Simon Shaw is co-founder and past director of international award-winning salon group, Haringtons. Currently Chairperson for the Fellowship for British Hairdressing, he’s spent 44 years in the industry and over 35 years creating salon culture, focusing on developing people and providing top customer service.
He teaches for L’Oreal both in the UK and abroad, as well as privately for individual salons. Simon is a mentor for L’Oreal’s ID artist programme and his clients include artistic and management teams at Trevor Sorbie, Charles Worthington, Rush, Headmasters, Charles & Karen Dodds, Daniel Galvin and more. These are his top 10 business tips for 2020.
The New Year is the perfect time to take a look at the salon, often after the Christmas rush things can feel a little flat, so I always think starting with the team is best. After all, without a great team the salon is just bricks and mortar. Giving everyone a plan really helps. Never give training for the sake of it; this can be as demotivating as no training at all.
Follow these easy steps to ensure maximum impact from any training you provide, and to take a really good look at the salon in general…
1. Conduct a thorough review of each team member’s performance for the previous year. Look at retail sales, amount of turnover achieved in cutting, styling, and colour. Are there any obvious gaps in their knowledge? These gaps form part of their training plan. This is what I would call the skill part of the role.
2. Look at repeat and new client bookings, for instance if your stylist was given 100 new clients how many have been back more than twice? How many clients are being recommended to them by their regular clients? If you spot a trend this needs addressing with some communication skills training. This can either be done individually or as a group. In my experience there is great value in running consultation training (which is communication skills) for the whole team including reception and trainees.
3. Have a focus for the whole team, for example you may decide to work on session styling, hair up and wedding hair, some team members may be confident in these areas but others may not. Make it fun, people tend to learn more successfully when they are not too stressed. Another focus may be working on precision cutting. Spend some time reviewing the way you all teach, everybody should be teaching the same way, so work out your salon’s way of doing each haircut and colour technique, write them down and do head sheets – this forms your training manual. Not only does this improve standards it also helps everyone to feel involved.
4. Make sure everyone has a plan and make sure it is broken down into months. This way every team member will have a sense of direction. I would do a chart for everyone so they can see exactly where they are and what’s coming next. People like this clarity.
5. Introduce your plan at the first team meeting early in the New Year. Explain the business objectives for the year and how the plan fits with this. It is very important to regularly review what’s happening – I would suggest once a quarter.
6. Don’t forget to feed your team’s artistic side, take them for one or two days out a year to either a hair show or a gallery or even the theatre. These things are team building but can also bring inspiration.
The salon in general
7. Start outside the salon, stand back and take a look at your shop window, what is it saying to potential clients? Walk through the salon from front to back, try to see it from a client’s point of view, sit at a position, see what they see. Make a list of everything that needs attention, then plan when it will get done.
8. Look at your computer system, are you making the most of it? Most salon owners I work with only utilise a small amount of their computer’s capability. Is it running your stock control?
Salons normally spend 10% of their turnover on stock so controlling spending on this element of your business is vital.
9. Review all your suppliers. This is a dull job, however a day of doing this can save hundreds if not thousands of pounds, start with gas and electricity, then move on to every supplier you have.
10. Lastly don’t forget about yourself. What are your aims for the year ahead? What training do you need to keep yourself motivated? Your team needs you to be fully engaged and motivated. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in running a salon. As the leader you owe it to yourself and your team to stay ahead of the game.