Phorest FM Episode 107: Steve Gomez On Listening To What Your Salon’s Numbers Are Telling You & Coaching Accordingly

As a coach, Steve Gomez supports salon professionals to create breakthrough results when it comes to growing their sales, client base and profits. To do this, he is committed to helping the industry recognise that how you view yourself and your business more often than not dictates personal and professional results. On this episode, he joins Killian and Zoe to discuss interdependent leadership and how to put emotions aside to coach based on data-backed decisions.


Stephen Gomez

Steve Gomez is recognised as one of the top business systems experts in the beauty and wellness industry. With over 24 years of business coaching experience combined with a background in marketing, communication and operations, he has personally supported hundreds of salons and spa businesses throughout his career. Steve specialises in helping salons increase sales, implements systems to enhance their financial and operational functionality and strengthens the culture of the business through leadership development.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 107. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week on the show we’re joined by Steve Gomez who, recognised as one of the top business system experts in the beauty and wellness industry, will be sharing some key insights into understanding what stories salon and spa numbers share about your performance and how to coach based on that rather than off emotions.

Killian Vigna: So grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning Zoe!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian. How are you doing this morning?

Killian Vigna: I’m good, yeah. I feel really fresh considering it’s a Monday.
I don’t know why. I think I just like did absolutely nothing this weekend. Just kept it chill, and I’ve just been full of energy today, so maybe I need not do stuff at weekends anymore!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Maybe! Well, listen. Before we get into the show, I know you’ve been talking about books that we’ve been reading and stuff. We have started doing that. I’m not personally finished “Good Strategy, Bad Strategy.” I’m not going to be talking about that, but I do have something instead, if you’re down for that!

Killian Vigna: What do we got?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, I’ve been subscribed to – I’m a huge fan of Seth Godin – and I’ve been subscribed to his little prompts for over well a year. And there’s this one that came in recently called, “When You’re Over Your Head.”

So, he talks about two different types of problems: big wave problems and deep water problems. Essentially, he says, if you’re known for doing projects that work, usually, the stakes go up over time. Meaning, more inputs, more decisions, more pitfalls. And his analogy, he uses it with water because he’s like if it’s a deep water problem, you know… if you’re used to swimming in water, it doesn’t matter if the water is six feet deep or sixty feet deep. It’s the same principle. It’s the same technique.

For instance, if you are giving a speech to a thousand people, it’s the same if you are giving a speech to twenty-thousand people. It’s only the narrative about the stakes involved that are different.

Whereas, if you’re used to surfing short waves, and then you go over to Asia, and face 25 feet waves, the technique is completely different. In that case, he’s like, “Take a lesson, or take five.” To quote him actually, he says, “Give yourself the room to learn. Don’t jump from six to 25 in a day. And don’t assume that just because you’ve figured out how to survive a 25, that you’re ready for 50. Big waves are usually right next to big reefs.”

So long story short, he’s like, look at what you’re facing this way: is it a deep water problem? Or a big wave problem? And he explains in his prompt, and to quote him again, “Our careers often offer us big wave moments. When you see one, don’t walk away right away, but get yourself a coach.”

Introducing Steve Gomez [02:47]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And it turns out that we do have a coach on the show today. Steve, it’s a pleasure to have you on! Thank you so much for joining us on Phorest FM.

Killian Vigna: Welcome to the show, Steve.

Steve Gomez: Well, it’s my honour to be with you guys. I’m super inspired! Zoe, why don’t you keep going?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s all I’ve got for today!

Killian Vigna: Had that one cued up there! It’s about a week or two old, that one. I do remember it because I got the email updates.

But they are really cool for anyone who does want to check it out. Seth Godin, he does a mini-blog every day. They’re only like two, three lines, maybe a paragraph, but it goes out every single day. It’s just really short — some really good advice like that.

But yeah, bringing it back then to today’s show, welcome Steve.

The last time we were speaking to you was, over a few Guinness anyway, definitely over a few Guinness.

Steve Gomez: Indeed, he was!

Killian Vigna: We’re in much better states now. You were a speaker at the Salon Owners Summit 2019. Isn’t that right?

Steve Gomez: Yes, I was. It was my honour to be with all of you and to be with everybody that was there. It was such a blast.

Killian Vigna: It was great craic. Again, fair play to Sinead Carol and all the team for putting that together. It was phenomenal!

Steve Gomez: Indeed, it was. You’re only as good as the education that you continually ingest, and the people and community that you put yourself around. And events like that are so important to be a part of. While technological advances allow us to do what we’re doing right now, and people learn whether they learn auditorily, learn visually, whether they learn in person, or literally picking up a book and reading, being in a communal environment with like-hearted and like-minded people that are committed to accelerate growth and transform themselves, creates magic. That event certainly was that.

Killian Vigna: Sometimes, it can feel intimidating going to an event like that when you’re on your own. But like you said, what’s your objective for being there? What goals are your hoping to get out of it? Just focus on those, and that will get you through it.

Interdependent Leadership: developing leaders [04:54]

Killian Vigna: Steve, do you want to share with us what exactly it was you were doing then? You were talking about different styles of learning. You were hosting a workshop, so it was kind of like a facilitation, was it?

Steve Gomez: Correct, correct. I did a workshop called “Interdependent Leadership.” It was based on my book of the same title. My philosophy is one of inclusion. It’s one thing if I’m a salon or spa owner, or thought leader, to take the time to analyse something, learn something, about what’s occurring in the business, either culturally, financially, or systemically. It’s a whole other ballgame to take that “a-ha” that I’m having, and build a bridge and get the team over here to my way of thinking perception and seeing things. My workshop was really just giving people a taste of what are different ways that you can do that in a shorter period of time, and why it’s so important to get the team involved in not only understanding what’s occurring but most importantly, in the decision making process.

Typically, an owner will see something and then go in and tell the team what they’re seeing and what needs to be done. So then the team, if they are aligned with the values and vision of the organisation, will rally behind it and follow through. But in that moment, you have a group of soldiers going to fight for where the owner is going.

When you are taking the time to… Instead of telling the team what you see, first asking questions to find out what they see, and to make them do the digging to get them as close to what you see as possible. Then by the nature of them putting their thinking caps on, they are learning more, they are growing more. They’ve got more involvement.

The more involved you get somebody, the more you challenge somebody to think about what’s happening instead of just acting, instead of having a good soldier that is going to go do something that you told them to do, you have somebody that is a thought leader. So now you have a group of leaders who are moving in that direction.

It’s one of my commitments to this life, and to everybody that I engage, and are in our industry, is to support people to first think about what’s going on. If we’re all spending time sitting around thinking about it, a lot of times, people are like, nothing is getting done.

No, something is getting done. Thinking through something is actually an action. It’s not just get up and sweep the floor faster. It’s how we can do that in a way that is done faster? Are we really working hard there, and we could be working smarter. What are different ways we can do things?

That’s really what I was touching on. I also touched on the importance of understanding what your key performance indicators are in your business so that you can look at what the numbers are saying to you. Your business is constantly communicating to you and sending you messages.
If you aren’t financially organised, you don’t have all the raw data you need in front of you, whether it’s from your profit and loss statement and your financials to the empirical data you can pull from your software.

If you’re unable to get that information in front of you, then typically you’re managing from emotion and reaction. You’re not managing and leading from something undeniable.

I think one of my favourite stories about that is; I got to listen to Jim Collins speak at an ISPA conference that I was presenting at. He’s one of my favourite authors. He wrote a book called “Good to Great.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: We all read it in Phorest, yeah.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, it’s a mental requirement.

Steve Gomez: It was wonderful to read the book, and then years later, get a chance to hear him. And he shared the story about the race to the North Pole; how it came down to two guys that wanted to get to the centre of the North Pole. And, the one gentleman that won, he won because he was using empirical data to lead him and guide him. He was charting the path. He didn’t just have maps, but he was using geometry and calculus, and he was getting clear about the weight and measures of his sledge. And the inertia put out by the dogs. And the conditions and environment that they were in. And just charting everything mathematically to get to where they needed to get to, and they won the race.
It’s one of my favourite analogies as it relates to the ability of, you don’t have to go faster to get there. You have to start by understanding what’s occurring, what you have to work with, who you’re working with, and then how you want to go from there.

Typically, we’re trying to figure out the “how stuff” first. My session really danced around those type of things. How to understand where we are, what’s the starting point, why are we there, what are all the tools that we should be using. And the two most important ones in the time I had to be with everybody at the Summit that I wanted to convey is, get the empirical data in front of you, and get people involved in the process of creation. It’s at the genesis of creation that if we are all doing things together, you increase the percentage of accomplishing what you want to quicker, and you increase the percentage of people becoming more loyal to you, to the brand, and the cause . That’s really what I danced around.

Changing mindsets: values, habits and behaviours [10:31]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Steve, you got your start working in the industry through your family business.

Steve Gomez: Correct.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You’ve gone through a lot of adventures. You did share one of the stories at the Summit where the tax man just left you essentially in debt, and you lost business, and then you created a new one, sold it, and everything. So you have gone through a lot in building your businesses, and building successful businesses as well.

You were saying at the Summit, I remember, although that, financials were somewhat a foreign beast to you, I think is what you said, but today you specialise in helping salons increase sales and stuff!

For anyone out there listening, and who isn’t exactly the most analytical – like empirical data is tough. I mean, how do you learn to understand the story behind numbers? It’s not always going to be black on white. How do you read between the lines?

Steve Gomez: I love that you asked me that. And you are very right. I never got past algebra in high school. I never thought I’d understand it. My perception was I wasn’t smart enough to get it, so I avoided it to my detriment until audit, bankruptcy, lose everything I had built over eight years. And I didn’t want to give up on the dream, and I had to fight to rebuild everything, and I was able to overcome it.

I found a coach and working with my coach; I had to overcome that. And really, it came down to a three-tiered way of relating to things.

First of all, did I value what I had created in the company that I built? I had tremendous value and passion for it. I didn’t want to give up on it. I wanted to keep fighting for it. I’m sure that every single salon professional listening to this feels the same way.

We place such a high value on the creative side of who we get to be and the artistic expression that comes from it — and being that one person besides a doctor in a customer’s life that might literally and physically touch them. It’s special, what we get to do in this business.

So the value piece is strong. It’s then the next layer. If you’ve got strong value in this, it’s perception. It’s how you relate to things. It’s thinking.

My perception was that I wasn’t smart enough to get it, and that caused me to avoid things, so it really starts with your thinking.

I also stuttered when I was a kid. I couldn’t put sentences together. I got picked on relentlessly. I lacked a lot of self-confidence. I didn’t have a high level of belief in myself. I had to overcome those things. You know we all have defining moments in our lives. What’s the defining moment going to be for anybody listening to this when you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired? And you know you have to shift and make a change?

Sometimes you have to take a leap and grow your wings on the way down and get uncomfortable. And face these things. It starts with the way you think. Anything can be overcome.

If you find the subject matter dry, then you’ve just created that thought process. If you’re telling yourself that you’re not smart enough to get it, like I told myself that, then you just put that barrier right in front of your way of looking at something that can support you.

So the shift first has to come with somebody realising and being conscious and aware of thinking. From there, you then dive into habit and behaviour. So if I have strong value and belief in myself, and know that I’m fighting to grow my business, and I’m not going anywhere, hell or high water, we’re rocking this. And, I have a strong belief in my abilities to shift my thinking. Now I focus on habit and behaviour.

I’m reading this fascinating book by Charles Duhigg, who’s an award-winning journalist. He wrote a book called “The Power of Habit.” In the opening part of the book, in the introduction, he mentioned that there was a 2006 study by Duke University on habit formation, and says that 40% of what we do on a daily basis is not a conscious decision. It’s an ingrained habit that we’ve developed.
When you think of that, if you can shift, if you’re clear about what value, you shift, you get conscious of your thoughts and shift that, and then you begin to create and formulate new habits, new behaviours. Over time you’ll transform.
Typically what happens with salons, though, is that we’re so busy being busy, and we catch ourselves up in working hard behind the chair, and grinding, and then doing all the weekly things we have to do just to keep the operation open and afloat, that we don’t take the time to pause, reflect, think, and analyse.

And then we tell ourselves – here’s the perception – that we don’t have the time. We tell ourselves we have to keep working five days a week with guests. We tell ourselves –

Zoe Belisle-Springer: We have to keep hustling.

Steve Gomez: Yes. We tell ourselves we have to do it all. We have to make all the decisions. Everybody here is counting on me to have all the answers. So we exhaust ourselves by that thinking, and it creates the behaviours that we’re living into today.

So my mission is to kind of turn the mirror for people to see all of that, in a safe way, so that they can then slowly over time begin to shift. And what makes coaching so critical is, to shift somebody’s thinking and behaviour takes time. It takes saying, “No, no, no. Stop. Work on your form. Do that again.” You know, it’s kind of like going to the gym. You got to work with the expert who’s going to make sure you’re working on your form, and you’re nailing it, and getting it down. It’s the same thing but from a business context. It’s supporting people to understand how they see the playing field, and what they’re doing on it. And just little subtle shifts can cause rapid transformation. And the cool thing about rapid transformation is that, not only will an owner over time get more time back to focus, and reflect, and analyse, and guide, and be ahead of their curve, but they also, the best part is watching them become more confident in who they are as a leader. And that trickles over everywhere in their life. And that’s where the magic is.

We don’t have to grind every single day for 20 to 30 years behind a chair or in a treatment room to be successful in this industry. It’s subtle shifts and being patient with this journey where that creates long-term transformative impact.

Salon reports and performance stats [17:04]

Killian Vigna: I think that’s phenomenal. Like I could have listened to you going on for ages about that there about changing habits. Because it actually kind of works perfectly with this episode considering you said you used to hate the financial side of things, and never really enjoyed it. And here you are, on our show, talking about how to listen to your salon’s numbers. Obviously, that habit has formed for you.

And just to move into that then, you also mentioned something about time. A lot of salon owners tell themselves… well we know time is an issue. Is there any reports you would say, “Listen, if you’re really that busy; here are the reports we should focus on today that will help you listen to your salon.”

Steve Gomez: On the daily, you have to pull what did we do yesterday, and how does that tie into weekly and monthly goals. And it’s not only overall performance. I’m talking about service sales, retail sales, gift card sales; if you do any memberships, membership sales. If you have rewards programs, how many people were coming in and redeeming? What’s your rebooking percentage? What percentage of your customers are taking advantage of marketing promotions, whether it’s from a social media standpoint or past events, or who’s walking in the door and taking advantage of internal promotions that you have going on? Taking all that information and being able to see what we’re doing. Also, see, per person. Because let’s say I have ten technicians that work with me, that you know, who’s really driving it? Maybe overall, the business is hitting it, but if there are three people out of the ten that are really creating 75% of the result, whey are they rocking? And what’s occurring with the other seven? How can I get the three involved in helping me coach the other seven? So, I’m not the one running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to manage everybody. That’s like trying to herd cats. You just can’t do it. You’re just running around trying to grab them. You can’t do it, so, I think those numbers are critical.

Setting your salon prices: are you charging what you're worth? [19:14]

Steve Gomez: I always want to look at what is, what am I averaging per guest, versus what my price point is. Because my price point – and by the way, I’m a big believer that your price point must be set not based on how busy I am, and that I’ve earned the right to raise my prices, which is important, supply and demand. I raise my prices. I have a level of experience; I raise my prices. What’s the going rate in my area drives me nuts, but people set their prices on what other salons in the area are charging.

While it’s important to see that information, all those three things I just said, are important. We must set our prices based on our four walls. How much does it cost me to run this business? I need to take my total expenses, which for my salon owners listening, include me getting paid as an expense. I then need to add profit. What additional profit do I want the company to make? Above and beyond all the bills getting paid, me getting paid so my mortgage and car payment and groceries are covered in my life and I don’t have to grind and worry and work my butt off to just hopefully have money left over to pay bills. I need to know I’m covering all the salon expenses, I’m covering me, and there’s leftover profit.

I want to build all of that into a number. Make it divisible by a number of guests a month, on average over three to six months. Every month we vary. There are ups and downs in sales. I want to go over three to six months. Once I take that number, and I can see my price point is, here is where my prices should begin.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Steve Gomez: To cover all of that, then I can compare it to what my prices are, and I can compare it to what my average is.

I wrote a book called “Financial Fitness,” and I have a ton of spreadsheets in it, and one of them’s called the “Price Point Spreadsheet.” You take all of this, and you… I created the equation, so it just does all the math for you, and it allows you to see that price point. So if my price point’s 40, and my current prices are 30, obviously, I’m working my butt off trying to make money. Now if my average ticket’s 35, so my price starts at 30 by my guests are averaging 35, I’m halfway to where I need to be, but I’m still running out of money every month and having to pay a lot of bills. And I’m in frantic mode.

Helping an owner get clear about what’s my price point versus what my current average is, then we can work with the team to bridge the gaps.

So if I’m pulling the data from my software and I can see my average ticket is… I’ve got ten stylists, and of my ten stylists, seven of them are over 40, the other three aren’t, okay, well I’ve got 70% of my team making it happen, let me help the other 30 move over there.

So, it’s not just looking at the average ticket and seeing that it’s growing, it’s comparing it to what the business needs. So that leads me to the second part of what you just asked.

Digging into your salon or spa’s financials [22:23]

Steve Gomez: If I were to take it out of the daily, which is micro-level management, let’s go macro. Macro is your financials. That’s getting your profit and loss statement every single month.

Typically, as a coach, when I start working with salon owners, they are getting their financials either every six months or once a year. They’re doing decent if they get it every quarter. Most of them don’t even get it every month, so we need to transform the relationship with our accountant and with our bookkeeper. The bookkeeper needs to be involved monthly. At the end of the month, the first three to four days of a new month, salon owners must be getting the receipts to the bookkeeper so the bookkeeper can put everything into QuickBooks or whatever chart of accounts they’re using – whatever technology they’re using to track this stuff. Reconcile the bank statements so that the middle to the end of the second week of every month, a salon owner is getting their profit and loss statement and their balance sheet so they can start to look at key financial indicators of how the business is performing.

There are 4 to 5 ways the business makes money. There are 38 ways that the money leaves, generally, via expenses. Of the 38 expenses, most of them are kind of set in there and fixed, or smaller and don’t take a big chunk. But there are key ones that make the biggest impact that salon owners, through perception, thinking and behaviour, have the most ability to transform. Payroll, inventory, back bar inventory, those are key ones that they have control over. How much money we’re investing in having front desk and support staff, and assistants, so we can serve our guests at a higher level. That’s another key one.

So to me, there’s relevant and critical data that must be mined every month, so we can see over time how’s the business performing financially, and when I can start seeing those things.

For example, my retail inventory needs to be at 50%. If I did 1000 in sales, I’ve got 500 to restock the shelves. If I’m hitting that, then I’m on point. More profits being made. But if I’m at 60%, so I’m at $600, I’m $100 over budget.

If I keep grinding that out over 12 months, that’s $1200 sitting on the shelves as opposed to sitting in the bank. And that’s big money over the long haul.

So the ability for the owner to understand and look at that data is mission-critical to me, Killian.

Coaching your staff based on numbers, rather than off emotions [25:02]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, we’re talking about coaching based on numbers rather than emotions. I mean, for teams that are almost like, family, because you know sometimes, a lot of times, in this industry people create this really, really strong bond. Is there kind of a danger not doing this correctly and creating an unhealthy competition, or putting a staff against another? I know you mentioned, “How can I use my top three to help me coach the bottom seven performers?” What are the, I suppose, pitfalls or benefits, and how do you go about coaching based on numbers?

Steve Gomez: I think the key thing is that it goes back to what I was talking about earlier. Involvement. If I’m getting the team involved at the beginning of the process. If everybody is working with each other to come up with what the group is going to do, because we are involved – instead of one or two – we increase, subconsciously, those connectors.

People start working with each other; it begins to foster an environment where there’s more cheerleading and support happening in the culture. A little creative competition is not a bad thing, but it all goes back to how it’s presented and what is allowed. What gets rewarded, gets repeated.

But the same can be said that if you’re not creating the environment for people to relate to it in an empowered way, then as a leader, you’re allowing people fall back on whatever their mechanisms are, whatever their patterns of thinking and relatedness are to what competition means to them. Some people thrive on it; others back off on it.

So if we get the team involved at the beginning, and we create incentives in ways of working with each other around it, and we cheerlead each other, we increase the odds of people not having an adverse reaction. That said if somebody does have an adverse reaction to seeing their numbers and it makes them go into a shell, or they fight or flight, they resist because their pride comes up and they didn’t produce. That’s natural. There’s humanity there. We have to empathise, not sympathise.

Say okay, I understand where this is coming from. Let me ask you questions. Let me understand why you’re reacting this way. Where does that come from? Let me help you, help yourself. Everything to me is disguised as a lesson to be learned and an opportunity for growth.

So even if somebody is resisting, Zoe, great, resist. It’s your humanity showing up. I’m not going to make it wrong. I’m going to make it great. I’m going to be curious as to why there’s resistance and seek to understand your thought process and seek to help you understand where that’s coming from. The resistance might have nothing to do with me or the numbers. It’s coming from how you related to it. Who knows how far back that pattern was created in someone’s life? Maybe it was the time they raised their hand to answer a question in school and said, “Two,” and the answer was four. And they got it wrong, and they got laughed at by the other kids, and ever since then, that’s how they relate to it.

So I think a lot of times, we don’t stop and get present, and empathise with the humanity of things. We see that resistance, and we react to how somebody resists. What’s our perception of resistance? Then we subconsciously react.

So as leaders, we must stop all that, and just get conscious, and allow peoples’ humanity to show up, and it’s a great opportunity to dig in and coach somebody.

Now, over time, if somebody continues to live in that world of resistance, and use that as a crutch, then there has to be a consequence, there has to be accountability. You can’t have somebody on your team long-term that is just going to continue to think and be that way and choose not to cause a breakthrough for themselves. No matter how much we like you, if you’re going to choose to go down that route, then maybe you need to choose somewhere else to do that… if we can’t transform you over a long period of time. You know for those owners, they’re like, “Well, gosh, I’ve been working with somebody for six months, and they’re just like this.” Well, okay. Maybe it’s time to move on from that person.

Killian Vigna: Absolutely. I mean, like, you don’t want to have a team full of what we call, nodding dogs, so people are just going to agree with everything you do. You’re going to want people that’ll challenge the status quo. But yeah, if they’re just constantly going to resist for the sake of resisting, then maybe that should be something to look at. But I do love your whole thing of, your team has to be involved, so if you’re not in the top performer, reach out to a top performer. Get support. If you are a top performer, help the lower performers. I suppose it’s kind of like the NFL draft. When they win the Superbowl, they start from the bottom and the back up again. So it’s kind of got that rotation. It’s making sure that you do not have the same winners and losers every time.

Steve Gomez: Sure, I like that way of thinking. You did just get me stuck on the Patriots winning the Superbowl. Thanks a lot.

Killian Vigna: (laughter)

Steve Gomez: So, you now get to coach me on my perception of that.

Killian Vigna: So, we’ll just leave here and let that burn through your head for the night.

Steve Gomez: Oh, I love it. (laughter) Yeah, yeah, burn through my skull, right?

You know I think the thing is, we want it, and we want it yesterday.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steve Gomez: And when it comes to coaching people and transforming something in the business, whether adopting a new way of thinking, or adopting a new system, or bringing in a new software, bringing in a new product line, or whatever it is that we’re evolving into in the company, we have to be patient with the process.

We have to stop and understand our thinking and shift first, and then bring people to us. We get so ingrained in the way we do things, and we have a fear of change.

You know, change can be psychologically threatening, and it takes a lot of hard work. Therefore a lot of people don’t choose to do it. But I like to think of it as being disruptive is a good thing. Where can we disrupt what we’re doing and how we’re doing it so that we can shake it up and maybe see a new way of getting the results more easily over time.

That, to me, is what makes the mark of a great leader, is their ability to disrupt, and to really have professional curiosity. And what I mean by that is, I don’t care if you’ve been at it 20, 30, 40 years, and you think you know the industry, continue to be curious about things.

One of my favourite analogies with that is Leonardo DaVinci was infinitely curious. He dissected 33 bodies over the course of his life out of sheer curiosity of the science of humanity, and how we functioned, and how we worked, and in his Codex Atlanticus, he is drawing different pictures of the human anatomy that are still being used to this day as the introductory to anatomy for people that go on to become doctors. And he would do this because he was so curious about how the human body functions, and he wanted to have a better understanding to bring it over and have it be transcendent to his art.

And if you think about any of the DaVinci paintings you have either seen live, or if you have seen The Last Supper in Milan, or you see it in books, and you just are awestruck at how he was able to draw and paint the world around him. It was because he was so curious about the world around him. He was always looking at and seeking to understand more.

And then, that natural quest in curiosity became part of how he then created things that 500 years later we’re still awestruck by.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s crazy, isn’t it?

Steve Gomez: It is.

Building a salon team that works well together [33:28]

Killian Vigna: That is beautiful, but there’s something that I just wanted to touch off at the start of what you were saying. You were saying that as salon owners, you shouldn’t be afraid to disrupt the industry. Is that how you’d plan to build your team, as well? Would you plan to take on people with the same mindset? Like disruptors, or do you need to kind of balance your team out a little bit. Because surely if everyone isn’t’ afraid to disrupt, then it’s going to be mayhem, isn’t it?

Steve Gomez: You do need to find a balance. I agree with you, Killian. You have to find a balance. You have to find people that, if you find 20 people that are just like you, you are creating a lot of chaos. So you have to find people that have – if I’m not operational, and I’m not a systems guy, I need to have somebody who thinks that way, who is going to take me, the right-brained creative thinker, and help me see things in a more linear way.

You have to have those type of thinkers. You have to be looking for that in different roles in your business.

Killian Vigna: Because change of management can be scary, so you need as many different perspectives before something is changed.

Steve Gomez: Very much so. And you know, when you’re hiring somebody or promoting them into a different position, this goes back to something I touched on at the Summit.

We hire somebody because of their personality, the way they answer questions. They bring the good suitcase to the interview, and we like what’s inside there, so we choose to give them a chance. You know, we promote somebody because they were amazing in the role that they were in, so they earned the right to be promoted. But it doesn’t mean that when we hire somebody because of what we initially liked in the interview process, or when we promote somebody, that they know how to do the job in our culture. Nor does it mean that they know what they should be valuing, and what skills they should be working on, and where they should be spending their time.

So it’s up to us as leaders to find different types of thinkers and bring them into the organisation, but to ensure that no matter if it’s somebody is promoted or brand new, that we have a meaningful dialogue with them around, “Okay, here are the skills that are required in this position. Let’s go through, and you rate yourself on where you feel your strengths are, and where your opportunities to improve in these skill sets are.” And then, also, “Here’s what you should be valuing in the position, and where you should be spending time.”

A great example is, if I promote you, Killian, into an assistant management position, you’re going to now be in charge of running the floor and being in charge of supporting all the rest of the stylists to create great customer service. You’re going to start coaching them on their average tickets, and retail to service percentage, and rebooking, and all those different things. You’re going to be fired up to do it, and there are certain things you’re going to take on and make it happen, but there are other things you’re going to need help with.

Typically, when we get promoted, or we come into a new job, we’re fired up, and we want to do it right so bad. So we put an immense amour of pressure on ourselves. As leaders, we just assume, “Oh, I promoted Killian because he’s been so great in this role. He’s going to shine in this role.” And that’s not necessarily the case.

You know, you need to grow into the position. You are going to face things you have never faced before. As the leader, I need to understand that and give you the time to mature and grow into the position.

Goal setting in the salon: finding your salon staff’s “why” [37:15]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I loved what you just said there, and I suppose that brings my personal last question. What’s the most important thing for you to consider when you are setting goals with each individual who’s a part of your team?

Steve Gomez: Wow, what a deep question. We can go all day on that subject.

You know, a lot of salon owners don’t take the time to know what each person’s personal goals are. For example, how much more money do you want to generate this year behind the chair? And if you want to make 10,000 more dollars, what would that mean in your life? What are you fighting for?

Typically, we get so busy being busy running our company, that the goals are all about what the salon needs to survive or thrive, and inherently, it becomes about me getting you to do that, which is about the business, not about the people.

When we can take the time to understand what the people are fighting for, and what’s in it for them, we can coach them on what they’re doing, because the bigger impact is what it’s going to mean in their life and their career long-term.

My philosophy is, I don’t want you to just have a great career because you work here. I want you to have an amazing life because you said yes to working here. As a leader, if the goal-setting begins over there, what are you working towards personally, financially, and professionally? How do you want to grow as an artist? How do you want to express yourself creatively this year as a hairdresser? How do you want to be better in that way? How do you want to be better as a communicator? What do you want to do in your personal life, and what does working here mean to that?

If I can take the time as a leader to get those questions answered, then I know the hot buttons of my team, so that when somebody is underperforming or struggling, I can remind them of their why, and I can put my foot on their butt and push them when they need it. To me, that’s where goal setting must begin first. Because then, when you know, if you two work with me, and you know that I’m committed to you, and I’m committed to your life, and I’m committed to your career, then when it comes time for me to coach you, or when it comes time for me to share with you a part of the business that needs support, you’re going to resonate. Because you know I’ve got your back. You’re going to be like, “What can we do? How can I help?”

We just increased the odds of that happening, so to me, that’s where the goal-setting begins. It’s not about how we cut and colour the hair better. It’s not about how we put that system for how we answer the phone in place. It’s not about how we mix colour formulation. It’s not about when we’re pulling reports and analysing them.

All those things are important, but it really goes back to the people. The most important resources we have are the human ones. And if I had to wrap up, that’s the one I’d say the most. It’s the people, and if we take the time to understand what they fight for, we increase the odds of us transforming what we need to that much faster.

Killian Vigna: Get to know your team.

Steve Gomez: Yeah. Get to know them, love them, and rock with them.

Killian Vigna: Well, listen Steve, I think we’re just going to have to end it on that one because that was a phenomenal end, and any questions I add is probably just going to ruin it, so Steve, thanks a million for joining us on the show today, and for anyone listening, we will have Steve Gomez back on again. We’ve managed to secure another booking with him in a couple of weeks. So we can always for that episode, too.

Steve Gomez: Thanks, you guys. It’s my pleasure to be with you guys. I can’t wait for more. Have a great rest of your day, you two.

Killian Vigna: You too.

Steve Gomez: Thank you.

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [40:44]

Killian Vigna: So, that was Steve Gomez on listening to what your salon’s numbers are telling you, and coaching accordingly.

So, Zoe, what have we got now for the second part of the show?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I suppose, the same as the last few episodes. The next few things coming up are the Thrive Sessions, which Phorest is a sponsor of, and that’s on March 24th, 25th in Seattle, and if you want to sign up for that or want more information on pricing, you can head over to

Just a quick reminder. I’ll be running a workshop there called “Lights, Camera, Post: Basic Photography Skills For A Standout Portfolio,” and I’ll be talking about understanding composition, light, a few basic photography skills like that. And also talking about some of the features that we’re building here in Phorest to help salons and stylists build their portfolio, and build engagement on Instagram. And then, as we’ve mentioned throughout this episode, we have the Salon Owners Roadshow coming up on Monday, April 15th, so the conference is from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and it’s followed by a networking reception. It’s taking place at The Dalcy in Chicago, and we’ve got a few announced speakers already, so if you want any more information on all of that, it’s on

And before we leave you for this week, we are prepping the #30Days2Grow salon challenge that is going to kick off April 1st, so do look out for that. We’re going to start advertising the sign-ups very, very soon, so keep an eye out for that on social media.

And, well, that’s all we got for this week, guys. As always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode or have any suggestions, send us an email at, or leave us a review on iTunes. We genuinely love feedback and are always looking for ways to improve the show. Otherwise, have a wonderful week, and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Related Links

Steve Gomez, Salon/Spa Business Coaching, Trainings & Seminars

Interdependent Leadership To Improve Team Culture & Profits

Book a consultation on The Salon Mentorship Hub

Thrive Sessions Seattle, March 24-25, 2019

Salon Owners Summit: The Roadshow, April 15, 2019


This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.

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