After an intense day on Sunday, March 18, 2012, at the Strategies’ Incubator class, SALON TODAY 200 salon owners returned for Day Two (Monday, March 19, 2012,) with their Cash-Flow Projection sheets filled out and ready to go for another day of learning Strategies’ business systems. Certified Strategies Coach Daryl Jenkins started off the class by asking everyone about their Cash-Flow Projection sheets, which they were required to fill out for homework. (Think of these sheets as the ultimate spreadsheet that outlines all areas in your business of where you spend money). Most of the salon owners agreed that it was pretty rough at first, but after filling them out, they had a better idea of where their businesses stand today.

The next step on their journey was yesterday’s class, where they learned how to create an ultimate salon/spa business game plan. Topics primarily covered Team Service and Team-Based Pay. To kick off the slide show presentation yesterday, Jenkins talked about the importance of teamwork. “Team means building a loyal clientele to the business, and meeting customer needs at the highest level,” he says. “It’s crucial to build clients for the business and not to create individual followings. In order to do this you need to have your employees ‘touch’ every client, greet every client, and help every client.” Jenkins said if it’s hard to implement this kind of practice, he recommends staying consistent with your practices and you will eventually see improvements.

“They need to trust you as a company,” he says. “They need to know that the quality of service they receive from one person at your salon, they can get from another person as well.” Jenkins says everyone should have the same outlook and approach to servicing clients (plus have the technical skills of course). One salon owner in the Incubator recommended offering additional services with other employees in your salon so clients can build trust with them. Use teamwork to better a client’s service. Another salon owner said basically you need to “put the spin on what you can do for them, and 90 percent of the time they will say ‘yes’.”

Jenkins also touched on the topic of a waiting list. He said that many salon owners feel that having a waiting list is a good thing—it shows you’re busy and wanted. However, he says that really it’s not as good as it looks—rather, if you have a waiting list, then your business is really at a gridlock. “You need to get clients off the waiting lists and you're your non-busy employee’s chairs,” he says. “A waiting list is a sign of inefficiency and lack of teamwork. These clients are going to get sick of waiting and go somewhere they can get their service done, and then probably come back later. By them seeking somewhere else to go you’re loosing that business.” Jenkins says that each team member in your salon should take responsibility for every hour in the appointment book or schedule. “A client’s time should be more important than your own,” he says.

One salon owner brought up a good point during this discussion—’don’t just focus on teaching your staff, focus on teaching your clients as well. Once you establish long-term clients, write down a recommendation for someone else just incase you’re not around.’ Recommendations always carry more weight when you’re a service provider. If your client trusts you, then your word is gold.

Neil Ducoff took over the second part of the day and discussed Team-Based Pay, which is based on a service provider’s performance (rather than sales). In order to implement this program, Ducoff discussed five non-negotiable points.

1. It must fit the financial reality of the business.
2. It must be a controllable expense, not a fixed percentage of revenue.
3. It must encourage and reward the right behaviors and performance
4. It must communicate clear guidelines and pathways for individual growth
5. It must inspire and reward teamwork, and the attainment of company goals.

Some salon owners were concerned that if they implemented a Team-Based Pay system, people would leave. “Some people do leave. However, it’s more important to realize that these people who do leave probably didn’t fit your salon’s culture in the first place,” says Ducoff. “Sometimes, it can even be a good thing. Some salons are overstaffed, so this fixes the problem. Employees need to realize that if they work hard they will be rewarded. However, they will have more requirements in order to move up the system.”

Even though I had to leave yesterday, I had a fantastic time meeting all the SALON TODAY 200 owners that could make it out to the Strategies’ Incubator. Not only was it a great networking opportunity for everyone, it was a way for salon owners to really deep dive into what systems are working and not working in their salons. Most of all, I think everyone I talked to while I was there had an “Ah-Ha!” moment. And we all know, those are the best kinds of moments. ☺

Stay tuned for more photos on SALON TODAY’s Facebook from the Incubator.

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