Becoming a salon/spa owner is a guaranteed way to test what you’re made of.
Becoming an owner is an intoxicating mixture of vision, dreams and the confidence that with total control you can build a truly extraordinary business.
In so many ways, it’s more about the vision and potential opportunities than the making of money.
But, as all owners come to realize, there’s a ton of not-so-inspiring stuff that comes along with the actual “owning and leading” your own business.
That not-so-inspiring stuff can be summed up in two words — financial stress.
Financial stress in business can be nothing short of scary and gut wrenching. It causes sleepless nights, fear that bills won’t be paid, and the indecision of an uncertain future.
At Strategies, we get calls from owners in financial stress every day. All the stories sound like, “The money comes in and it all goes out — there’s nothing left over.”
What Strategies teaches and coaches is no different than a weight-loss diet or fitness program that can work wonders. Just like a diet or fitness coach, our job is to coach owners on the disciplines and hold them accountable to achieving their goals.
FACT: It’s the owner that must do the work to achieve the desired profitable outcomes he or she seeks.
PROBLEM: It’s extremely difficult for many owners to change the thinking and behaviors that created the financial stress in the first place. They want the bad times to go away — but resist the diet or fitness program to make it happen.
Here are my five No-Compromise Leadership strategies to overcome financial stress:
- It’s always been a numbers game: If you can’t predict your monthly revenues and expenses, you can’t control the money coming in and out of your business. Most entrepreneurial owners, especially those working behind the chair or in the treatment room, fight the forecasting and budgeting process as if it were the plague. Cash-flow management is a learned discipline that takes time to master. That’s why the Cash-Flow Plan is the foundation of Strategies coaching. THE FIX: You can’t build a financially strong salon/spa on a foundation made of dreams and desires. You have to do the work.
- It’s always been about systems: Systems bring structure and discipline into daily salon/spa operations. Example: If your Brand Promise is to deliver extraordinary customer service experiences to every client on every visit — your Brand Promise must be systematized down to the smallest detail. The less detail, the more inconsistency, the more waste and the more cost in the execution of work. It’s that simple. Too many owners and staff resist structure and systems with the excuse that “it restricts creativity.” That’s nonsense. THE FIX: If your business doesn’t have a collection of written operational systems, it is systemless. You have to do the work.
- It’s always been about accountability: Some owners are in-your-face control freaks. Others fear or confuse “coaching employees” with confrontation. Accountability is not a bad word. In fact, accountability makes consistency possible. Consistency is what transforms an average business into one capable of delivering world-class excellence. Accountability is equally essential in leadership and financial disciplines. THE FIX: If accountability is in short supply in your company, expect financial stress. If you think holding employees accountable is confrontational and will cause some possible turnover — take a look at your current level of stress to see the alternative. You have to do the work.
- It’s always been about making tough decisions: No sane individual goes into business to have a plate full of tough decisions. Tough decisions are part of business ownership. It sucks to cut costs like cleaning services that will have to be done by you and your staff. It sucks to terminate an employee because payroll costs are too high. It sucks to miss growth opportunities because your company is already struggling with financing and credit card debt. Excessive debt is usually the result of questionable decisions and poor financial controls. THE FIX: The tendency of most owners is to wait too long to make tough decisions. In business, it’s always best to rip the Band-Aid off and get it over with. You have to do the work.
- It’s always been about being outside your comfort zone: Most owners learn by trial and error. When there’s repeated errors and very little learning, the result almost always manifests itself as financial stress. In business, comfort zones are the equivalent of long-term parking lots that get you nowhere fast. Business is about persistent change and adaptation. In the salon/spa industry, owners fear change because they fear employee pushback or employees leaving and taking a chunk of their business with them. THE FIX: The owners we coach, that make the most progress, are the ones that fight to get out of their comfort zones. They understand that getting uncomfortable is what it takes to lead their companies to a better place. You have to do the work.
Here’s my challenge to you: What we teach and coach is not complicated or mysterious. We teach proven best business practices and systems that can transform a business nightmare into a profitable business that provides opportunities for owners and staff.
If you’re feeling financial stress, it’s time to look behind your leadership curtain and address the five steps presented here.