Whether your top stylists are walking out the salon door, your salon team members need a little pep in their step or you can’t quite figure out the best way to increase the bottom line, you need to get past the obstacles in order to realize the opportunities. We’ve gone to the industry experts and pulled together the business solutions you need to turn things around.
Salon Challenge 1: Building a top team
Having conducted business seminars in Canada and coached salon owners across North America through Summit Salon Business Center, program founder and president of Salon Consultants International Peter Mahoney says that the number one challenge is finding, training and retaining great staff. Suki Takagi, founder of Vancouver-based salon Suki’s Salon Spa Academy, is an example of what happens when owners are positioned as mentors for staff. At Suki’s, investing in your staff members will not only improve service levels but also create a team of qualified managers and even, perhaps, future owners.
Takagi says that the key is identifying each staff member’s needs and giving them action plan opportunities to reach their potential. “One person wants to be a great international artist, which means you need to point out photo shoot and on-stage opportunities. Others want to be ambassadors and educators; which require arranging speaking or performing opportunities with academies and manufacturers.”
Consider these essentials when hiring your next talent:
1. Hire the attitude; train the talent. Staff can be molded to your salon’s technical styles and philosophy, which underpin the day-to-day operations.
2. Ask situational questions during the interview. Creating scenarios that demonstrate how they will behave under the heat will give you a picture of how they might gel with your team—and if they’re high maintenance.
Salon Challenge 2: Boosting staff morale
“Human beings are naturally motivated; if they are not, something is de-motivating them,” says Mahoney. He says that the owner needs to promote a salon culture that motivates staff—even your most senior experts.
According to Mahoney, there are a few key secrets to boosting the energy and motivation in your team. First, the work has to be perceived as meaningful, which is an easy one since “stylists want to make people feel beautiful,” he says. It’s also important to be clear about what is expected of your team—that means providing a clear vision and structure to the salon environment. There should also be a mutual respect and professionalism between team members, which makes everyone feel good about coming to work every day. In the end, it’s up to the owner to set the tone and ensure that staff feel challenged and trusted to excel.
Salon Challenge 3: Increasing service prices
According to Venus Beauty Supplies president Vince Riverso, “a good increase range is 10 to 20 per cent. Hairstylists should be able to feel out what clients are willing to pay for. ”Depending on how busy and confident stylists are in their work, salons should revisit price increases every few years. There are different ways to do this. “If a salon is raising prices across the board, stagger it every few months, among different stylists on your team. This multi-level system gives the client a reason to stay in the salon and go with another stylist, if needed,” he advises.
Believe it or not, there’s also a marketing benefit to raising prices: “New clients believe that if you’re charging more, you must be worth it,” says Riverso. This gives the view that you’re a stylist in demand, so they better pre-book!