4 leadership tips for salon owners

With all the talk about the 2012 presidential primaries, I thought it was a good time to talk about leadership. Did you know that your leadership skills may be the most critical factor for your success?It’s definitely not about your website. Or even how great you and your staff are at producing fabulous hair cuts or spa experiences.  Legendary salon owner Philip Pelusi shared this gem about the connection between your personal development and the success of your salon.

Early on, Pelusi came to the  realization that his salon could only grow as far as he could develop as an entrepreneur. If he would not move beyond his comfort zone, he would not have the business of his dreams.

Now that could be a scary concept. But, isn’t the thought of having the business of your dreams an amazing one? For Pelusi, this has meant to own multiple salons in Pittsburgh and New York City, and launching multiple product lines. What is this dream for you?

Here are some tips to develop yourself as a salon leader and entrepreneur:

Work on your leadership skills. In order to inspire your staff and produce results, you need to be comfortable with your role as leader. Leaders take responsibility and make tough decisions to get their businesses to the next level. Your ability to find and keep good staff is directly linked to your leadership ability. A strong business owner constantly learns new techniques that will make him more effective with motivating his team. Read the books and blogs of the authorities on leadership like John Maxwell. Subscribe to magazines that share stories of business leaders, regardless of industry like Entrpreneur.

Invest in your general business skills. When you made the decision to run a business and not be an employee, you also took on the challenge to become a general manager. In this role, you need to make sure that your collective team has the right mix of skills. Or, you may need to improve in some key areas that are critical to your ability to keep a well-oiled and profitable machine. It is a good idea to check out seminars hosted by your local small business associations and professional networking groups. If you need more advanced training in an area for your business to get to the next level, it may be best to invest in a training program so that you can get the right support.

Develop your personal brand. You have to decide how you want to distinguish your business from the other beauty and personal care businesses in your area. What is the “Your Salon” way? Pick at least one thing to become part of your signature service. Don’t forget to make sure that all your clients experience it on each visit. And your staff live it every day when they come to work. For example, all Nordstrom department store staff never just hand you your bag over the counter after you make a purchase. The sales clerk always walks around the counter and politely hands your purchases to you. Nordstrom found a way to do a routine act in a remarkable way.

Dare to think big. Beyond specific skills, your mindset is also a key to your success. If you listen to the negative chatter in your head that says your current business is as good as it gets, you will be correct. If you believe that your business will always be a struggle, it will be. Back in the day, your own ambition may have motivated you to elevate from stylist to owner. You left your old salon because you felt that you could not grow any further. If you don’t continue to create big goals for your salon, your best staff will do the same thing to you. It doesn’t mean you have to aspire to create another SuperCuts franchise. Just remember that the best businesses across all industries are always in pursuit of what’s next.

The final scoop:

If you are a salon owner, your first job is as leader. Honestly assess your effectiveness as a leader on a regular basis. If you identify an area where you would like to feel more confident, get some help so that you don’t limit the growth of your business.

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