“The real battle in business today is the battle for talent. If you can win that one, the battle for loyal customers and healthy profitability is a lot easier.” –Donald Cooper

Mr. Cooper is one of the greatest retail entrepreneurs of Canada who now spends his time consulting, coaching, and mentoring businesses all over the world.

Just as Mr. Cooper implies, your staff will determine your profitability and it isn’t just “staff” anymore –it applies to chair/booth renters coming into the market place. It may change your business structure but it is still about the people who populate your salon/spa. So let’s look at this from two different perspectives:

As a salon/spa owner you have three different levels of employees.

Break down each segment of your staff and determine what it is you will do this year to keep each and every one of them profitable for you and happy for themselves.

  1. The experienced, long-term employee who has been with you forever; the junior employee who has been with you for a couple of years or more; and the ones you haven’t yet hired!
  2. Your senior staff members need different motivation than your juniors; not just in education but in personal development.  Keep in the back of your mind that the grass is always looking greener to staff.  If they have been with you for 5-7 years, this may be the period where they are getting itchy feet.  How can you keep them?  Sometimes, it is as easy as asking!
  3. The ones you haven’t hired. The number two question that Catherine and I get asked is, “where do I find new stylists and or estheticians?”  (Right after, “How do I get new clients?”)  I think the questions are ass-backward! If you can develop good/great talent the battle for profits DOES become easier!

What are you doing to attract new hires into your salon? In today’s market place you are going to sit around and wait a long time. When was the last time your asked your service providers to rate your business, your leadership style, or simply, “what do YOU want”?  Being taken for granted is a job-killer. The bonus to keeping your senior staff engaged is that the juniors see that there is a place to go; promotions to be made, etc. Plan different educational events and personal development for your junior service providers. Their needs at the beginning of their career will be different from your seniors.

Make a star, don’t hire a star. Get out to schools and start taking responsibility for developing new talent!

Start in the high schools and be available for Career Days. Let the next generation know how incredible industry this is.  Get into the academies and volunteer your time to teach and mentor.  You will find out who the newbies are and who has potential before they even hit the market place.

Market your salon/spa to the potential service providers that are coming up.  Be THE salon that every newbie wants to work at.

As an owner of a chair/booth rent salon, you have become a landlord. You are renting space to a service provider. I have seen two kinds of business models for the chair/booth rent salons.

  1. In one, the owner just rents out a station.  The service provider is allowed to come and go as they please, and each and every one of them carries their own product and retail line.
  2. In the second business model we have a salon/spa owner who has the best interest of his/her clients as well as his/her renters in mind.  Each renter has a contract, stating consistent expectations. There is only one color line in the dispensary and the retail line is reflective of the clients’ needs. Both models have attrition.  Service providers and renters come and go for various reasons.

Like business model number one, we still need to be on the lookout for new and eager staff! It isn’t as easy to hire newbies right into a contract situation, but consider hiring an assistant to work on the floor with your renters as part of the rental agreement. This is a great way to romance new renters, as well as a way to train the next generation within your own business.

Whatever the business model you have, put the needs of your service providers first. Without them you do not have a business!