25 Years of Strategies — A Look Back and a Look Ahead

September 10, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 11 Comments

I started Strategies in small office at 40 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT, on September 13, 1993.

My first priority, when I started Strategies, was to write and design the first issue of Strategies Magazine, that issue was dated January 1994, Volume 1, Issue 1.

I published Strategies Magazine for fourteen years with the final issue being December 2007, Volume 14, Issue 12. We published 168 issues in all and I was proud of each and every one.

There was no Internet to speak of back then. By the early 2000’s, print media was quickly becoming obsolete.

$89 subscriptions for our 16-page, no advertising, magazine were tough to sell and Strategies primary business shifted to business seminars and coaching. It was time to say, “goodbye” to my beloved little magazine.

We held our first Incubator seminar in the Spring of 1994. From that very first Incubator, we began teaching what eventually became known as Team-Based Pay. From day one, Strategies and I became known as that “Team-Based Pay” guy/company.... Read More

I started Strategies in small office at 40 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT, on September 13, 1993. My first priority, when I started Strategies, was to write and design the first issue of Strategies Magazine, that issue was dated January 1994, Volume 1, Issue 1. I published Strategies Magazine for fourteen years with the final issue being December 2007, Volume 14, Issue 12. We published 168 issues in all and I…
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Categories: Leadership

The Dangers of Being a Reluctant Salon/Spa Leader — and What to do About It

September 3, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

A reluctant salon/spa leader operates in what is best described as a protective bubble.

Inside the bubble, it’s safe. Employee challenges don’t look so bad. Productivity and cash-flow issues don’t appear as critical. Customer service breakdowns will probably fix themselves.

Outside the bubble, there’s a pile of unaddressed leadership responsibilities.

  • It’s where conversations that need to happen don’t.
  • It’s where productivity and performance issues are viewed as “is what it is.”
  • It’s where one cash-flow leak gives birth to another.
  • It’s one opportunity after another remaining out of reach.

Being a leader doesn’t mean dealing with tough stuff all day, everyday. It means engaging with fairness and integrity. It means taking responsibility rather than avoiding.

FACT: Leadership has its rewards — but those rewards have to be earned.

Here are my eight No-Compromise Leadership strategies to stop or never become a reluctant leader:... Read More

A reluctant salon/spa leader operates in what is best described as a protective bubble. Inside the bubble, it’s safe. Employee challenges don’t look so bad. Productivity and cash-flow issues don’t appear as critical. Customer service breakdowns will probably fix themselves. Outside the bubble, there’s a pile of unaddressed leadership responsibilities. It’s where conversations that need to happen don’t. It’s where productivity and performance issues are viewed as “is what it…
Read More

Categories: Uncategorized

10 Reasons It’s Great to Own an Employee-Based Salon or Spa

August 27, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

Strategies Coach, Melanie Loboda, recently completed a Team-Based Pay (TBP) conversion for Brooks and Co. Innovative Hair Design in Edwardsville, PA.

When I posted my “Welcome to the TBP family” on our Strategies Facebook page, owner, Mary Ann Brooks, replied, “Thank you Neil for starting your awesome company!!” That made my day.

I’m sharing this for two reasons:

  1. I have a deep sense of pride and an unrelenting passion for the company I started 25 years ago.
  2. I deeply respect owners that have the wisdom and confidence to implement change — especially a new compensation system and business model.

There is nothing easy about starting, owning and leading a salon/spa company. There are the inevitable setbacks, stress, and the hard-fought comebacks.

Through it all, there are specific reasons that keep us going and pushing forward.

Here are my TEN No-Compromise Leadership reasons why it’s great to own an employee-based salon/spa company:... Read More

Strategies Coach, Melanie Loboda, recently completed a Team-Based Pay (TBP) conversion for Brooks and Co. Innovative Hair Design in Edwardsville, PA. When I posted my “Welcome to the TBP family” on our Strategies Facebook page, owner, Mary Ann Brooks, replied, “Thank you Neil for starting your awesome company!!” That made my day. I’m sharing this for two reasons: I have a deep sense of pride and an unrelenting passion for…
Read More

Categories: Leadership

How to Create a Salon/Spa Culture of Accountability Without Confrontation

August 20, 2018 | By Eric Ducoff | No Comments

Salon/spa owners are always asking, “How do I get ‘them’ to hold each other accountable?”

The question that owners need to be asking is: How good am I at holding myself accountable?

When it comes to leadership, the answer is always, “You get what you model.”

Accountability is simply the responsibility to account for one’s actions.

For owners and leaders, it is the responsibility to hold others accountable for actions and behaviors that are inconsistent with the company’s vision and values.

So why is accountability so hard for so many owners and leaders?

More importantly, how do we achieve accountability without being confrontational?

The answer, in most cases, is the fear, or discomfort, of initiating what could be an unpleasant conversation.

FACT: Too often, people in leadership positions are afraid, or just uncomfortable, because they relate accountability to confrontation.... Read More

Salon/spa owners are always asking, “How do I get ‘them’ to hold each other accountable?” The question that owners need to be asking is: How good am I at holding myself accountable? When it comes to leadership, the answer is always, “You get what you model.” Accountability is simply the responsibility to account for one’s actions. For owners and leaders, it is the responsibility to hold others accountable for actions and behaviors that are…
Read More

Categories: Uncategorized

Is Your Salon or Spa Drowning in the Sea of Sameness?

August 13, 2018 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

“Sameness” means little distinction between one salon/spa business and another.

Sameness goes beyond location, design and decor to include skills, customer service excellence, and, most importantly, the culture of the salon/spa.

For employee-based salon/spas, sameness is the opposite of memorable. Nothing notable stands out. Branding is blah.

Ride down any street, pass any strip center, and you’ll see one salon or spa after another. Would yours stand out? Would yours consistently deliver memorable experiences?

My benchmark for a stand-out business

There is no shortage of beautiful inns in New England to choose from. There’s a reason why we keep going to back to Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, Vermont.

From our first visit, its uniqueness was obvious. Dinners are truly four star. The hand cut wood Stave Puzzles are delightfully challenging and fun. The little touches like the handwritten welcome note on the bed, the handmade cloth heart “do not disturb” sign (that you can take home as memento), careful attention to allergies, and so much more.... Read More

“Sameness” means little distinction between one salon/spa business and another. Sameness goes beyond location, design and decor to include skills, customer service excellence, and, most importantly, the culture of the salon/spa. For employee-based salon/spas, sameness is the opposite of memorable. Nothing notable stands out. Branding is blah. Ride down any street, pass any strip center, and you’ll see one salon or spa after another. Would yours stand out? Would yours…
Read More

Categories: Leadership

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