Top five tips for running an employee salon business

By Simon Shaw on September 26th, 2023

Simon Shaw has a proven talent coaching both teams and individuals to success – he passionately believes that people are the key to a successful business.
Simon co-founded and was director of the international award-winning salon group, Haringtons. He has spent 40 years in the industry and over 30 years creating salon culture, focusing on developing people and providing top customer service.

In 2009, Simon launched Simon Shaw Education, and is undertaking courses for L’Oréal both in the UK and abroad, as well as privately for individual salons. Simon is also a mentor for L’Oréal’s ID Artist programme, he has impeccable credentials to advise on all elements of business, from the nitty-gritty of financial issues to motivating staff, to creative work and presentation skills. These are his top 5 tips for running an employee salon business.

Customer Service

Train your staff to prioritize excellent customer service. Creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere will keep clients coming back and lead to positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Make customer service a key pillar in your training and the day to day running of your salon so that all staff understand it is one of your USPs.

Realistically, all salons should be good at doing hair, so customer service is one of the places you can stand out – give clients a reason to choose your salon because as well as delivering the perfect cut and colour you also make them feel special, have amazing good quality coffee/glass of wine/locally sourced snacks, you have that plant based milk they like (make a note – if your client asked for oat milk and you didn’t have it last time, have it in for their next visit and make a point of saying it when you offer them a drink – they’ll feel like you really care…).

Maybe you give a complimentary neck and head massage or have a beautiful smelling hand cream on the styling stations, or you can pop out and top up their parking if they’re running out – all those little things that make them feel special.

Skill Development

Encourage continuous learning and skill development among your hairstylists. Attend workshops, seminars, or bring in experts to improve their techniques and keep up with the latest trends. Match the stylist to the course they want to do – there’s no point sending a colourist on an extensions course for the sake of it if they’ll never do it in salon. Ask them who they want to learn with as well, and put them on courses with people who inspire and excite them. Go on some courses as a team so that you get the team building element from your investment.

Time Management

Teach your team effective time management skills to ensure efficient appointments and minimize waiting times. This will enhance customer satisfaction and optimize salon operations. Some team members will really struggle with time management so work with them to create a daily plan until you pinpoint and iron out the areas that are causing them blocks.

Marketing and promotion

Focus on marketing strategies to attract new clients and retain existing ones. Utilize social media, loyalty programs, and special offers to increase visibility and engagement. Use your salon database as well, often I see salons spending ages on social media where they have a few hundred followers with only a small number seeing their posts, but not sending a newsletter to their client database which will likely total thousands!

Team collaboration

Foster a collaborative and supportive environment among your staff. Encourage teamwork and open communication, which will lead to a more cohesive and productive salon. Team building can reinforce the other points above, for example, go out to somewhere fancy that embodies exemplary customer service – a restaurant or spa for example – don’t forget that younger members of the team may never have experienced this and it’s a great way to demonstrate what good customer service looks like while bonding as a team.

Or have a regular education day – if someone’s been on a course they could demonstrate what they’ve learnt which is a great way to disseminate knowledge across the team, or role play some customer service scenarios. You could have a social media content capture day, or an outing together.

Remember these don’t have to be boozy, do something experience based that’s stress relieving, like a charity walk, kitten yoga class or sound bath. Ultimately work should be a fun place to be that inspires the team so don’t be afraid to go off piste!

Simon Shaw

Simon has over 40 years’ industry experience where spent time developing and delivering the perfect salon culture, and now works personally with business owners who want to see their salons, brands, influence and profits flourish.

All articles by Simon Shaw

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