Salon and Spa Owners: Your Business Needs Your Leadership Now

Salon and Spa Owners: Your Business Needs Your Leadership Now

December 28, 2020  /  By Neil Ducoff

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During the shutdown, salon management owners were in leadership hyperdrive helping employees with unemployment, securing PPP and EIDL funding, and doing everything possible to keep their cultures intact.

When it was time to reopen, owners stayed locked in leadership hyperdrive making sure all sanitation protocols, PPE and their employees were prepared to safely welcome clients back.

If the pandemic demonstrated anything, it was how quickly owners can rise to the challenge to be the leader their companies and employees need to get through this crisis.

So why the urgent call for you to step up your leadership now?

No matter how well your leadership was dialed in during the COVID-19 shutdown and reopening, there are signs that old habits, procrastination and hesitation are settling back in.

Simply put, that “whatever it takes” focus that got big things done starts sounding more like “it can wait.”

FACT #1: This pandemic is far from over. Medical experts warn that the coming weeks and months will see an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases.

FACT #2: With such a high level of economic uncertainty as we enter the New Year, owners must be on their “whatever it takes” leadership game.

Here are six strategies to get and stay on your “whatever it takes” leadership game:

  1. High productivity and efficiency are a must: Your productivity rate and efficient use of time is more important than ever — especially if mandated occupancy rates stay unchanged or go down. Low productivity and efficiency drive your cost per hour and profit. KEY: The two best drivers of productivity are prebook and client retention.
  2. Build and protect cash reserves: Cash is fuel for your business, especially in times of crisis. In these times of extreme uncertainty, managing cash has never been more urgent. KEY: You must have, and live by, your cash-flow plan. You must pay attention to your financial reports. You must be committed to building and protecting a three- to four-month cash reserve to cover operating costs. Do it. No excuses.
  3. Don’t make it all about the numbers: Yes, critical numbers tell you how your business is performing. But if every huddle, one-on-one and communication from you to your employees is all about the numbers — you’re delivering the wrong message. KEY: Critical numbers are an outcome of how work is done, well-designed systems, and teamwork. Work on behaviors. Refine your systems. Cheerlead your team. They need inspiration and leadership. Don’t beat them up with the numbers.
  4. Hitting goal means no missed opportunities: How many clients go to checkout without a prebook date and retail recommendation? How many service providers struggle to work within time standards? How many service providers miss opportunities to up-sell? Is every client getting a consultation that could result in add-on services? KEY: How you engage as a leader and hold yourself and your team accountable to create opportunities that turn into cash flow.
  5. Relentlessly recruit — hire smart: Recruiting has never been tougher than it is today. You can’t wait until an employee leaves, or you’re starting to turn clients away, to recruit. KEY: Relentlessly recruit. Constantly recruit. Make your salon/spa a recognized name at schools. When was the last time you reviewed your recruiting page on your website? Does it truly reflect the opportunities your company offers? Are you listing career opportunities on websites like And remember to hire smart. Multiple interviews. Check references.
  6. Culture and employee retention: The absolute best way to take the pressure off the need to recruit is to retain the employees you have. And the absolute most effective employee retention factor is your salon/spa culture. KEY: People want to be part of something special. They want to contribute and make a difference. They want to feel appreciated. Great engaging cultures don’t happen on their own. Great cultures reflect leadership. Great cultures require transparency, integrity, and high trust. Building and protecting your company culture is a leadership responsibility. The more committed you are as the leader, the higher your employee retention will be. Salon management software can help.

Here’s my challenge to you: If you dialed back your leadership engagement since reopening, your rest period is officially over.

This pandemic will be throwing obstacles at your salon/spa well into 2021. Use the above six strategies to re-engage and get back on your leadership game.

Neil Ducoff Thumb

About Our Guest Contributor

Neil Ducoff, Strategies

Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the professional beauty industry. His is a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker, an award-winning author, and the creator of the Team-Based Pay System. Ducoff is the author of Fast Forward, the definitive business resource book for salons and spas. and No-Compromise Leadership, winner of the 2010 IPPY Award for Business. His latest book, Wake Up!, contains 114 fast and powerful strategies to achieve extraordinary next level success.


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