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Be the best in Salon Management – Learn from your Mistakes

Salon Management is key for a successful salon business. Mistakes are our biggest lessons and one of my biggest lessons that I learned in the beauty industry was to learn to be a manager/owner before you open your first salon. When I was only 24 years old, I was one of the hottest stylists in Southern California. Well-known, skilled, as well a great self-marketer, I thought I was ready to open a big salon. But when I opened the doors to Visage Appearance Centre, in the new (back then) downtown Long Beach area, I was not as prepared as I should have been. Salon Management was not my forte.

Sure, I wrote a great business plan, I could teach my staff how to be great technicians, and, as I stated before, I could use my (self)-marketing skills to keep my staff busy. What I was not prepared for was the day-to-day management of my staff such as morale, creating community, communication. I wasn’t good management material and I certainly didn’t have the discipline or skills to handle all the paperwork such as insurance, taxes and ordering. Only in retrospect can I now pat myself on the back because, in my first year of business, I ended up hiring a manager from one of my existing staff members who had salon management skills and she wanted to use them for Visage. But I was very lucky she was in place because I did not know how to even go about hiring a manager!

I’d advise any stylist, esthetician or service provider to get salon management skills before opening their own salon or spa. So many of us in the beauty industry open businesses with staff because we are great service providers. But being a great hairdresser does not make you a great business owner nor will it make you a good-to-okay manager. In fact, you might be a terrible manager because you may have only been nurturing your artist skills.

Another great piece of advice I can give to any service provider [other than to acquire salon management skills before opening your own staffed salon] would be to be willing to give up actually doing services yourself in your own salon. If you step away from behind the chair, you’ll have time to learn how to be a good manager, which is a full time job. If you were to open your own salon or spa and that business would have to rely on the income of your own services performed, I suggest you don’t open a staffed salon at all. Just rent a salon suite. You’ll sleep better at night, have money in your pocket and be able to take vacations.

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