How do you organise your time?

10 May 2022

As a salon owner or salon manager, how do you organise your time?

I hate it when someone says this to me but the answer is, “it depends”.

It depends on things like, how many people do you have on your team?

How many salons do you have? Do you see clients yourself?

And, are there any big projects that you’re working on?

And so in order to answer the question, “How do salon owners and managers organise their time?” I need to make some generalisations.

So assuming you are like the majority of salons, that means you have less than five staff and that you are also a hairdresser.

With a salon that size, it means that you are going to need to be behind the chair seeing clients, probably at least four days out of five.

If you’re lucky you will be able to make the fifth day an office day, meaning accounts, maybe payroll, inventory management, staff training and general administration.

Many salon owners that are also working behind the chair reach a point where ‘they want to extract themselves completely’ from seeing clients so that they can work more on ‘developing the business’.

But often, the problem is that they want to do that before the business gets to a sufficient size where it’s able to support them.

And so the result is that the business probably won't have sufficient cash flow to meet all the overheads and pay them properly,

The other risk you take stepping away from the chair when the business is small is that the business is ‘very vulnerable’, from the point of view that if ‘staff leave’ you are immediately forced back behind the chair in order for the business to survive.

Now, if you have a bigger salon, let’s say ten full-time money producers. Then you are getting to the size where maybe you don’t need to be behind the chair full time, and the business is also less vulnerable when one or two staff leave.

But perhaps, like many salon owners, you are still in demand, and you still enjoy servicing a client base.

But then at least it’s a choice, as to whether to work behind the chair two or three days a week and then spend the rest of the time in a training, management and marketing capacity.

If your business is at the next level and perhaps you have multiple salons, maybe 2-3, then the business requires a lot more input at the management level.

For some people, this is a natural progression. Perhaps they no longer want to be behind the chair and the business has now reached a size and has the cash flow to enable them to be working full time in a managerial capacity and to focus on growing the business.

But often the owner of a multiple salon organisation still wants to see clients, as ‘doing hair’ is where their passion lies.

Often the brand has been built around ‘their name’ as the ‘high profile hairdresser’.

In this case, they can probably ‘charge a premium’ and afford to be able to employ a general manager, and administration staff, to focus on running the business on a daily basis. While they continue in the important role of the ‘high profile’ hairdresser.

If you are the owner of 2-3 salons and are actively working behind the chair then as well as having an effective management/leadership team, you need to spend time regularly at each location.

Even if you don’t see clients yourself, it’s essential to oversee the brand. To meet clients. To spend ‘one to one’ time with your managers, and most importantly to nurture relationships with your growing team.


How do you deal with salon complaints?

3 May 2022

How do you deal with salon complaints?

No matter who you are, and no matter what you do, you will not make every client happy.

So from a manager's perspective how should you handle salon complaints?

Even when they are not happy, most clients don’t want to complain.

They don’t want to make a scene.

They don’t want to get into a confrontation.

They just want to leave and never come back.

And once they’ve left, more often than not, the first thing they will do is go on social media or other review sites and leave a scathing review.

In any service orientated business whether it’s a restaurant, a hotel, or a hairdressers, for most people it takes ‘a lot’ to make them complain while they’re still in the salon.

And I totally understand that, as both a consumer and as a business owner. Because when I am not happy, I also usually just want to leave and not come back.

Because the very act of complaining takes some emotional energy that often compounds the situation and makes you feel even worse.

But from the service providers perspective, and from the viewpoint of the manager or owner of the business, if you don’t complain they miss the opportunity to understand what went wrong and then address the situation in whatever way is necessary to make sure that it never happens again.

Salon managers should see every complaint as an opportunity to improve.

I know there are some fraudsters out there. And I know there are some people that are terminally unhappy and regardless of what you do they will complain about everything.

But they are in the minority and so we shouldn’t base our approach to dealing with unhappy clients on them.

The reality is that we see and experience our own businesses from a very different perspective to how our clients do.

We don’t experience the service through their eyes, and we don’t experience the consultation and communication through their eyes.

And when someone is brave enough to complain, and make no doubt about it, complaining takes courage, then we need to see it as an opportunity to improve.

We need to objectively look at what went wrong. Because in the client's eyes something went wrong.

We need to understand what the problem is and why it happened and then look for ways to prevent it happening again.

But the problem is that often when someone complains, their experience goes from bad to worse as the service provider or manager goes into what I call ‘justification mode’. Where they try and turn the blame around, make excuses or totally deny that the problem exists.

Sometimes the complaint is about the experience the client is having. Other times it’s about the quality of work.

No one likes their work being criticised, and unfortunately in a salon situation it is often made worse by the fact that our colleagues and other clients are witnessing the complaint.

But regardless of whether it’s because of poor work standards or poor communication, there is a problem. And as a salon manager you need to do whatever it takes to remedy the situation as quickly and efficiently as you can without making the client feel in the wrong.

And that is where the breakdown often is. People feel they have to be right.

I am sure you have heard the expression “the customer is always right”. I think it’s a terrible expression because quite blatantly the customer or client isn’t always right.

But here’s the thing, “It’s not about being right, it’s about making the client happy”.

And so as a manager, when dealing with the complaint what do you need to do is to either remedy the problem or at the very least to ensure that the client feels heard and that their complaint is appreciated and taken seriously.



Responsibilities of a salon manager.

26 April 2022


What are the responsibilities of a salon manager? That's the question.

And the real answer is, “It depends!”

In all likelihood, there are 3 different types of people watching this video.

The first is that you don’t own the salon, but are managing the salon for the owner.

The second is that ‘you’ are the salon owner, but have employed a salon manager to manage the daily operations of the salon.

The third is that you are the salon owner. You also work in the business full time, probably behind the chair, and ‘you’ manage the business on a daily basis.

I know salon managers that have ‘a key to open the door’ at the beginning of the day, and close the door at the end of the day. And that’s the beginning and end of their management responsibility.

I know other salon managers who handle the recruitment, the banking, the payroll, the staff training, the inventory management …And everything in between.

I know salon managers that have 1-2 team members to oversee, and others with over 100 on their team.

So what are the responsibilities of a salon manager? It depends.

There is a difference between ‘Salon MANAGEMENT’ responsibilities and ‘Salon MANAGER’ responsibilities’. And it’s not just the spelling!

‘Salon Management’ responsibilities. Means everything, from the ‘daily operations, the financial, the marketing, the human resource component, the legal and the health and safety.

In other words, ‘Salon Management’ is ultimately responsible for every area of the business.

Whereas the ‘Salon Manager’ responsibilities is talking about the specific areas of responsibility that have been designated to the individual ‘salon manager’.

And this is where the owner of the business, needs to take ownership and decide what the responsibilities are that they want the individual salon manager to have.

Once they have listed what those responsibilities are, then they need to develop a job description outlining those responsibilities.

And then recruit someone, either from within the business, or externally, that already has the necessary skills.

Or alternatively, they need to recruit someone or promote from within, and then train them in the skills needed to be able to fulfil that management role.

Unfortunately, all too often, salon owners just want to give someone the title of ‘Manager’ and to then hold them accountable for the salon performance as well as expect them to deal with all the day to day people problems.

And then they wonder why it doesn’t work.

There isn’t a right or wrong list of ‘salon manager’ responsibilities.

The important thing is that if you’re the salon owner, that you define what the responsibilities are that you want to delegate to a manager.

And then to write up a job description, and offer the training and support, that reflects that.

As I say there isn’t a right or wrong list of what you may wish to delegate to a salon manager. It’s more a case of what’s ‘right or wrong’ for you and your business.

But as a generalisation most of the time, what the owner wants is to delegate the role of the day to day ‘people management’ to someone else. And they usually give that person the title of ‘salon manager’.

The titles that are given to positions are important, because, just the title alone, reflects a certain amount about the responsibilities of the position.

Some titles are culturally right in one salon, or even country, but may not be a fit in another. And sometimes titles are just about personal preference.

You could use the title ‘Salon Manager’. Or ‘Assistant Manager’. Or ‘Operations Manager’. Or Team Leader.  They’re all similar, but different.

And as I say it also comes down to personal preference.

But if I had a salon today, and wanted to appoint someone to ‘manage the people side of the business’ on a day to day basis, I would choose the title ‘Team Leader’.

Because with that title, they know that their responsibility is about the people on their team.

And so even before a word of a job description has been written, there is already clarity about the direction of what their responsibilities are.


Top 5 tips for the first time Salon Manager

20 April 2022

If you are a salon manager, then there was a time when it was your first day in the job. And if you are not yet a salon manager, but aspire to be, then that first day as manager is yet to happen.

There are usually two possible scenarios of how first-time ‘salon managers' start out.

The first is that they were made manager in an established salon that is owned by someone else.

The second is that they’ve opened a salon of their own and the title of ‘manager’ came with the keys to the door.

They are both very different scenarios, and they both bring their own unique challenges.

But either way being a successful manager isn’t easy. So, here are my top tips to help you become the best salon manager you can be.

Tip number one is: that it’s all about the people.

Being a salon manager is about dealing with both ‘things or situations’ and secondly it’s about dealing with people.

When I say, ‘things and situations’ I mean, the inanimate stuff. Like, “The washing machine is broken?” Or “The stock order hasn’t arrived?”

Whereas, when I say it’s about dealing with people, it’s stuff like, “A team member has called in sick… again” Or, “A team member needs to be spoken to about their appearance”.

Or it might mean, that “A team member needs to be spoken to because they have just had their best week ever”. Or a team member has just had another 5-star review on google, and is always going the extra mile when it comes to service”.

Dealing with the ‘Things and situations’ is not exciting, in fact, it can be boring! But it’s important and has to be done.

But dealing with the people issues can get very exciting! It’s often emotional. It can keep you up at night. It can also be stressful, unpredictable and full of surprises… Both good and not so good.

So tip number 1 is understanding that dealing with the ‘things and situations’ are inevitable, important, and part of the job. But to be a really successful manager, it's all about the people!

Tip number two is: that It’s important to understand that a salon manager is not just a busy stylist

In other words, you don’t manage a team of people just by being the most productive person behind the chair, and think that they will blindly follow your lead.

Managing people takes time. You have to engage and connect with the people on your team.

You have to nurture and build relationships. You have to create trust and build rapport with the people on your team. And all that takes time.

As a salon manager, your role is that of a ‘team leader’.

Your real success is not about doing all the work yourself. Your real success is about your ability to build a team and to get others to be productive and happy stylists behind the chair.

Tip number 3, is that as the new salon manager it’s important that you don’t rush in and try and change everything overnight.

There is an expression, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

As a new manager, not everyone always wants you to succeed.

There may even be people on your team who for whatever reason want to come up against you and challenge your authority.

So my advice is that as a new manager, listen first. Watch. Observe. Ask questions, and get the team onside first… And then start looking at ways to bring about positive change.

Remember, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

Tip number 4 is: Be consistent.

As a new manager, for any number of reasons, it’s easy to have situations or people that you treat differently. …In a word, ‘don’t’.

Now, I am going to leave a small margin here for your discretion.

Because inevitably there will be a time when there may be a valid exception that you need to allow for…

But as a generalisation, when you start treating people or situations differently, then you are potentially creating problems for yourself later on.

They might be older. They might have more experience than you. They might intimidate you. They may even be a family member. Or they might be your friend outside of work.

But when you have favourites, when you have one rule for this person and another rule for someone else you are undermining the level of respect and authority they have for you as a manager.

Tip number 5 is: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

Many people that are a first-time salon manager are essentially just dropped in the deep end without any training or support, and they’re expected to figure it out.

Obviously, that's the wrong way to go about it.

Being a manager involves skills that you have to learn, just like you learn how to cut and colour hair. You also have to learn how to be a manager.

It takes time. You will make mistakes. You will question yourself as to whether you have what it takes for the job.

So don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Whether that’s advice from a colleague, a coach, a mentor, a family member or an online community, don’t be afraid to seek the advice of others.

Listen to their opinions. Reflect on their observations. Be prepared to change your own mind.

But as long as you ask for the advice from someone whose opinions you respect then in all probability it’s going to help you grow and develop as a manager.

So that’s it. That’s my top 5 tips for the first time salon manager.

Should you open another salon?

26 November 2019

Salon owners often ask my opinion as to whether or not they should open a second salon.

The thing to be careful of is assuming that because you may have one successful salon that you have the ‘magic touch’ and that the obvious next step is to open a second salon.

I’m certainly not saying don’t open another salon, I’m just saying that two salons are a very different proposition than only having one. Think about it, the only time you double the size of your business is when you go from one salon to two! 

When, and if, you go from 2-3 or 3-4 etc the business isn’t doubling in size, so if opening a second salon is something you are considering make no doubt it is a big step and for many people, it doesn’t work out the way they planned.

Typically the success of a single salon operation is usually due to the owner being there, and working long hours and usually behind the chair seeing clients. Usually, the culture of the salon is established and reinforced merely by the owner's presence and every operational decision goes through them.

Often the owner underestimates how integral their presence and leadership has been in making everything run smoothly. But when you go to that second salon, the owner can only be in one place at a time, and so the challenge is not ending up with two half salons.

For the owner, the key to running multiple salons and knowing how to split their time is ‘effective managers, salon systems and delegating’.

First, let’s talk about the need for effective managers. You can only be in one place at a time so without effective and reliable managers you will have challenges. People need managing, we are in the people business and without effective leadership, in each location, it’s reliant on the owner, and if that’s you, then your job is to make sure that you have replicated the role of manager or team leader in each location.

 Secondly, let’s talk about salon systems. When you have one successful salon it’s usually because you are the system! So if you are to open additional salons the success is dependent on getting everything out of your head and onto paper because if it’s not written down then it isn’t a system.

Thirdly, Once you have these effective managers and salon systems in place you need to be prepared to let go of trying to do everything yourself and delegate and trust others to fulfil their role.

Will they do everything exactly as you would? No!

Will they make mistakes? Of course, they will!

Is your way always the best way? No!

Do they need to learn some things the hard way? Definitely!

Will everything run smoothly without you? No!

Will you learn a lot in the process? You bet!

So, is it worth doing?

Well for some people yes, but for others no.

Only you can decide if you have what it takes and are prepared to put the work in to make it happen.

If you want to find out more about being an effective manager and building a team I recommend my books Grow 2 management and Grow 3 Team.

Thanks for watching. I hope this has been helpful and if opening a second salon is what you decide to do, good luck and if I can be of help in a coaching capacity don’t hesitate to get in touch.

And if don’t already do so I suggest that you follow me on Instagram and Facebook @growmysalonbusiness

Have a great week! 

Friday feedback!

29 October 2019

How do you go about giving people feedback?

As an owner or manager, part of your job is to build a team and to grow the business and the people in it. And one of the ways you do that is by giving people feedback on their performance.

Inevitably the feedback will be a mixture of things that they are doing well, and things that they could do better.

But although most people like getting and giving positive feedback, the reality is that probably they don’t ‘give or get’ nearly enough of it!

The other point is that most managers don’t like giving those on their team ‘negative feedback’, but let’s call it ‘constructive criticism’ because that’s what it should be.

Part of the manager's role is to let those on their team know what they need to change for the purpose of making them better at what they do, and therefore ultimately becoming more successful in the process.

The problem is that many managers are ill-equipped or afraid to give those on their team constructive criticism for fear of confrontation and conflict. The result is that the problems usually just get worse.

Set it up at the beginning of the relationship!

What I mean by that is that you should tell them as soon as they start, before there is a problem, that you will touch base with them once a week to let them know how they are going.

The result is, that now they know you will be giving them feedback on a weekly basis, so they are less likely to be feeling attacked and get all defensive, and as the manager, you are less likely to be anxious and confrontational.

The key is to always be telling people something good, anything that they are doing well and then to also mention any areas that need improvement. Aim to be telling them something positive at least twice as much as areas that they need to improve in.

Why do I call it ‘Friday feedback’? Simply because I used to do it every Friday!

Thank you for watching…

Have a great week!

Change the way you…

17 September 2019

As ‘managers of people’ some of what we do with our team on a daily basis is about getting them to change something that they currently do.

It might be to change the way they act. Or change the way they talk. Or change how they think or behave in front of clients, or with each other.

Or it might be to change the way they do consultations or cut or colour hair or how they talk about retail.

I’m sure sometimes you get ‘the change’ that you want …and sometimes you don’t. When you don’t who’s fault is it?

I’m sure it’s always their fault 🙂 …but then again, maybe not.

The biggest mistake…

I see people make when they are trying to get others to change is that they don’t spend enough time ‘with the person they want to get the change from’ for them to completely understand why and how change is needed.

So right from the beginning, there is a lack of cooperation, a feeling that they are being attacked, picked on or not appreciated. A feeling that they are not valued or understood. And as a result, frustration, mistrust and sometimes the desire to prove you wrong or to sabotage is inevitable… 

It needn’t be like that…

Sometimes there are changes that you need done ‘NOW!’ And at such times perhaps you need to be very direct. But, most times you are much better off to spend the time to get the person onside and to get them to ‘buy into’ the why and how of change.

You might have to tread lightly or beat around the bush for a bit, but that is not wasted time. It’s often simply the process that needs to be taken to understand, and eventually get the best out of each other.

Depending on what the change is, the person who you want the change from may sometimes have far more experience and understanding at the ‘coal face’ than you do! If that’s the case you would be hugely arrogant and foolish to not get them onside and to use their experience and knowledge to achieve the best possible outcome.

For example imagine you have someone on your team who is in charge of inventory control, and that you want them to change how it’s done. Sometimes, because they have been doing something a certain way for a period of time they might have very useful insights into why the change you’re suggesting isn’t actually a good idea.

Maybe that’s not the best example but I am sure you get the idea.

Change isn’t always easy…

Most people have a lot invested in how and why they think, act, or do something a certain way. And taking the time to understand their perspective and get them fully engaged in bringing about change will pay dividends for everyone.

‘Letting go' is often the issue…

Letting go of what we know has worked in the past in order to embrace what ‘may or may not’ work in the future is what holds many people back from embracing change.

But if you want to be effective as a leader, manager, teacher. Or even a parent or mentor, you need to develop the skills to bring out the best that everyone has to offer.

You need to get them, to not only understand why change is needed. But more importantly to get them to recognise and feel that they are an essential and valued component in making change happen.

If you haven’t already read them, I suggest you read my books ‘GROW 2 Management’ and GROW 3 Team where there are many ideas to help with ‘Change’.

10 Things great bosses do! Part 2

13 August 2019

If you are like most salon owners, you opened up a business without giving a lot of thought to the fact that you will ‘be the boss’.

And you probably gave even less thought to the fact that ‘the skills needed to be a great boss, are not the same as the skills of being a great hairdresser.’

So, carrying on from last week here’s part 2 of my list of ’10 things great bosses do’. So, if you’re the boss, ask yourself; “How do I measure up?”

At number 6, great bosses…

6. Lead by example…

They recognise that their actions speak louder than words, and they live the values that they expect their team to have.

The 7th thing they do is…

7. Set goals that stretch the team…

They have a vision for the business and a path by which they will get there.

They encourage high performance and set goals and objectives that will stretch the team and in the process create bonds of loyalty to the business and each other.

And the 8th thing they do is…

8. Inspire and excite…

They make the team feel inspired and excited about their career so that they come to work each day with the desire to be the best at whatever they’re doing.

At number 9, they…

9. Align the team…

They understand that their role is to build a team whose vision, values and code of conduct are aligned. They provide open honest and clear communication and expect the same of others.

And at number 10, they

10. Reward and acknowledge…

Great bosses look for opportunities to praise and acknowledge individual performance on their team.

They understand the need to develop in the team a sense of pride and self-confidence that outlasts any award or pat on the back.

So, how do you measure up as a great boss and more importantly, what are you doing to become an even better leader?

If you don’t already have them I suggest that you get my books GROW 2 Management and GROW 3 Team, which are full of ideas to help you become a better leader or manager.

Thanks for watching

Have a great week!

10 things great bosses do! Part 1

6 August 2019

Being the boss can be hard …but, no one ever said it would be easy!

Not everyone aspires to one day ‘be the boss’, and many of us don’t naturally wish to ‘have a boss’.

But, at the same time, most of us want to be part of a great team, and great teams are led by great leaders. And at the end of the day; “All businesses ‘live and die’ by the strength of their leadership.”

So, here’s ‘Part 1’ of my list of 10 things great bosses do. So, if you’re the boss, ask yourself; “How do I measure up?”

At number 1, Great bosses are…

1. Proactive and forward-thinking…

They are visionaries! They know they won’t always get it right, but they’re always looking ahead and taking action.

At number 2, they…

2. Create a culture by design rather than default…

They purposefully create a culture that reflects their values, rather than let the culture create itself.

They recognise that the culture of the business is a valuable, and sometimes fragile asset. So they passionately nurture and protect it, by making sure they attract people who share the same values.

And they don’t hesitate to ‘move those people on’ that don’t share the same values.

At number 3, they…

3. Encourage new ideas and new ways of thinking…

Great bosses think outside the box and empower their team to do the same.

They are not threatened by new ideas and new ways of thinking, instead they feed off it, they recognise that running a business, developing a culture and building a team is a very creative process.

They recognise that, ‘what was right and worked yesterday may not be right and work today’, so they are always on a quest of constant and never-ending improvement.

The 4th thing they do is…

4. Empower others with a sense of ownership…

They don’t just ‘talk the talk’ of teamwork and ownership. They create an environment and systems that encourage open honest feedback and aren’t blinkered or threatened by not having total control.

They recognise that the challenge isn’t just in letting new ideas in, but in getting old ideas out. So they create an environment where everyone understands that their ideas matter, and that everyone has the power to influence change and control the outcome.

And the 5th thing that great bosses do is…

5. Create a learning environment…

They develop leadership and growth from within the team.

They use the workplace as a classroom, integrating individual learning and growth into every job description so that personal and professional development is required and rewarded.

That’s the end of Part 1 ’10 things great bosses do’. Part 2 is next week.

If you don’t already have them I suggest that you get my books GROW 2 Management and GROW 3 Team, which are full of ideas to help you become a better leader or manager.

Thanks for watching

See you next week for part 2.

Until then,

Have a great week!

The most underused management strategy?

11 June 2019

If you are an owner or manager, you probably have systems, and vision statements, and job descriptions and policy manuals… and that’s just the beginning of what’s needed to create structure, to build a team and grow a business.

And while all those things are not only important but essential to building a business, sometimes we forget about some of the most simple ways to get the best out of our people.

An example of that is what is perhaps the most under-utilised management strategy, and that is good old fashioned ‘encouragement!’

That’s right, ‘ENCOURAGEMENT’.

Just the word on its own, ‘encouragement’ is uplifting, it’s positive, happy and full of possibility and potential. 

If you are a manager of people there are many things that you ‘can do’, and ‘need to do’, to get the best out of your people. 

But sometimes it’s the human element, the nurturing of the human spirit and ambition through ‘encouraging’ those on your team to become the best version of themselves possible that makes the real difference.

Show them that you believe in them, encourage them to grow, encourage them to dream, encourage them to have goals and encourage them to take risks.

That's what real leaders do, they encourage the individuals on their team to believe in themselves, to believe in a better future and take steps to make it happen

So what can you do, and what can you say to ‘encourage’ those on your team to become the best version of themselves possible.

I believe in you, you’ve got this… and what’s more, I encourage you to share this on your social media

Thank you for watching…

Have a great week! 

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