Expert Advice: Work on your business, not in it

Katie Godfrey explains why as a salon owner, it's time to step out of the salon.

As a salon owner, the allure of being hands-on with treatments and interacting directly with clients is undeniable. After all, it's often the passion for beauty therapy and hairdressing that drives us to open our own salon in the first place. 

Yet, as the business grows, there comes a pivotal moment when stepping out of the salon and focusing on the bigger picture becomes not just beneficial, but necessary for growth.

Transitioning from being a therapist to a business owner can be daunting. Many salon owners find themselves inundated with the day-to-day tasks of running a business, from managing finances to overseeing staff and marketing efforts. It's a juggling act that can leave little time or energy for strategic planning and growth.

The reality is, for a salon to reach its full potential, the owner must step away from the treatment room and dedicate time to working on the business, rather than in it. This shift in focus allows for a more holistic approach to business management and opens up opportunities for expansion and innovation.

During the tumultuous period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of achieving a work-life balance became more apparent than ever. Balancing the demands of running a salon with personal and family life can feel overwhelming, especially when trying to maintain a client base and keep up with administrative tasks. Working on the business full-time not only allows for a better work-life balance but also enables salon owners to dedicate 100% of their energy to growing their business.

Sit in your clients' chair

Stepping out of the salon also provides a unique perspective on customer experience. By observing the salon from a client's viewpoint, owners can identify areas for improvement and ensure that every aspect of the salon, from cleanliness to customer service, is what's needed within the business and no areas are slipping. 

A simple yet powerful tip for salon owners is to sit in the client's chair and observe their surroundings. What do they see? This exercise can reveal overlooked areas that may need attention, such as cleanliness or decor, ultimately enhancing the overall client experience.

Observe the salon from a client's viewpoint to identify areas for improvement and ensure that every aspect of the salon, from cleanliness to customer service, is what's needed.
Moreover, stepping out of the salon gives owners the time and flexibility to invest in your team. Regular training sessions ensure that the team are equipped with the skills and knowledge to provide exceptional service, even in your absence. This not only benefits the salon's reputation but also allows owners to step in and assist during busy periods or unforeseen staffing shortages.

Focus on the bigger picture

While the temptation to return to the treatment room may be strong, it's essential for salon owners to remain focused on the bigger picture. By delegating tasks, empowering your team and letting go of some control, owners can create a business that thrives even in your absence.

Ultimately, transitioning from working in the salon to working on the business is a necessary step towards long-term success. It may feel daunting at first, but by trusting in your team and focusing on strategic growth, salon owners can see the full potential of their business. 

Stepping out of the salon may be scary, but it's also the key to a brighter future for both the business and its owner. This is something I am working a lot on with some of my salon and clinic owners within my Mastermind this year which is really exciting for them levelling up.

Katie Godfrey is a Business Strategist and Mentor and CEO of KG Professional, offering ABT-Accredited courses.