be and when should I raise them?

When you are setting your prices, you should determine your pricing based FIRST and foremost on what the business requires to be profitable and SECOND on supply versus demand. Ultimately, what you charge is secondary to the experience that accompanies the price. Customers buy two things: good feelings and solutions. You must consistently provide an experience that elicits pleasant feelings as well as solving the client’s challenges. The trick is consistency! Customers will gladly pay the price if their expectations are continuously met and/or exceeded. Remember, customer service begins when, and does not begin until; you’ve exceeded the client’s expectations. Be sure that your systems for service match your price, and pricing concerns will become obsolete.

If you are not at the profit level that you want or need to be, you’re confident that you provide consistent service experiences and your repeat business is consistent (meaning you are pre-booking at 75% or more) then you can rest assured that an annual price increase minimally is necessary if you ever want to increase your profitability. For many salons and spas the minimum price isn’t set high enough to even reach profitability. Raising prices annually can sometimes be the only option to reaching profitability. For more information on how to set pricing for profit check out Milady’s Financial Analysis and Coaching Tools (FACT) CD-ROM for a workbook and spreadsheets designed to help you increase profitability.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Say It How You Mean It! How To Talk Your Team Through Any Situation.

Have you ever had an issue with an employee that seemed to challenging to handle? Have you ever just been stopped and tongue tied and struggled to just get it out? Today I am going to walk you through the steps of how to say what you need to say and coach your employees through difficult situations every time.

This can happen to the best of us.

I heard a saying once that stuck with me. “Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.” Well, the saying can be applied to communication. “Tough conversations don’t last. Tough people do.” So let’s toughen you up a bit!

Having tough conversations begins with understanding how you are relating to all of it in the first place.

You get to create how it goes. When you say or think that it is going to be a “tough” conversation then that is exactly how it is going to go. Conversations become tough or easy based upon how you relate to it.

What tends to happen is an employee or renter doesn’t follow through, breaks a policy, talks back, is disruptive, takes to long to learn or complete something and you “react” to it.

This is where it all begins. However, most of us are so emotionally plugged by what a person did or didn’t do that we cannot see that we are being emotionally hooked by their behavior. This is when more challenges can be created. More than you want and more than is necessary.

Here are eight steps to having effective conversations:

Step One: Do not react. Give it 24 hours. Let your emotion go. If you cannot let your feelings go, share with someone trusted who will know that you are going to handle it within 24 hours so that it is not gossip. Be responsible for your emotions and the energy it brings.

Step Two: Get it out of your head and on paper. Write down what happened, how you feel about it, what impact it could have on you & the business and the relationship with the person if you do not communicate & handle it. Be clear about the potential ramifications in the future.

Step Three: Create your intention! Write down how you want to handle it and what the result will be after you have had the conversation.

Step Four: Appreciation! This can be challenging for some and it is the most important step of all. This requires letting go of your ego and righteousness and looking at the person for the “great” that they bring. Write down what you appreciate about this person as an employee, co-worker such as timeliness, open minded, great technician, always helping, etc. Then you write down what qualities and characteristics you appreciate about them as a person in general such as their energy, smile, warmth and giving spirit, work ethic, etc.

Step Five: Ask them when they can meet with you. Give them the opportunity to be ready for the conversation as opposed to jumping them the next time you see them. This opens the door for them to be prepared instead of being reactive.

Step Six: Begin by acknowledging them for who they are as an employee. Tell them why you appreciate them. Next share directly what happened and ask them to share their perspective first so you can give them a chance to communicate.

Step Seven: Share with them how you felt and the impact their actions had. Use an analogy that they could relate too to help them see the impact. Get them to be in your shoes. Remind them of policy and get their commitment to follow through.

Step Eight: Completion! End the conversation by letting them know that you appreciate who they are and why they are important to the business and that you are counting on them.

At the end of the day, our commitment as leaders is to support people to continue their growth in life and business and to give them the room to be human and make mistakes and learn. You have to know what triggers you and be responsible for it while standing for the values and policies of your organization.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Top Tips From Salon and Spa Owners

I’ve had the great fortune of meeting and working closely with hundreds of salon and spa owners over the years. When preparing for writing this blog on Top Tips from Salon owners I thought, “why not go directly to those I know well. Those that have not only weathered several ‘proverbial storms’ but have risen above walk outs, location moves, product changes, terminations, and more ups and downs than anyone cares to count. Myra, Mitch and Bella are not only successful but they serve from their heart. They are great friends and have willingly provided their pearls of wisdom. As their former coach I have been forever changed for knowing and working with them. Below you will find the lessons they find most valuable to their success. Enjoy.

Myra English from Myra J’s Salon in Defiance, Ohio shares:

1. Always run your business by the numbers and not your emotions. As a good coach told me once "Numbers don't lie, we do."

2. Always make sure your customer leaves with more than they expected.

3. Keep an open mind on new marketing ideas and consistently use them.

Bella Shahmoradian from Bellan Nella Bride, Salon and Day Spa in Glendale, CA shares:

1. I think hiring and training your team members is the most important task of any successful salon and spa! Your employees are your most valuable assets to your company. Treat them with love and care. Hire passionate people that match your salon and spa's culture. Give clear job descriptions and follow up with daily huddles and monthly plan and reviews. To keep your employees motivated and happy set future growth goals. Also, create a supportive atmosphere and make sure every employee feels like an active and important person in the growth of your salon and spa.

2. Create a "Wow Moment" each and every-time clients have contact with you. Follow a Needs Analysis System where you find your clients needs. Fulfill those needs and add value to their experience. A "wow moment" starts from your website, social media, phone reservation and the moment a client enters your facilities to the moment he/she checks out. The wow moment should continue with your thank you notes and follow up systems.

Mitch Eubanks from The Mitchell Wade Salon in Oviedo, FL shares:

1. Practice what you preach!

2. Delegate but stay involved. As a leader it is important to participate in daily duties (i.e. sweeping, towels, serving clients, serving team members, etc). Doing so keeps you approachable and in the loop of situations before the drama begins!

From the numbers to WOW moments your business is your responsibility. These former owners have taken it to heart and continue to reach new levels of awareness, success and fulfillment. Congratulations Myra, Mitch and Bella and thank you all for sharing!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How Does Your Leadership Attitude Affect Your Management Style?

With all the disharmony happening in our country right now, you’d think that Americans would be miserable. And yet, a survey conducted in December 2009 revealed that more than nearly 80% of Americans said they are happy or somewhat happy when asked “think about how things are going in your life in general.” Click here for poll

I wasn’t very surprised by these results, but I suspect you might be. The respondents to this survey clarified this landslide consensus by revealing the criteria they’d used to answer the question. It wasn’t about how much money they were earning, or their predictions for the future, which is what our nightly news syndicates are basing their programming. The respondents’ positivity was due in large part to their lifestyle and their attitude. Wow!

What would Mr. Jefferson say?
I’m a big history buff, so of course I looked back to see other patterns of great sea changes in our society. Our founding fathers, faced with enormous, unstructured change issues as they broke away from England knew that what they had to accomplish was both improbable and dangerous for every stakeholder involved. It took decades for every change leader of that time to achieve one victory after the next, to survive set backs and daily discouragements, to develop skill sets they’d never heard of in order to communicate with people they had never encountered. Every day was treacherously long, exhausting, and spiritually draining. Yet at the end of his life Thomas Jefferson looked back over his time here and said that the best of his life was spent in the worst of times.

You’ll see that same phenomenon across the millennia of our country’s history, and perhaps even in your own. Was it more fulfilling to stand at the point of arrival, or does your heart leap as it remembers the struggle and growth required to get there? Can a mother truly ever forget the joy in the pain of child birth? Can a college student leave a community in which they’d lived and grown for four years, without the knowledge that these were the best and perhaps most difficult years of their life? So it is the same with our country now, as many business owners struggle to stay afloat, or begin again. The pain of failure is quickly subdued by the excitement of the journey ahead. Which leads me to question how our leadership attitudes can affect our management style and what are the three things you need to consider when assessing your own leadership attitude, which will inform how you manage the life inside your salon/spa:

1. How well do you know yourself? People and businesses that try to be everything to everybody achieve only one thing – invisibility. Being clear about who you are and what you do and don’t do, will attract those people who want to be with you as employees or clients. Yes, you’ll have to say so long to another group of people. But the new group will be larger, and far more loyal. Don’t be afraid to put your flag in the ground and continue to ask yourself and the people around you: What more do I need to be my best me? What else should I be doing? How well do I accept feedback?

2. How transparent are you? There’s that adage “Only the guilty need a lawyer.” In the world of business, especially ones built with healing in mind, the more open and revealing you are about yourself and your motives, the more likely you are to grow fast, personally and professionally. When past clients have contacted me with stories about missteps they’ve made, and were literally caught on tape, their regret is obvious and deep. But the next part of their story is usually about what they learned, fast, and the mechanisms or intentions they’ve put into place to make sure it never happens again. That’s a true victory.

3. How well do you communicate? A communications professor once told me that the responsibility for clear communication is 100% on the shoulders of the speaker. That blew my mind when I was younger, and since then I have collected several instances where I confirmed this dynamic, in business, personal relationships, and parenting. 10 years after hearing this mandate, I learned in graduate school that most ideas are never born, and if they are and become a project, will fail the majority of the time due to poor or insufficient communication. If you put these two mandates together, as a leader, you should realize that communicating is 100% your responsibility, and the successful outcome of your initiatives is 100% your responsibility. This may not help you get to sleep faster tonight. However, if you’re like me, at least I know I can’t blame anyone for failure and that gives me more to start with than when I believed I could share the outcome with someone else!

So, up and at 'em, shoes on again! The good news all the way around is that the best time to get into the market is when the market is down! And BOY is it down! Celebrate! Put on your best leadership dress, and get to the drawing board. You get to build whatever you want, starting NOW.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Make Your Summer Sales Sizzle!

Summer, Summer, Summer time!

A time for most to sit back and unwind as Will Smith sang a decade ago! For our industry it is time to heat things up!

This can be a down time of year for your sales or a great time of year for your sales! The choice is yours.

What is important to note is that now is the time to make plans so that your summer sales sizzle!

Here’s how:

Analyze: Look back on past sales trends for June – August. Go back at least the last 2-3 years depending upon the data you can collect. Review service sales trends, retail sales trends and client traffic trends. The numbers will give you a great place to plan from.

What’s Happening Now: What is happening in your business right now? What does your budget say that you need to work on during the summer? Consider whether you have new hires or people you are building as well as any new services or products you are offering?

Color It Up: Summer is always a great time to drive your color business and glossing business due to the lightening effects of the sun. Showcase this strategically in your marketing efforts.

It’s Time To Travel: Many people travel and vacation this time of year. You can and should be capitalizing on this! Offer gift certificate specials for pre and post maintenance and pampering to support their travels. You can also offer retail travel kits with travel size shampoo & conditioners include small hand sanitizers, handi-wipes, travel size aspirin and other accessories. Have fun with it!

Remember that this is a time of year when people think about taking time off. Don’t just okay vacation to everyone at the same time or you will be in for some lean months ahead. By taking the time now to get your team focused on the summer it can become a great sales period in your year and give you a great boost to build upon for the rest of the year!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Salon and Spa Marketing -TRY it and TRACK it before you TRASH it!

Recently, I met another salon owner who was struggling, like many of you, on how to get new clients and grow revenue. Although an optimist at heart she was beginning to become discouraged by her marketing efforts. Incremental growth was not enough; she needed hyper growth and she needed it fast.

We talked for quit awhile about what she had tried and where she may have gone wrong. Over the past year she had implemented dozens of marketing initiatives to gain new clients. Unfortunately she had little hard data to provide evidence as to whether or not her initiatives were working. I reminded her that numbers don’t lie and in the absence of numbers we rely on our feelings. Although valid, feelings unfortunately, do not provide the complete perspective needed for making sound decisions.

When you consider your marketing initiatives for your salon and spa remember the old saying, “different strokes for different folks”. In other words, what works for one salon or spa may not work for yours. You’ve got to be resourceful. If you’ve tried something and it didn’t work find out why, change it and re-launch it. If you attempted to get into a business through the owner, manager, front desk, etc. only to be met with a NO, then try another approach. Think about the clients you do have and find one that can open the door for you. What ever you do remember that you cannot TRASH an idea until you TRY it and TRACK it. Once you’ve assessed the success or failure of a marketing initiative then and only then can you determine its success or failure.

Most importantly, don’t make marketing difficult. Use your team to support you in developing and launching each marketing initiative. After all, they too will benefit from the efforts. Below you will find some additional suggestions for planning and implementing your next successful initiative.

  • Schedule a meeting with your team and collectively come up with ways to gain new clients. Start by asking, who is our ideal client? Where do they work? Where do they play? Where do they eat, workout, go to church, etc.
  • Then think of the ways to gain access to those clients. How can you get in front of them? What would interest them in you? Get into their minds and think about what they would want, expect and need in order to try your salon and spa over someone else’s. 
  • Create a six month plan and select one initiative per month to focus on. 
  • Track your success. Keep a binder at the front desk with a manual tracking form. Track things such as: clients name, service provider, promotion used, services received, products purchased, appointment rebooked, thank you sent, etc. The more information you collect the more you can determine if your marketing promotion was successful or not.
So remember; when determining if a marketing promotion will work for you take the time to TRY it and TRACK it before you TRASH it!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Know the SPAM Laws Before You Press SEND

Did you know there are rules govering your use of the internet for communicating with your current and potential clients? Before launching any internet marketing campaign for your salon or spa, it is very important to become aware of and adhere to the U.S. CAN-SPAM of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act). Sounds pretty severe for governing an innocent email to your clients about a holiday special, but the guidelines are pretty simple:

  • The To and From information must be accurate.
  • You cannot mislead the recipient about what is in the content of the message.
  • Recipients must be given the option of removing themselves from your mailing list.
  • Your message must be identified as an advertisement and include the sender's physical postal address.
Several software options exist to manage your e-blasts, such as Constant Contact.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What is Poor Customer Service Costing Your Salon?

All salons and spas rely on customer retention to keep their businesses growing - after all, the backbone of your success isn't the one time customer but the repeat customer. Repeat customers keep coming back and become the foundation you can rely on. That's why customer retention is so important.

Even worse, if you begin losing customers because of poor customer service, your business might fail. That's why customer service training is so important - to be truly successful, you have to establish strong customer loyalty that can translate to repeat business and great referrals. Most salon and spa owners don't realize how much revenue they are losing every year because of poor customer service. Do you?

How Much Revenue are You Losing? You'll be Surprised! Take this Simple Reality Check:

The cost of poor customer retention is enormous. When customers leave your business they are taking their money to competitors. You've not only lost revenue for your business, you've increased the profitability of your competition! It's a "double whammy" that can permanently damage your business. Take a look at this eye-opening formula and see how much your salon is losing each year because of poor customer retention.

Customer Service Formula:
  • Take your Average Annual Revenue Per Customer  X's  The Number of Customers Lost (Customers who leave annually)
    Example:$360 average annual revenue per customer  X's  100 lost customers = $36,000 in Lost Revenue pr year
The real profits that keep a salon and spa running and growing are in the second, third, and fourth sales to the same customer. Without this repeat business, most salons fail - and repeat business hinges more on Exceptional Customer Service than with anything else - including the products or services themselves.

Let's face it, if you are losing customers, you'll soon be losing employees. If you provide customer service training and other tools for all of your employees so that they can improve customer loyalty, they will feel more confident in their own success and the success of your business. You will have more loyal customers and more loyal employees!

Remember . . .

Some salons question whether or not they really have to make this effort. The reality is you really have no other reasonable choice. Customer service training will improve customer retention and ultimately determine whether you are in business next year.

Learn how to establish a consistent, branded customer experience ~ start by training all of your employees!

Ana Loiselle ~ Milady Business Coach and Trainer

Monday, March 22, 2010

Salon Training: Together Everyone Achieves More!

Do you remember the last time you were at a training and it rocked your world? Where were you? Who spoke? What did you learn? What was the benefit?

How often are you at something like that?

Imagine if your team felt that way on a consistent basis inside your salon or spa without having to leave the business.

Training and development that WOWS your staff can happen right inside your own four walls!

Here’s how:

  1. Survey Your Team! Find out from them what type of training they are looking for to continue to grow as a salon and spa professional.
  2. Connect The Dots! Once you know what they want, connect it to what you want. You have an idea of the areas you want to see the business and individuals work on to improve ~ marry both their needs and yours together.
  3. Get Them Involved! If you and your distributor partners are the only people thinking of training topics for your team it is coming from you, not them. People get involved in what they help to create! Ask your team to join you in the effort of creating a training calendar. They will have the chance to step up to the plate and grow ~ AND it helps to save you time as well!
  4. Block Out The Time! Schedule regular trainings on a monthly basis at the minimum. For example, the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 1pm – 4pm. Once it is scheduled, post it for everyone to see.
  5. Set Clear Goals and Expectations! Once the training is created and people are involved, as the leader, you have to set clear goals and expectations and follow through to insure people are actually growing from what they are learning.
When you follow the above steps you will create a robust and healthy training arm of your business, where your team is constantly growing right along with your sales and profits too!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What Are People Saying About Your Salon??

Remember when you were a kid and other kids said you were slow, had “four eyes” or buck teeth? How did your mom tell you to handle that situation? “Just ignore them!” she’d say. Well mom is wrong, at least with respect to what others are saying about your salon or spa.

Did you know that over 90% of unhappy clients will not do business with your salon again and are likely to share their grievance with at least nine other people. Thirteen percent of unhappy clients will tell more than twenty people. In his book, Rule of 3-33, Author Jerry Wilson says for every three people willing to tell a positive story about an experience with your business, there are thirty-three others who will tell a horror story.

If someone was talking about your salon or spa (positively or negatively), you would want to know about it, right? If someone was speaking your praises, you would want to thank them. Conversely, if someone was speaking poorly about your business, you would want to set the record straight. But today, someone can just as easily talk about your business face-to-face as they can post to a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, City Search, etc.

Your business's reputation is just as important in brick-and-mortar as it is online. Customers are not just going to your website to get information about your business. You must also manage your web presence for postings from people outside your organization. The internet is a place where anyone (fan or critic) can express their opinions about anyone and anything. Don't be oblivious (or vulnerable) to rumors, complaints, review sites, blogs, etc.

Let me give you an example: True story from owner Amy Burness, of Victoria's 5th Ave. Salon, in Florida.  A new client came into the salon that works at the Hard Rock Casino. Her expense was great, but her haircut was not what she wanted. It was a little uneven and not short enough for her. The salon called her three days after her service (a follow up system they have in place) and asked her how her experience in the salon was. She said it was "okay." The salon  asked if there was anything they could do for her. The unahppy guest said that her haircut was just not layered enough for her - the salon owner offered for her to come in and have the problem corrected. When she came and got it corrected she loved it so much that over the next couple of months she sent in over 20 of her co-workers to the salon. She can’t stop talking about the salon following up with her to make sure her experience was great. When she came back in for her hair cut she tells the stylist how impressed she was that the salon cared enough to have called to make sure her experience was great. She was one of the 13% of unhappy clients that would have told more than 20 people how unhappy she was, but instead she is telling everyone how impressed she is with the salon.

As a salon or spa owner, are you managing your business's reputation? Do you have follow up systems in place like the above mentioned salon? What tools are you using to find online information? If you have found negative posts, what have you done to curtail the negativity?

Ana Loiselle ~ Milady Business Coach

Monday, March 15, 2010

Salon and Spa Performance Appraisals: Expect - Review - Reward

“People don’t get promoted on Potential”Harry Chambers – Performance Improvement Specialist

In today’s competitive salon and spa environment, your employees represent one of your organization’s most valuable assets. Which means your company’s PRODUCTIVITY—and ultimately, its PROFITABILITY! That’s why a solid performance review process is absolutely critical to the ongoing success of your company.

Managing and mastering successful performance appraisals require that you:
1. Develop clear job descriptions.
2. Communicate clear job performance expectations.
3. Consistently manage those expectations.
4. Clarifying real problems as they arise.
5. Create a path for performance (development plan) ensuring employees are working with their own unique intentions, toward the goals that contribute most to the long-term success of your business.

It’s easy to underestimate how much a well-designed performance review process contributes to overall employee satisfaction, and continued success of your salon and spa. Often owners and managers alike simply spend their time putting out ‘fires’! Unfortunately this ad hoc mentality can actually contribute to employee turnover. In fact, studies show that most workers value clear, consistent feedback and acknowledgement as much as (or more than) they do monetary compensation. When properly administered, performance reviews help your company to MOTIVATE employees from within, RECOGNIZE and COMPENSATE top performers for achieving their goals, REDUCE TURNOVER and ATTRITION, and PROTECT your business legally.

In time, with consistent tracking, reporting and communication, you will find that administering reviews is actually a great way of staying connected and motivating your team to achieve greater success.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Connection Between Training and Retaining Your Generation Y Employees

Many employees view adequate training as an essential element of a satisfying workplace. However, Gen Y sees continuing training as particularly important!

Born between 1981 and 1995, Gen Y has grown up with YouTube, podcasts, and online tutorials, and is used to jumping on the internet and having immediate access to on-demand learning whenever it is convenient for them. They have a sense of entitlement and indispensability. Gen Y’s are “stimulus junkies” and become easily bored due to the advent of technology and instant gratification. Gen Y also wants to understand the big corporate picture – strategy, goals, and values.

To retain this Generation, it requires new training and management strategies - AND, you better get used to it and learn how to deal with them because they are the future! The salon owner and manager that learns how to motivate the Gen Y employee and train them will earn their undying loyalty.

Here are three strategies for managing, training, motivating and retaining Generation Y:

1. Gen Y chooses a salon or spa based on a correlation between the business’ and personal values. Gen Y enjoys clear goals and direction and prefers a management style that respects their knowledge but at the same time guides their career development.

2. Gen Y is tech savvy and their love of technology allows them to adapt to technological advances of training design. Gen Y is responsible for the serge in online training. Discussion forums, instant messaging, blogging and emailing are expected in training.

3.If the course or workshop is to be taught face to face, then create a mixed mode of delivery by storing supplemental exercises, assignments or information on a web site. The design can include pre or post work such as an email writing assignment, online quiz or internet research project.

So what's the lesson for salon and spa owners and managers? For one, if you haven't already adapted a training and learning approach that fits the Gen Y model, get moving! Your best Gen Ys may already be "googling" their next career opportunity!!

If you are looking for ways to beef up your Generation Y training be sure to check out our On-Line Milady U courses.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Leading Your Salon Team to Greatness

Have you ever been in a position where one of your salon employees expected you to have all the answers? Or have you felt, no matter what you said or how many times you said it, your team didn’t follow through or buy into what you wanted? Have you ever felt irritated that your team didn’t get it?

Do you feel alone at the top? No one understands you? Gets you? Cares about what you are going through?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions - first, you are not alone, second, it is OK and third, you can do something about it!

Typically these issues occur due to missing systems that cause stress and upset. Below are four powerful steps you can take to rectify the situation by growing as a leader and communicator:
  1. Vision: As a speaker I ask audiences, time and again, if they have a vision for their salon or spa and if they can clearly articulate it. I usually get a disappointing 1% that raises their hand! In order for you to achieve success you must create a vision - something based upon your values and what drives you to be the best. You have to frame it, hang it on the wall, put it on all of your business cards, menus and letterhead. You have to say it, teach it and make sure everyone knows it, breaths it, is it! Without a vision you are driving a 100 miles per hour down a foggy road and you forget to turn on the defrost - you cannot see where you are going! No wonder no one follows you and you struggle to move your business forward!
  2. Policies and Procedures: Most salons do not think of themselves as a company, a corporation. We look at ourselves as a small business. Whether you are a small business or have tons of employees you have to “think” like a big business! You have to realize that you work in a busy business. The salon and spa environment is so fast paced; it is only magnified and intensified when you do not have policies in place. Having an Employee Handbook, Opening & Closing Procedures, Job Description, etc. eliminates the chaos! These systems are the foundation of the business. When you have these foundations in place you can then coach and lead your team based upon the systems, policies and procedures that your team agreed to follow.
  3. Meetings: As a leader you must meet with your team regularly. You have to have at least a 15 minute huddle with each employee each week. You have to have a team meeting at least once a month. You have to meet with each employee at least once a month and sit down and have a 30 minute to one hour meeting with them. We call this a plan and review. Actually stopping to check in on where they are, how they feel they are doing, what they can improve upon, getting their feedback and ideas on the operation of the business is valuable!
  4. Communication: One thing that we know happens for sure in any business is dealing with the “human factor”, in other words, dealing with peoples emotions and perceptions of each other and the environment we work in. Things happen so fast and upsets are bound to happen. It is natural you will never agree 100% of the time. What typically occurs is upsets take place and they either get stepped over by the people involved and this creates animosity and tension and dilutes the culture of the business. I recommend that you implement policies for dealing with upsets. In our culture we call it our Communication Charter! We have a policy that states if you have an upset with someone you have 24 hours to handle it, if not the culture becomes poisonous. The policy also states how to make requests of each, how to support and coach each other and how to keep your word and listen for what each person you communicate with needs. This is so beneficial, each of us deal with stress and busyness, without these systems in place we are doomed to communication breakdown!

Ultimately, as a leader, the degree of your stress or happiness, your team following through, more real conversations as opposed to back room gossip and finger pointing, can be measured by the systems you have in place and your willingness to follow through and deliver everyday.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Innovation is the Only Way to Win

If you have a fish tank full of the same breed, you have witnessed what ecologists call the competitive-exclusion principle.

Basically, it means that while you’re sharing a relaxing cup of coffee in front of the tank, willing your anxiety away, the school of fish on the other side of the glass are actually doing the same thing! They’re whooshing from one side of the tank to the other, trying to gobble up all the floating flakes you’ve trickled onto the surface. As one fish gets a glimmer of another cache of flakes floating down, it quickly shifts gears and zooms over to the new buffet trying to outdo the crowd, inspiring the remaining fish to follow suit. On and on they go, back and forth across the landscape.

Until one day you notice that a lone fish has broken from the pack and figured out that if he goes in the opposite direction of the crowd, he will be at a buffet alone! Voila! – exclude the competition. Let’s look at a few ways you can exclude your competition.

1. Avoid Creative Destruction As humans we’re often lulled into a sense of complacency by our own desires; for comfort, for a large bank account, for a nice car. And when we reach these goals, we forget that it was creativity that brought the innovations. Remember that the goal of business is not to reach a plateau and stay there. The goal of the business is to develop your creativity bone so that you will be able to consistently meet the market demand with innovative products and services. When you achieve this flexibility, you’ll sleep better at night knowing you can meet every challenge with creativity.

2. Build Change Into the Business Model The forces of change will bring new and varied opportunities to your door. If you and your business model are accommodating and aware, you can open the door and accept the opportunity to increase revenue and the legacy of your business. You can build change into the business model in a variety of ways, starting with rewarding your team for coming up with new ideas, encouraging experimentation, and talking as a group about what’s going on in the market place that is new and exciting.

3. Conduct a Competitive Analysis This is a continuous activity that should have your radar on full time. It’s a good activity to engage with your team as well. Many eyes can be more thorough than just two. Assign a media to each team member and meet regularly to analyze their findings: websites, newspaper and magazine ads, service menus, job ads, press releases, and even the local speaking circuit through women’s organizations and the Chamber of Commerce can provide knowledge as to where your competitors are showing up and why. Using the information from the competitive analysis, you can guess what other business are doing (and not doing), and perhaps even what they’re planning. Look for patterns and anomalies.

4. Get Pro-Active Now it’s time to get pro-active in defining your brand to exclude the competition. If salon and spas A-D in your region are all focused on out doing each other in the quality of their customer service, you not only have to meet the standard they have set, but you also have to discover your unique niche. You have to address an unmet need with a service or product that is not currently available through your competitors, and not likely to be. Many salon and spas are attempting this niche strategy with private label products, others with regional specific experiences. I’ve heard of a few big city salons and spas focusing specifically on recruiting Star List stylists, while a rural salon is spotlighting 2 young color specialists passionate about bringing London chic to the country side.

5. Speak Up and Be Consistent Whatever your unique niche is, your final step is to start communicating your brand to the public. This too requires innovation and consistency that your team should engage in. Every opportunity they and you come in touch with the public should reveal the brand, in your clothes, attitude, stories, behavior. This is why alignment is so very important at this phase. Your public will know that you have chosen the wrong niche if you’ve selected bringing London chic to the countryside if all your stylists look like Ms. Moffit. Choosing to innovate with a new market niche requires alignment across the organization. Engaging the team to develop and own it will make the transition more easeful, and longer lasting.

We’d love to hear your stories of transformation with innovation in a new market niche, or innovative ways of communicating with your clientele. Leave your comments, or call a Milady coach to discuss how we can help you build innovation into your business model. 800-998-2700.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spa and Salon Business: Constant Change and Transformation - The New Necessity

Innovation is a ‘hot’ topic in business today. Businesses continue to grapple with the challenges the recession brings and the subsequent changes in consumer behavior. Put simply, many salon and spa’s just need to find ways to stay alive…but staying alive will not sustain a business long term.

Thriving in today’s economy takes constant change and transformation and a willingness to do so constantly. Yes, the way you used to do business may not be the way you need to do it today. Now more than ever salon and spa owners must take the time to recalibrate their deficient business models and do so on a more frequent basis.

What does it take to change and transform in a disruptive economy? Below are some simple ways to the identifying gaps and opportunities within your business.

1. Acknowledge that there is a problem:
There are still some salon and spa businesses holding out for the economy to ‘right’ itself and return to "normal." Unfortunately that is na├»ve thinking, it’s not going to happen. Constant change is the new normal and a necessity of survival. Success now requires not just doing it better, but mastering the ability to do it differently and quickly. If you are watching your numbers and they are at or below last year then you must recognize that there is a problem. Don’t be fooled and think that you are safe or that it could be worse and thereby breathe a sigh of relief. You need to consider what will have you growing over the next 6 – 12 months and act!

2. Think outside of the box:
Have you considered what would radically change your current salon and spa business model and thereby ensure future success? Many salon and spas pay lip service to being customer-focused, but when it really matters; they simply fall back on the tried and true and continue to look just like every other business in the area. Transformation requires a relentless out of the box thinking. Take the time to identify growth opportunities, assess your capabilities, invest in the future and seize the opportunity.

3. Allocate adequate time and resources to change and transformation?
Every salon and spa is unique and every change is going to require resources to accomplish the proposed change. Resources are not only monetary but time, talent and tenure. Engaging your entire team in the process of innovation will allow you to see opportunities that may have been hidden by your perceptions. Remember, everyone is feeling the effects of the recession and thereby everyone needs to be a part of the solution.

These tips just touch the surface of what it takes to become a transformative business. For more support feel free to contact a Milady coach at 1-800-998-2700 ext 2700.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Leading by a Tale: How To Put Storytelling To Work In Your Salon or Spa

Of all the leadership tools I’ve brought to my clients, the one that was easiest to learn, as well as the most transformative, was storytelling. It’s also the most fun! With this skill you can inspire your people to act in unfamiliar ways as they navigate the transformation you require.


The purpose of any story is to establish trust between you and the listener. Your teams wants to trust your abilities, and believe in your plan. They want to make the business “happen,” as much as you do. That takes immense trust. Gary Morris, CMO of Marketing Advocate, in Centerville, MA said it best: “Only authentic trust accrues into a predisposition to try anything, whether it’s a new product or a new idea.”


The most important story you’ll tell is the Vision story. A vision story takes your listeners from where they are now to where they need to be, with comfort and trust that you truly see and feel your vision.

The Vision Story takes some courage, says Annette Simmons in her book, ‘The Story Factor.’ Its purpose is to “shrink today’s frustration in light of the promise of tomorrow.” The process for change and perspective should be modeled in the story, as in the bricklayer’s parable. All three construction workers are doing the same job, but when asked, one says, ‘I’m laying bricks.’ The second says, ‘I’m building a wall.’ And the third says, ‘I’m building a cathedral.” Your focal point has to include affirmation of the process in all three jobs, while guiding their thinking and activities toward the vision of the completed cathedral.


Empowering the listener to visualize the needed transformation, and then to act on it, can be achieved by exposing your own motivation toward the change. At what moment did you know things had to change? Frame that experience as an obstacle for which you have discovered a solution. What if the solution works? Paint for the listener how things will look once the solution is realized. Make it subjective, from the fountain of passion that brought you to this business in the first place. Lead the listener into the future with a vaguely detailed strategy of how victory over such road blocks will champion any innovations already realized, that progress is in the process of evolution, as a team.

Steve Denning, author of ‘Squirrel Inc.’ knows from his experience at World Bank that “people are more likely to overcome uncertainty about change if they are shown what to aim for rather than what to avoid.” By making your story overwhelmingly positive, with the problem right up in the foreground, you’re presenting yourself as a protagonist in the story.


You have enormous potential to change the minds of your followers - that’s the business you are business truly in! The secret is to learn this method as a way to support the rational analysis that is ever present. Lean on your human intuition born millions of years ago in caves, gathered around the camp fire recanting the days adventures. We’re all hunters and gatherers deep down.

Your followers will rise with abundant energy, mirroring your own, prepared to retell your story whenever they encounter an associate who needs a boost. With storytelling in your tool bag, you’ll now be able to harness your own imagination, and tether it to your company’s evolution—onward and upward!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fulfill Your Staff's Dreams While You Fulfill Yours!

I just returned from the International Salon & Spa Expo in Long Beach, CA. As always, we had fun, the energy was great and people took action to improve their businesses!

As I was presenting my seminar I lead a discussion about how to lead your staff versus manage them and asked a pertinent couple of questions; “How many of you know exactly how much more money each person on your staff wants to make in 2010 from past years and what would they do with that money?’

I was met with an amazing response. No one raised their hand!

It makes sense!  Most of us are so busy working hard and working with clients and don’t have systems in place to understand where the business is - so we just run around reacting to things as they happen. Fundamentally, it becomes all about us, the owner or manager, getting what we need and telling the staff what they have to do. No fault to us, but this is what happens. No wonder no one raised their hand.

The funny thing is, if you want to grow your business, make more profits, have more stability, you need to do this on the shoulders of the people who work "with" you, NOT for you! Get it? This means it is time to adjust your priorities. Take the time to find out what’s important to the people that work for you. What roll can your salon or spa play in helping them to achieve what they want?

In the practice of Dharma, even if one specifically looks to the benefit of other beings, the results that are most assured are those that arise within oneself. Thus it is said that by helping oneself one helps others, and by helping others one helps oneself.

There is an analogy regarding this related by the Buddha in the story of the two acrobats. One form of acrobatics performed in the Buddha's time involved the use of a long bamboo pole, which was balanced on the head and shoulders of one acrobat, while another acrobat balanced himself on top of the pole. They would perform various tricks and balancing acts in this way. Two of these acrobats, master and apprentice, were traveling around the country performing their art.

One day the master said, "Now you keep your eye on me, and I'll keep my eye on you and so keep you from falling off."

The apprentice replied, "Oh, no, master. You should look after yourself while I look after myself. In this way we can perform our act and earn a living in safety."

Thus it is said that looking after ourselves we look after others, and when looking after others we look after ourselves. The practice of Dharma is co-productive in that its effects extend to all beings. When you make it your number one priority to do this you will have a business that thrives and an environment that is magical!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stimulating Growth Starts With Stimulating How You Think!

As a business coach and trainer in the salon & day spa industry I talk and work with a ton of salon and spa owners. We all know the last 2 years has been challenging economically for the whole country and it has had an impact everywhere. In our industry, spa related services have seen a decline, however the most common setback I see and hear is that customers are stretching out their appointments a bit longer.

That being said, in my professional opinion the biggest obstacle we, as an industry face, is the mentality that this type of economic situation can bring. During these times people are more apt to tighten up the purse strings and conserve the best way possible. I am sure that all of you reading this have done so in your personal lives, whether it is brown bagging lunch to work, to cutting back on lattes or not taking that big vacation, all of us have been in a conservation mentality nationwide. When this way of thinking is embedded in our mentality it transfers over to our businesses and this is where a potential problem exists!

It is in these times that a salon & spa owner or manager needs to think and act aggressively, creatively and strategically to build and "stimulate" growth in their business. A great example is the stimulus package our government passed last year, the premise was to "stimulate" growth!

On a small business level our ability as business owners and leaders to look to "stimulate" growth is vital to our success during periods like this. Remember that there will be recession periods and boom markets, the cycles will also continue to evolve around us! The question you have to ask yourself is are you keeping your eyes on this and adapting and attacking or just allowing what is happening around you to dictate how you respond!

As a leader in your business, get on the attack this year, get your team together and get them fired up to grow and serve your clients and your community! Be a resource for the people that live in your area and serve and support them! After all, that is who we are and what we provide!

Remember, you can create your own economic stimulus package right inside your own four walls and it starts with you noticing how you think and relate to the situation!

Monday, January 25, 2010

11 Compelling Reasons To Use a Salon/Spa Coach

The coaching relationship is unique and powerful, and really can help you find fulfillment and prosperity in your life and business. Below are some important reasons to use a Salon/Spa Coach; any ONE of which is compelling enough to get your very own coach.

1. You Are Committed To Success -You are serious and intentional about having a rewarding life and business.

2. You Want Results - Working with a Salon/Spa Coach can move you farther and faster than you can on your own.

3. You Are Willing To Learn - You realize that you don’t know what you don’t know and your future success may depend upon access to new business skills and knowledge.

4. You Are Ready For Action - Using a Salon/Spa Coach can be the most effective means of translating knowledge into practice. One of the most indispensable roles of a Coach is to help you use what you already know to make effective choices and take the actions necessary to be successful.

5. You Want Fulfillment - You do not want to settle for less or risk preventable failure and you are willing to give yourself the gift of the support and technology needed to be successful.

6. You Want To Be True To Yourself - A Salon/Spa Coach helps keep you honest with yourself, helps neutralize any tendency you may have to settle for less than you really want, is good for providing “reality checks” and being a sounding board.

7. You Want To Be Proactive - A Salon/Spa Coach helps you solve problems while they are still small.

8. You Want To Go Beyond Your Limits - A Salon/Spa Coach holds you highest vision for you beyond your fears and limitations and helps you overcome your business and personal obstacles and challenges.

9. You Want To Take Responsibility - A Salon/Spa Coach helps you take responsibility for the quality of your business so that you can create it the way you want.

10. You Want Balance In Your Life - Your life is filled with opportunities and conflicting choices. You recognize the importance of creating and maintaining balance in relationships and business; including the one you have with yourself.

11. You Want New Possibilities For Your Business’ Growth - You recognize that a healthy and prosperous business is growing and dynamic. One of the worst things that can happen is to take the business for granted. Opening to new possibilities keeps a good business getting better with the passage of time. A Salon/Spa Coach helps you continually discover and implement new and more fulfilling possibilities for you life and business.

For more information on coaching write me your questions or fill out our contact form HERE

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Art Of Communication: What to say...When to say it...How to say it!

Have you ever been in a meeting or a one on one conversation and wished you could take back what you said?

Do you find that you tend to avoid ‘difficult’ conversations for fear of looking bad or not having the right answers?

Have you every said to yourself, “I wish I just had a script for what to say?”

If you are like most salon and spa owners you’ve probably found yourself in one or all of the above situations at some point in your career. Many of us avoid those situations for reasons such as; fear of failing, not looking/being smart enough, feeling to vulnerable and the list could go on. Successfully navigating your way through conversations requires practice and patience.

I’ve outlined a process that we use when coaching our clients and it can be applied to every conversation. I call the process the REPEAT and FLIP game. This is a very useful tool in clarifying what the real problem is. It begins with a challenge and you repeat back what you heard them say and ask two key questions over and over until you get to the heart of the situation: “Why?” and “What’s stopping you?”

For example: A technician says, “I never get new clients, they always go to someone else on the team.”

Now follow the process…REPEAT back what you heard them say and then FLIP their question and ask it right back. It could go something like…

What I hear you saying is that you never get new clients because they are always going to other team members.

Why don’t you think you receive any new clients?
(Tech answers: Because you don’t like me)

Why else? (Because there are too many new people and not enough walkins)

What’s stopping you from going out to get your own business? (I’m uncomfortable and don’t want to sound pushy)

Why? (Because I don’t know what to say)

As an owner you’ve now gained insight into the real problem. There is a deeper issue and it relates to training. This technician doesn’t have the necessary tools to effectively and confidently build their business. Had you not asked enough questions you would not have gotten to the heart of the problem. Now you have an opportunity to coach and help them to succeed. Your job is to keep digging until you get to the heart of the problem. Ultimately people need to be heard and held accountable. Following this process can accomplish both.

In this example we used a challenge that is typical of team members.
For the sake of developing the skill set-up uncovering the “real” challenge, take a moment to identify one of the challenges that you face as an owner. Do the work for yourself as it will help to further develop the skill to enable you to walk team members through their own challenges when the time comes.

For more help on communicating effectively contact a Milady coach at 1-800-998-7498 x 2700.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wanted – LEADERS!

I attended a senior job fair recently at my children’s high school. Many local businesses were represented with attractive booths and flashy recruiting brochures. Everyone arrived with the same intention: to attract the best candidates to holiday and part-time positions. I watched the seniors file between the booths during their breaks between classes and eventually realized I could group all the students in one of three participant categories:

1. Grab and stuff: These seniors took material indiscriminately from every booth and stuffed it all in their back packs to read later.
2. Move in packs: These seniors moved together in groups, investigating one booth at a time until everyone in their group got a predetermined set of questions answered, including ‘Where are you located,’ and ‘What is entry level pay?’
3. Stalk and attack: These seniors may walk through the job fair two or three times before stopping at a few select booths.

Danielle was a stalker. She eyeballed my client’s booth three times before she finally stopped to learn about the part-time position available in a local day spa. She didn’t ask where we were or what the position paid. She asked, “What’s it like to work in your spa?” After a pleasant conversation about the culture of the company, training opportunities, services they provide clients, etc. I asked Danielle, “What made you stop at this booth and not the others?”
“Easy,” she said, “the way you were all talking to each other, I dunno, something about your body language told me you’re really into it.”

Cryptic as that answer sounds, Danielle nailed the difference between leadership and management – leaders are really “into it.” There was a moment in my client’s professional life when she came to me asking, “Why do my people leave me?” I told her to either improve her ability to manage the ‘grab and stuff’ and ‘move in packs’ laborers, or consider becoming the kind of leader who can attract the ‘stalk and attack’ team members that will follow her to all ends of the earth. It’s a personal choice.

Not everyone can be a leader. Some businesses remain operational for generations with owner managers who swing the employee revolving door themselves; never making the choice to evolve into the kind of leader Danielle will seek.

Let’s take a closer look at a few differences between leaders and managers.

Can you think of any other differences, now that you’ve found yourself in either column? Leadership is both a decision, and a set of competencies that can be learned and practiced. It takes a quality vision, and a desire to take risks to become the leader your people need now. A coach is best suited to bring you to the leadership decision, and engage you in activities designed to expand your abilities because they operate from a position of where you are today, as a person. Business ownership is only one aspect of your life. However, it cannot be addressed as separate from the rest of your being. Your family, your past, and your deepest fears – everything affects the way you lead or manage your team. Working in a space where a business coach can accommodate and eventually leverage all aspects of your character in your future success as a leader is both a unique challenge, and a mutual honor.

For more information on our Salon & Spa Coaching CLICK HERE

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Which Do You Need For Your Salon: a Teacher, a Consultant, or a Coach?

Educators deliver the “What?” Trainers deliver the “How?” Coaches inspire the “Why?”

What an excellent question! The answer depends on whether you need help with management or leadership. Typically, a consultant is called in to diagnose difficulties, propose solutions, create the fix, and apply the fix. They aren’t necessarily trainers or educators, so when they leave, the expertise goes with them. The next time you have a similar issue; guess who you get to pay again?

I know this is a bit of a generalization. But I’ve noticed the terms “consultant” and “coach” are interchanged all too often today, confusing the true mission and focus of a good business coach.

A coaching practice, whether it focuses on life or business, is built around a strong competency to ask the right questions, not necessarily to diagnose problems, though that is one of the outcomes. A good coach will raise your awareness to a level of understanding so you can evolve into a higher level of understanding, and continue that evolution after your business relationship has ended. You get to keep all the tools the coach has transferred to you.

Coaching sounds a bit like teaching, or training. However, the information a teacher delivers is really one way, and they aren’t necessarily vested in your using the new information to your highest ability. Similarly, a trainer focuses more on making sure you can mimic the same process, without really taking its purpose into consideration. Coaching is about the client’s business model, not the consultant’s.

Think of it this way: Educators deliver the “What?”; Trainers deliver the “How?”; and Coaches inspire the “Why?” If you’ve had employees or children, you know that when you’ve inspired someone to ask “Why?”, they will soon discover the “What?” and “How?” on their own.

Join me again next week when I’ll examine the difference between managing and leading. Until then, you can receive a free business analysis to see if you could benefit from working with a coach.