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!