This blog originally appeared on strategies.com.
I just read a Facebook post from a salon owner saying that, after almost four decades in business, he was closing his salon.
He said, “I had enough … I quit.”
It breaks my heart to hear when an owner decides to close his or her business. Here’s why:
- The period leading up to the decision to close is pure agony.
- Making the decision public can crush self-esteem.
- The pain doesn’t stop with closing the doors. Debt doesn’t evaporate. Landlords want their money and have the owner’s personal guarantee on the lease. Any IRS back taxes will still need to be paid.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY … In almost every case, closing the business doesn’t have to happen. Why? Because “closing” is the result of bad decisions, lack of action, poor financial skills, fear, and lack of leadership.
FACT: Just like building a successful career requires relentlessly hard work and overcoming obstacles, so does building a successful salon/spa. To succeed, there’s no such thing as “easy” or lack of risk-taking.
To succeed, your tenacity, leadership, and self-discipline are going to be tested every step of the way. Got it?
I could fill the rest of this blog post with inspirational sayings like, “Successful people do what others will not,” but succeeding in business requires a hell of a lot more than inspirational quotes.
To achieve long-term business success, and prevent your business from sucking the life out of you, you must embrace these SIX disciplines:
- Show up as the leader every day: If you’re okay owning a country club where there are few rules, lack of structure, and little to no accountability — your business will not only suck the life out of you, it will continue to beat you up until you decide to step up and lead your company.
- Recognize the warning signs: Business problems and challenges don’t begin as a crisis; they appear as little warning signs that get bigger and uglier until you decide to do something. If cash is seriously tight, then tight cash flow is the warning sign. You need to find the cash drain. The most common cause is an unsustainable payroll. What are you going to do about it?
- Problems NEVER fix themselves: In leadership, procrastination, indecisiveness, and fear of change is downright lethal. If you can identify anything as a problem … it is a problem and won’t go away until you address it and address it thoroughly. If you sometimes feel like a firefighter, constantly putting out fires, it’s because you allowed problems to get out of hand.
- Financial health is a discipline: In business, profit is an outcome and cash flow is fuel. If your net profit is slim or non-existent, you need a heavy dose of financial literacy. As owner and leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you manage and conserve how much cash is in your company’s fuel tank. It’s not rocket science — it’s a learned discipline.
- Culture reflects leadership: Too many owners complain about employee challenges, lack of performance, commitment, engagement, and more. When you check out, your team checks out. If you want to own and lead a well-oiled business … you’re the one holding the oil can and are responsible for using it.
- Indecision feeds fear — decisiveness crushes fear: Without question, making tough decisions is part of business ownership. Not every decision is going to have your employees cheering with excitement. That’s why they’re called tough decisions. Too often, owners fear making tough decisions “because one or more employees may quit.” Well, what’s going to happen to the company’s wellbeing and the livelihoods of the rest of the employees if the tough decision is avoided? The answer is simple, nothing positive. Be the No-Compromise Leader your company and your employees need you to be. That’s your job. That’s how you grow a successful company.
Here’s my challenge to you: If you want to have some amazing days as an owner, you need to work through the days that suck. And the more you work through the days that suck, the fewer sucky days you’ll have.
Being an entrepreneur means starting a company, growing it … and ultimately selling it to earn your reward for the years of hard work and dedication.
Closing a company because you’ve had enough may be the best decision for some owners.
Just don’t blame “the industry,” employees, government, and everything else for your decision. Why? Because ALL business challenges can be overcome — or avoided entirely,
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