You know the type of days, when no matter how many times you re-heat your coffee, you still end up drinking it cold... For salon owners, this can happen every single day; you've got inventory orders to fill, phone calls to answer, employees to pay, sinks to clean, towels to dry, etc.
We really want you to optimize your time so you don’t have to work longer hours, just smarter ones. Ladies and gents, it’s actually proven (by real, researched data) that working longer hours doesn't mean you are more productive. As well as optimizing your time, we also want you to drink your coffee while it's warm and eat a proper balanced meal! And you know, being a workaholic won’t make you #successful, it will make you #nuts.
Salon Management: What Does ‘Work Smart’ Even Mean?
Working smart is not only for the Warren Buffett’s and Bill Gates’ of this world. If you thought the previous paragraph was written especially for you, these 7 tips to work smarter, not harder, are perfect for you.
1. Make a (Smart) To-Do List
If your to-do list is chock-a-block full of bullet points, it will be demotivating and you probably won’t concentrate your time on the urgent tasks that lie ahead and that actually matter. If you add tasks like clean keyboard or colour-code magazines in waiting area, you’ll spend all your time doing those useless tasks. Keep your list minimal with a maximum of 5 points of the most important tasks (MIT) you need to tackle today. When you make time for a goal-related MIT during the morning, it will motivate you and start your day right.
With this in mind, when you're completing tasks off your super smart to-do list, don't ruin things by multitasking. People always think that multitasking is great and can help you do things twice as fast. But haven't you ever seen someone walk and text on the sidewalk? They are usually a hazard for other walkers! Don't be like them, don't switch your attention from one thing to the next. Concentrate on one task, do it well, and move on.
2. Accomplishments > Time
If you only think about time, you might get discouraged and feel low. If you feel bad because you only had 3 customers come in your salon in an 8 hour day stop thinking that way. Concentrate on the things you accomplished with those clients. For instance, Suzy (your a.m. haircut) asked if you also offer men’s haircuts in your salon because her husband was interested in checking your place out since Suzy loves it so much. Your two p.m. appointments (Juliette and Anna) took pictures of their new haircuts and shared them online (which means free online advertisement for you, score!) and Anna asked you if you could style her best friend’s hair at her wedding. So yeah, maybe you only had three appointments today but you had great clients that are spreading great words about you.
Feeling anxious because you didn’t make your daily revenue goal won’t help you, it will lead to you obsess over it. Focusing your energy on the positive aspects of your day that you’ve measured and not timed will benefit you greatly because you'll focus on the positive things that happened during your day.
On That Note, Timing Yourself Can Sometimes Be Useful
When you create a to-do list, it can be difficult to analyze how long a specific task will take you. Some people will give themselves too much time while others give themselves not enough time. To make sure you don’t stress yourself even more, see how long tasks like counting the cash, mopping the floor, cutting someone’s hair, colouring someone’s hair, etc. take. Don’t freak out if they take more time than you thought! It’s a learning exercise for your salon management. After this exercise you can make your spectacular to-do list and kill it.
3. Keep a Positive Attitude
People work more effectively when they have a positive attitude. Play your favourite music, talk with your clients, take breaks so you can get your mind off the stressful stuff. The greatest asset of your business is you. You can’t be on your A-game 24/7 if you’re not properly rested. You can walk around the block, read a chapter of a book you love, draw, do anything you like that keeps your mind off work for 15 minutes.
If you overwork yourself, you’ll be tired and sluggish which means you won’t be as productive and happy at work. Happy people are more successful: they don’t scare away clients.
Relieve Stress (Ommmmm)
A great way to keep a positive attitude at work is to relieve any type of stress you have before your work day starts or after it ends. Physical activities like yoga or running, meditation, listening to music (or dancing to it), and reading are great stress relievers. Do what you love and what stimulates your body and brain. Scrolling through your social media feed or watching television all night won’t reduce your stress levels so unglue yourself from your screens.
4. Communicate Information Concisely
Communication is key: Whether you have 10 employees or 1 in your salon, you need to put into place a system that works and that people use. You can’t communicate one way and your employees another: things won’t work out. There will be confusing and frustration which means tip #3 will be out the window. Your salon should resemble a dance choreography. In Anthony Bourdain’s book, Kitchen Confidential, he said, “cooking done well is a beautiful thing to watch. It’s a high-speed collaboration resembling, at its best, ballet or modern dance.” The same should go for your hair salon.
Be concise in your salon management, if you send emails to your employees keep them short and sweet (perhaps you've started baking?). Same goes for team meetings: don’t ramble on for long because people lose their concentration after only 8 seconds. Your goldfish has a longer attention span! There’s not point in printing out a 2-page document of the day's agenda. Most people won’t be listening after your opening remarks. Even this paragraph was too long to explain all this!
5. Create an All-Star Daily Routine
If you use an online booking and calendar tool, you can create a daily schedule you can follow. Humans love routines, we are creatures of habits. A certain famous billionaire used to wear a black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers practically every day so he wouldn’t get distracted with the less pertinent items of his daily routine. Steve Jobs knew that dressing the same way would save him time and energy. Your routine doesn’t have to be timed to the minute, but guidelines help set up your day and organize what you do with it.
6. Silent (Productivity) Killers
Emails are great! If you don’t like talking on the phone or accept long-distance calls, they can be extremely useful. But they shouldn’t constantly distract you from more important tasks that lie ahead. If you need to make an important inventory check before noon because your supplier is calling at noon exactly, don’t get distracted by the PING coming from your laptop or phone.
Checking your email (probably a message from your mother or spam from a store, you’ve only been to once) will sidetrack you and you won’t be able to concentrate on your task ahead. Same for text messages, cute baby or animal videos, or anything else that can distract you. In your routine (tip #5), allocate time to check your emails so you’re concentrated on that for 15-30 minutes and then log off. Make sure you give the same rules to your employees so your salon management is homogeneous.
7. Concentrate Your Time and Energy on The Work You Love
You built your salon enterprise because you love cutting hair, and you love meeting new people. You didn’t sign up for this to answer and make calls all day because that’s not what makes you excited about your work. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that sometimes you do have to complete tasks you don’t love but overall, try to concentrate your time on the stuff you like. If you’re not into all that administrative work, why not get yourself an online appointment booking system? It will also create waiting lists for you, send reminders to your clients, etc. All the boring tasks will be completed automatically for you.
What you need to remember is to concentrate your work day on doing what you love. There's nothing better than seeing your client's smile after you've cut and styled their hair exactly the way they wanted. That's why you started your own salon, right?
These tips will help you get more of these happy moments, and eliminate any frustrating moments. If you're feeling overwhelmed with all these tips, why not start with automating your whole scheduling and booking system? It's a great place to start. Now that you've finished this captivating article, you can now start working smarter!