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Uncertain Times Call for Certain Leadership: 10 Steps That Will Spur Growth for Your Salon & Spa!

As someone who was coached myself, I came to learn and espouse that it is not the situation or circumstance I am dealing with that matters as much as it is who I am being. How I relate to things has my approach be empowering or dis-empowering. In all my years coaching salons and spas I have supported professionals to adopt this critical approach to leadership.

Now, more than ever before, this approach must be the calling card of every salon and spa owner. As we continue to navigate these uncertain times leaders must be certain about who they are, what they stand for and what they are fighting for. After all, everything is at stake.

I have had a unique vantage point these last few months. Through my support of salons & spas across the country who have re-opened to see many successes and many challenges. Salons have faced everything from inspections to walkouts; from breakthrough sales the first month to tapering off sales thereafter; from team members following through to team members questioning authority & decision making.

If you are reading this you can relate with what I am writing and I am here to remind you of who you are, of what you have fought so hard to create and to urge you to keep up the fight.

No matter if it has been smooth sailing or choppy, if you are moving along at a good pace or struggling as a leader here are some reminders and actions to help your strength and your resolve!

  1. Get back to what you value and lead from there. Your values and standards have gotten you this far and they can give you the spirit and energy to carry each day. Do not compromise them for an immediate gain or to please anyone.

  2. Culture is everything! Give your team a clear picture of the playing field and get them helping you. Now is not the time to worry about how they may feel about the realities being faced. The truth creates safety and clarity. Be committed to fight for the growth of the company and hold the team to account. Those that do not have the backbone can gain some by your leadership or move on if they are not up for it, and that is ok too.

  3. Over communicate! Let the team know where the business is at and what it needs from them. Meet with them regularly in meetings, huddles, and one-on-ones. Do not let these important functions fall out of place due to busyness.

  4. Be a cheerleader! Celebrate the smallest successes and the biggest. Positive news is great news, and it creates momentum.

  5. Hold the team accountable! No wiggle room, if you step over things you lose your cultural identity, and the team will begin to question your leadership. Take your personal feelings and opinions out of the accountability conversation. Your frustration is not as important as holding them to the system and having them learn a lesson.

  6. Expect the unexpected! Think long term with this crisis. Hoping it ends soon is nice, but it sets you up for frustration when challenges arise. We saw that in California as salons & spas were closed three different times. We must have resolve and strengthen ourselves for the road ahead.

  7. Be accessible! If you own the business but are spending the bulk of your time with clients, you are in the wrong place. Scale back at least 2 hours a day to be available to your team and to observe what is occurring. This is a must. You have never had to run your business like this before, so it is critical that you give your business and team the time and attention it desperately needs from you!

  8. Analyze trends and act upon them. Carve out time to look at the data and what direction it is pointing you towards. One powerful example that I have seen since we have re-opened is new client retention. I actively coach just over 20 salons and spas each month and all of them saw an increase in new client traffic yet none of them were looking at this information. Naturally, their busyness of being opened again and trying to serve all guests was getting in the way of seeing critical trends that needed time and attention. Based on the data we saw that all of them were gaining new business but that the rebooking percentage was trending at 22%. We attacked this through tracking, improving how they engaged the business on their first visit and following up after the new client left. I am happy to report improved results across the board. Go back over the last 3 months and analyze this area to see your effectiveness. Repeat this process with sales by each department, inventory, payroll, and back bar to support cash flow.

  9. Collaborate! Get your team involved in the decision-making process. The more they are, the more they will buy into new plans and execute them. Your team includes all of your employees, independent contractors, front desk team and, importantly your team from BBCOS. They have a unique view of the playing field based on the number of businesses they support. Give them your time and share what issues you face so they can be a part of your growth process!

  10. Reflection! Take time in a quiet and uninterrupted place to think about where you are and where you want to be. There is nothing more important than charting a path ahead. You can only do that if you carve out the time for it. Make this a priority.

If I have struck a nerve, then it is time to act. Look at this list and put them into priority. Focus on one until you have improved it, adopted it as a new system or behavior and implemented it successfully.

While we cannot control what is happening outside our salon or spa walls, we can control what we are doing inside of them. Focus on your team, your clients and how you serve them. They will resonate and respond. We will get through this and be stronger together!


Steve’s experience as a business coach and trainer spans over 26 years. He has coached over 475 salons to accelerate growth & profits. A two time author and expert on salon & spa finance, sales growth, marketing, systems development and leadership, he has delivered over 850 trainings and seminars to over 450,000 people in the United States and internationally. Follow Steve on Instagram at @saloncoachSJG and visit his website for more information.

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