I’m often asked “How do you create a culture of success?”

As a salon owner, your own talent, qualifications and skills will only get you so far in business. To really succeed you need to have a team that shares common goals and beliefs, that’s what I call culture. So where and how do you start and what are the main areas to focus on if you are going to develop and nurture that winning salon culture?

It starts with recruitment

If you don’t have the right people to work with, you’re beaten before you start. Your quest to developing a culture of success begins with the recruitment process. Take time to make sure that all new employees will fit into your organisation and help strengthen your salon values and vision. Don’t rely purely on a quick interview. Your business is your people, so getting the recruitment processes right, getting the right people on your team is essential.

Tough love

Once you have found the right people, it is just the beginning. Don’t think you can sit back and watch, assuming that they know what to do to transform your company into the success you envision. Some salon owners/managers avoid confrontation feeling that it is damaging to the salon culture and go to the other extreme of letting staff get away with murder. A culture is created but it is one of apathy, lack of direction and lost clients. In short it’s a culture of failure. Your team need challenging goals and guidance on how to achieve those aims. By getting your team to understand how their actions have a direct effect on the success of the business, you are ultimately providing them with a certain amount of ownership. And if you own something you are more likely to look after it.


Work with members of your team on a one-to-one basis; they all have different skills, needs and attitudes. Some people respond well to a direct style of management, while you will alienate others with such a confronting approach. When there is conflict within the group, sometimes it is advantageous to break the group down by engaging with individuals rather than addressing them as a whole. This will not only be less intimidating for the minority, but problems will be highlighted more quickly and give you the opportunity by one-on-one discussions to come up with solutions and let individuals save face.

Give and take

If your team are working long hours and missing breaks to accommodate client’s needs, cut them some slack when you’re able, on things like lunch break and leaving times. Let them go when they get a natural break in their work or if there are no late clients and several staff standing around waiting, consider letting them leave early. Having a give and take attitude and allowing employees to manage their own time will help motivation and usually means your team adopt a more responsible attitude to taking unnecessary time off.

Getting people to take ownership of their future

Let your team know that their ideas and opinions matter and that they can contribute to the growth of the business through their creativity and innovation. If you can create a culture of belonging and ownership, your team will feel they owe it to their colleagues to always give their best for the mutual benefit of everyone.

Summary: The pay off

The main reason for developing a strong company culture is the pay off for everyone, clients included. Word quickly gets around when you have such a company culture and as a result you attract more like minded people who share your vision and values. We all spend a lot of time in our place of work and people need a company that can be fun, fulfilling and mutually rewarding. When your team are satisfied with their job, they will not be in a hurry to move, so staff turnover will be reduced. Motivated individuals want to be involved with a business where they are surrounded by success.


  • Develop a bullet point list of the top 7 values that are important to you and your team. For example: teamwork, professionalism, fun…
  • Come up with a cultural statement [max 50 words] for each of these 7 points and what they mean to you as a team.
  • Get the team to score where you would currently rate on a scale of 1-10, [10 being the highest].
  • Get the team input on how collectively they can all contribute towards making everything a 10.
  • Develop an action list and delegate tasks to different team members and review progress at the next team meeting.

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