Business Management

The Coaching Chronicles: Installment #3, Retail and Staff Management

Editor’s Note: In this occasional series, we follow along as -Adrienne, a mother of two who moved last year with her husband to North Carolina, works to rebuild her nail business from scratch. She’s working with Heather, a certified salon success coach, to help her succeed. If you missed the first two installments, see NAILS’ -February and June 2008 issues or visit The Coaching Chronicles blog at

FROM THE TECH: Adrienne Schodtler
Hair, Body & Sole Salon, Apex, N.C.
I had some slow periods during the summer, mostly because of client travel and clients staying home to be with their kids since school let out. So Heather and I planned a promo to include children and tweens. A “Mommy & Me” mani or pedi brings moms back to the salon and lets them dote on their children. A teen/tween mani/pedi combo will teach girls basic nail care and get retail in their hands to keep up the look. I also used the unscheduled time to follow-up with networking events and to visit with local businesses. When it’s slow, you hope all of the seeds you’ve planted with past and present clients start to blossom. That is what happened with my strategy. I finally had a full book, and some of those I hadn’t seen in a while also picked up some retail we’d discussed before.

One of the first exercises Heather and I ever did with coaching firm Inspiring Champions was “The Wheel of Life,” which shows many aspects of business and life. My wheel was quite lopsided at first, so working on areas that were more flat became a priority. Now I’m realizing that revisiting that balance wheel must be done at least twice a year to make sure I’m well-rounded. For example, I had a great first two quarters this year and was constantly improving. Now I feel I need to revisit some of those first ideas we used again to keep up momentum. My networking slowed down because I was comfortable, so now I’m trying to get out there again. Some people may say this is the vicious cycle of business. Constantly building relationships is what makes a business successful. Those relationships may not be an instant referral, but just like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon, people in communities are all connected in some way or another.

My biggest recent frustration has been the full turnover of our front desk team. I feel for them because when I was in beauty school, I was working a busy front desk in a dramatic salon. It is the most underappreciated job, and the most vital to our success as service providers. So how do we get them to understand their importance, when they are under-trained and expected to automatically know how to handle all of our issues? We used Inspiring Champions’ “Top Gun” training, which empowers the front desk to gain control of client requests and improve employee books by just knowing how to approach people with the correct language and professional attitude. I took over training the front desk with the program because the owner was focused on leading the hair and skin staff through other areas of training with Inspiring Champions (they all went to Champ Camp), plus run the business and be behind the chair. In the end, it is a win-win situation. Our schedules will be handled more professionally, and everyone will be on the same page, heading toward the same successful results...more clients, more money, more happy people!

At the time I’m writing this (in November), I’m looking to the future: holiday business and holiday retail. In my tracking of my progress, retail has slowed down even though services have gone up, so what can I change? My first order of business is not only to put aside space for things to order for holiday gifts, but to definitely market products cleverly with what appeals directly to my audience: healthy products that come in recyclable containers or can be refilled at a discount on site. I know what my goals need to be to make this year a success in both retail sales and services. Having those types of numbers broken down for the last two months of the year, and then breaking them down further into weekly and daily goals, lets me know my goal is very close to being attained.

When we began this project, I wanted to aim high and work at the same level I had been used to working in Florida. Retail has been tougher for me, part of that has been what I have had to offer, but my services in the second quarter of the year surpassed my goals! However, I’ve also realized that everything I’ve worked on this year must continue — spa parties, the networking groups, the community events for exposure, etc. I have all of these things on my calendar almost weekly from now until the new year. And if you could see my family calendar...well, sometimes it makes my head spin! Giving everything 100% isn’t easy. In the end, however, giving 100% will be crucial to my success.

FROM THE COACH: Heather Goodwin
Inspiring Champions, Palm Harbor, Fla.

Change, at times, can be a little unnerving. As any business going through changes, the most popular first reaction is to question, complain, and close off any possible conversation. This causes a “staff infection.” You know, those breakroom conversations that cause the rumor mill to fly and anyone in a position to make these changes is a bad guy. I encourage each of you to be proactive and not reactive to change. Find out all the facts first, then form an opinion. In many cases, such as at Hair, Body & Sole, in order to actually have a successful business things need to be altered for everyone to move forward. Hair, Body & Sole is investing itself wholly to the steps necessary to offer a place for a long-term career. Good communication, great energy, fantastic education, and solid working relationships can only guarantee these results. My hats off to the staff for beginning this journey!

A team mission statement is important, and I recommend developing one at your next salon meeting. Break into small groups and have each group pick five core values from a list. Examples could be freedom, spirituality, excellence, creativity, integrity, respect. Then have each group pick five action verbs, like dream, dedicate, empower, encourage, perform, inspire. Now, take the top verbs and values and form your team mission statement. Vote as a group on the best one. Post it where the team can constantly be reminded of it. Start off your staff meetings with it. Let the clients know about it. Keep moving toward making that mission a daily vibe in the salon, and watch your team grow!

I think most everyone here has heard the phrase S.M.A.R.T. goal setting. In case you haven’t, here’s the breakdown: S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Action, R=Relevance, and T=Trackable. What I love about this acronym is how easy it is to follow. Ask yourself, what would your growth have been like last year if you had participated at your full potential?

For some of us the thought of one-on-one coaching every other week is about as exciting as laundry. It hasn’t been a priority. This stops progress dead in its tracks. I understand how that feels, but here’s what I’ve found. Tracking, goal setting, and coaching is incredibly inconvenient when the numbers aren’t growing. But when the numbers are consistently moving up, and your paycheck is continuing to grow, it’s a lot more exciting. It’s kind of like a diet; when you’re losing weight you can’t wait to count calories, track your meals, and get on the scale. No different with tracking your numbers here. When you’re on top of things you’re more likely to see more new clients, more repeat clients, and recommend more retail sooner rather than later. That means more money for you!

Most of us have used tracking sheets before as a way to track only what we’ve done. What if you all used them as a tool for determining what needs to be done? What if you had known last week that you needed to recommend and close only $50 more in retail to qualify for a different pay level? You only make it happen by focusing on the goal. If you had waited to the end of the week would you have made it? Probably not. Your paycheck is directly connected to your effort.

Adrienne has spent the past nine months really honing these efforts and skills. Has it been easy? Nope, but she’s seen consistent growth in her business. Has everything she implemented worked? Nope, but you track results and decide whether or not to plan the same tactic again. She has built a new and loyal clientele. What she has proven is that starting over takes time, but by continuing to follow simple steps and S.M.A.R.T. goals, you can create a new clientele very quickly.

I think you are all so amazing at what you do and am so glad to be a part of your team! My goal is to see you all become successful and have a life and business that you love.

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