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Five Biggest Mistakes a Salon Owner Can Make

by Celeste Trapp

Owning any business is not an easy job, certainly

not a guarantee for profitability, or even staying in

business. If you own a salon or even if you want to

own a salon, take note of these five mistakes com-

monly made that could affect your profitability and

success: 1) Weak Foundation or policies; 2) Ineffec-

tive or non-existent Marketing; 3) Failure to Coach

Performance; 4) No Systems; and 5) Under Utiliza-

tion of Technology.

(These mistakes are based on

being a commission based salon).

The first mistake

will be covered in this issue of

The Stylis

t and the

remaining mistakes in future issues.


Policies and procedures not clearly communi-


—Does your staff know exactly what is ex-

pected of them? Employees of any company should

have clear communication with their employer’s

policies. If you don’t have solid policies, now is the

time to decide on them and put them in black and

white in an Employee Handbook.

Policies around attendance, chores, and dress

code, for example, are a necessity to hold your em-

ployees to the standards you want for your salon.

Without having these policies in writing you are

basically saying“Do as you want,”which is recipe for

a poorly operating team, as well as a team that is

nearly impossible to manage.

Once you have your policies in place, have your

team sign off that they have read them, and then

you have to enforce them. Yes, you have to make

sure your staff follows the policies consistently. You

may have a policy that states an employee will re-

ceive a verbal warning for an infraction (it’s a good

idea to give a laundry list of possible infractions)

and then receive a formal write-up if the behavior

happens again.

But then what?What happens if they receive a

write-up? You probably do not want to fire them

unless the write-up is for something worthy of

termination. So you might think about a bonus

program that would be void for a certain time, then

upon receiving a bonus or a work detail blocked off

on their books to assure that teammembers do not

want to receive a write-up. The ultimate goal here

is that your team


what is expected of them

and knows there is a


if they fail to meet

those expectations. A common best practice for

parenting -- more on that later.

Get a non-solicitation agreement. As a commis-

sion salon you should be helping build a clientele

for your staff. There is an investment on the salons

part to do so and you should protect your invest-

ment with a non-solicitation agreement. If your staff

chooses to go elsewhere this agreement states they

are not able to solicit your clients.

You can’t restrict them from practicing their

trade, but you can stop them from calling your

clients and inviting them to their new salon. This

means you must be able to decipher which clients