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.