There Are No Shortcuts To Building A Successful Salon Or Spa

successful salon

Guest Article by Richard McCabe, Coach at iSalon Coaching

There are no quick fixes in this industry, no ‘fad diets’ and no ‘one size fits all’ to build a successful salon or spa. It’s a long-haul game, and those that realise this are the ones that stay true to their beliefs and their core values. As time goes on, these salon owners’ lives will get easier, and because their team will have been built on the right values, their business is going to be as strong as an ox.

Why The ‘Fad Diets’ Just Don’t Support Sustainable Growth

Taking a salon from adolescence to maturity is a no-brainer. That being said, it has to be done well, and the problem is that many salon owners try to skip the hard work of building proper successful salon systems and hiring staff that fit their culture.

Growing Your Business: From Early Days To Successful Salon

As your salon moves through rapid growth, it can be tempting to skip the hard work. Don’t. To take your salon to the next level, you need to surround yourself with experts in their fields or learn what you can about the subjects you find difficult. This is not a time to shy away from the roles you dislike; it’s time to face your demons.

Take staff for instance – when things get a bit crazy and clients are arriving by the truckload. You’ll find yourself thinking, “I cannot wait for my apprentice, I need help now.” So, you go out and find qualified staff, you test them and they are good at their craft. Following their hire, the craziness eases for a while; things seem to be back under control. Unfortunately, you find out a few months down the road that the staff member wasn’t the person you thought they were and the cracks start to appear. You know that if you let them go, the craziness will return, so you let the misdemeanours go by without saying anything. It’s easier to keep the peace.

It’s easier to keep the peace.

But is it?

Remember when you started your salon. Perhaps you opened with a helper or two and would have spent time training them to be the best they could be, so then they could look after your clients your way and embrace your vision.

But it seems your clients are growing faster than the assistant, and you need to keep up with demand. The money you are losing turning away clients is making you opt to skip the training and go and find experienced help. Your apprentice’s training slows down, you have support now, and the chaos is eased. You put their training on the back burner and concentrate on the new staff member – besides, they are making you money. The new staff member finally reins in the chaos and creates order.

Little do you know, they are slowly going to kill the core beliefs that made your salon so popular.

Related | Richard McCabe On Building A Salon Culture & Systemising Business Operations

It Gets Worse

Other staff members begin to grumble – it used to fun, but now things have gotten serious. The old staff feels sorry for the apprentice, their friend, their helper, and their work mate. The apprentice feels used and deflated, even feels like giving up. The passion has been taken away. The team’s creative magic seems to have gone, too.

Sure, you have all the clients under control, but you seem to be now putting out fires ignited by staff who have started complaining about silly little things. You’re so busy in stuck in the midst of all this that you don’t see what is going on from the outside. We all know what is coming next. The new staff member feels left out, you have words with the old staff, demanding them to accept the new staff member. They feel like you do not see the full story, cracks are now becoming gaping holes, and all you seem to care about is that more clients need to be looked after.

It’s now a ‘you against them‘ game, and there can only be one loser. This all happened because you tried to cut corners.

The truth is, it’s impossible to grow your team at the same rate as your client base, so a compromise is needed. So many owners always choose the money and client option before their team. There are no shortcuts to getting a strong, mature and successful salon, so don’t run before you can walk.

Thanks for reading,

#LetsGrow

Related | Building A Great Salon And Spa Culture: Ideas & Resources


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Richard McCabe, iSalon Coaching

Richard McCabe is a highly motivated salon business coach who has a proven track record in providing exemplary levels of service to salons. He has been a successful salon owner for over 25 years, and also built three salons from scratch in two different countries. Richard’s passion to deliver value-focused solutions whilst beating expectations is based on the idea of working smarter and leaving the harder for others.

Featured imaged shot on location of Aviary Lane, Dublin. © 2017 Phorest Salon Software.