When coaching salons and spas, there’s one line that I hear all too often from employees: “If I wanted a real job I would go work for XYZ Company.” Is there something “fake” about a job in a salon or spa? The answer is an emphatic “no.” Jobs in our industry are as real as any other. Given the aspirations for earning big paychecks, receiving great benefits and working in a dynamic and growing business, structure is non-negotiable. Structure ensures efficiency, productivity, consistency and predictability. Lack of structure ensures chaos, conflicting agendas, dissension, stagnancy and, worst of all, uncertainty.

Call it leadership, accountability, systems, standards of performance, or policies and procedures, it all refers to the structure that supports your business. And let’s not forget that your business structure must stand on a rock-solid foundation of trust, values and respect. Given the labor-intensive nature of salons and spas, anything less than a deliberate and structured approach to business Infuses mediocrity into all activities. Mediocrity never wins in business.

Here’s the reality and the challenge. Entrepreneurial businesses are notoriously unstructured. And the more unstructured your business, the more resistance to change you’ll encounter. Here are three rules to guide you to a structured business:

  1. No one person, group or system can be excluded from change. Be prepared to go all the way or not at all.
  2. Don’t expect new behaviors and performance if your pay system continues to reward the behaviors and performance you’re trying to change.
  3. Relentlessly communicate the new vision, mission and objectives of the business. The shift to structure begins with you, the leader. You must be willing to go the distance, have those fierce conversations and make the toughest decisions that lead to success. Want some motivation? Well, here it is. Individuals and families depend on you to lead and create prosperity and security. Your business is your creation—your dream. Winning is tough work. Winning comes from structure. In business, winning is the only option. No compromise.

 Nell Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the salon and spa industry. For more information, go to www.strategies.com.