The news is reporting layoffs, bailouts, and an unstable world market. Clients are murmuring about tight budgets and personal cutbacks. With the air heavy with dread, nail techs should focus on their psyche and their systems.
Strategies founder Neil Ducoff advises salon owners to think about all the clients who depend on their services for their sense of well being.
“The relentless barrage of bad economic news can rattle even the most steadfast of leaders,” says Neil Ducoff, founder and CEO of Strategies in Centerbrook, Conn. But it’s in hard times like this that owners need to lead well. How you lead will affect the morale of your employees, the atmosphere of your salon, and ultimately, the success of your business.
As professionals, we like to remind ourselves to leave our personal problems at home. At work we are supposed to focus on the client and maintain a professional attitude. But what happens when your work is personal? When you own the salon or rent your own space, any change in revenue to the “business” means a change in revenue for you. That’s personal. As the owner, it’s your job to find ways to keep profits stable even when the economy feels like it’s in a free fall. It’s essential for you to learn tools that empower you to make your business run efficiently with little waste.
“The first and least expensive thing for an owner to do is stay focused,” says Ducoff. When an owner is distracted by looking at the bills and the checkbook, it’s easy to get nervous and concerned, which permeates into the business. “Feelings of concern, anxiousness, and worry easily translate into how you speak and carry yourself,” says Ducoff.
Ducoff gives techs two tools to use during times of economic uncertainty. Both will be familiar to techs, but with familiarity often comes complacency, so to improve, we go back to the basics. The first tool is our psyche. The second is our systems.
Managing our psyche takes self control and discipline. “At the salons I visit,” says Ducoff, “I often hear the concern from owners. They tell me that clients are extending appointments, fewer clients prebook, cash is coming in slower so owners are buying on credit, which makes the bills pile up. In many ways, there is nothing worse than financial stress.”
It’s easy, and even natural, to worry about business concerns, but worrying accomplishes nothing. “Don’t listen to naysayers, whiners, and complainers,” says Millie Haynam, owner of Natural Beauty Salon & Spa in Twinsburg, Ohio. “They are toxic to your psyche. You become that which you think about; think about going out of business and you will. Believe you can hang on, take positive actions every week toward that end, and you will.”
Ducoff agrees. “Think about your business and all that’s right with it. Think about all the clients who depend on your services and products for their sense of well being. Think about those employees who in good times and bad continue to believe in you,” says Ducoff. Yes, the economy is in a slump, but you have a business to grow. So, what will you do?
In his book, No Compromise Leadership, Neil Ducoff talks about leaders who are resolute in their commitment to consistency, accountability, and integrity. He reminds readers they need to make a “100% commitment to thinking, behaving, and being accountable to their goals and their business systems.” What does that mean? It means that if your business system is, for example, to send new clients a thank-you note for choosing your salon, you don’t leave work that day until you’ve written and addressed the note. No compromises. Review your business systems, and renew your commitment to them.