Management Practices

From Making Ends Meet to Achieving Financial Freedom

Sara Altizer | May 12, 2017 | 9:27 AM
Angela Nunn, owner of Salon Muse and Blow Dry Lounge in Louisville, Kentucky, with her family who were a big inspiration for strengthening her business. 
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The exterior of Salon Muse and Blow Dry Lounge in Louisville, Kentucky.
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The team from Salon Muse and Blow Dry Lounge.
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A startling one in three small businesses will close their doors within two years of opening. Salon Muse & Blow Dry Lounge in Louisville, Kentucky was dangerously close to becoming a part of this statistic. Angela Nunn became the owner after one year of salon experience and a bachelor’s degree under her belt. With the help of Summit Salon Business Center, she was able to go from unsteady cash flow, wild turnover, and weak leadership to a 90 percent increase in sales, a paid-off loan, and loyal staff in only four years.

In business, it always comes down to the bottom line. Having a strategic financial plan for a salon company is vital to ensuring success.

“Keeping a balance in the bank felt like trying to keep my head above water,” Nunn explains. “I was always worried about having enough to cover the bills and payroll. At times we would take money from our personal account to cover payroll. I had hit a breaking point. I felt exhausted. My book was carrying the weight of the salon. I had just had my son and felt the pressure of having to be stable and provide for my family. I decided I needed help and needed to make a change or it was time to close the doors to the business.”

Summit Salon Consultant Deb McMahan used the Summit Salon Business Scorecard to start the conversation on mapping out a financial plan for Salon Muse. “I now know exactly what to pay my stylists, how to manage retail commissions, and how many front desk staff I can afford,” Nunn explains. “I give myself at least $2,000 a month. I still like to keep the bank account full. I think it is because of the past, but within the next three to six months, all debt will be paid and I will take a nicer paycheck.”
Salon Culture is defined as the attitudes, values, and beliefs that make up a salon company. This culture greatly effects the direction of the company. Signs of a healthy culture are a career-minded staff who are loyal and trust in the salon company.
“Turnover was high because when I purchased the business I was a young stylist and had only worked at the salon for a year,” Nunn explains. “When I became the owner, a few stylists really had issues with the changes I made. I feel as though it was hard for some of the stylists to accept me as the new owner. The stylists had been working there for a while together so the new owner threw them for a loop. I do not think that they respected me as their boss and new owner of the business.”
Implementing the Summit Salon Systems brought about even more change to Salon Muse, and initially caused a great deal of concern. “I had an employee whom I cared for very much, but she did not like change and would not participate in the Summit. She did not believe in the system and could not see the benefits. I wished her the best and told her she had to move on,” Nunn says. “As hard as it all was in the moment—feeling overwhelmed and defeated—it was all completely worth it.”
The Summit Salon Systems bring more accountability to the stylists and map out a comprehensive career path, showing stylists step by step how they can earn a six-figure income, if they choose to. As a result, the culture at Salon Muse & Blow Dry Lounge is much more positive. The stylists have begun to see personal growth and the growth and stability in the business. “The goal setting is great,” Nunn explains. “I love that the goals for the stylist are black and white and they know exactly what they need to do to hit the next level. They are in charge of their success and there are no grey areas with the goals.”
Amy Reid is a Level 2 stylist at Salon Muse & Blow Dry Lounge. She sees more than a hundred guests a month and is above her service goal and retail goal for the year. “With the Summit Salon Systems, goals are set and that encourages me to want to achieve those goals. It is not overwhelming and allows you to work at a pace that is comfortable for you to make your goal a reality. It keeps me on track and pushes me to keep setting goals and reaching them.”
Leadership is built on respect, trust, and a strong sense of accountability. The career path and monthly personal development meetings take the guesswork out of leadership and mentoring. Plus, having a Summit Salon Consultant to guide, assist, and encourage a salon owner every step of the way builds a confidence in the owner’s ability to lead a company to great heights.
“Honestly, in those first few years, I know that my management was not great,” Nunn says. “I had a business degree but had never been in a leadership position and responsible for so much. I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders. In the beginning I was running on excitement; I was trying to fix things in the business that needed to change, trying to grow a clientele, and keep the business growing all while getting resistance from some of the stylists.”
“I had taken out a loan, my mom had given me opening cash, and I had employees who depended on their jobs,” Nunn says. “I could feel that pressure, and I was insecure and not very confident. Now that I’ve had the help of my Summit Salon consultant and have implemented the Summit Salon Systems, I definitely feel more respected as an owner. The goals are already set and each stylist knows their responsibilities. What I expect from them is clearly stated. They know that I believe in them and in their success. We work together to build a successful business. I have learned that everyone needs to see the same future and be going in the same direction.”
“Everyday there are challenges, but the stress level is much better than it once was,” Nunn explains. “I enjoy watching the business grow, but I truly enjoy watching and helping stylists hit their goals and become more successful. I love to see a stylist give up her second job because no longer needs the extra income or when stylists are able to buy a new car or a new house.”
“Summit Salon Business Center showed me that I am not alone,” Nunn explains. “When I attended The Summit and talked with other salon owners who were having the same problems and issues, I felt relieved. When you are going through problems sometimes you think it is all you and no one else has experienced it. I also felt secure knowing that Summit Salon Business Center could not only identify common problems, but had solutions for improving every aspect of a salon company. I still tear up when I think about how hard I struggled in those first few years. But the hard times teach you lessons and make you who you are. No matter how much money we make or how big we grow, I will never forget where I came from.”

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