Some Of The Best Business Advice You’ll Get All Year!
By Jackie Summers
The usual Paul Mitchell Gathering took a “revolutionary” shift this year, when guests assembled for two days of intensive business-building education and motivation. At Beauty rEvolution in Las Vegas, there wasn’t a hairpin in sight. Instead, hosts John Paul DeJoria and Robert Cromeans presented a lineup of the company’s business experts—including President Luke Jacobellis, Vice Chairman Michaeline DeJoria, Director of Education Stephanie Kocielski, Digital Expert Orion Hand and Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jason Yates. They were joined by keynote speaker, BTC’s Mary Rector-Gable, who shared the inspirational story of her personal and professional journeys; Johnny and Megan McCormack of Visible Changes; Leadership Expert, Barry Smitherman; Salon Business Expert and Author Antony Whitaker; Merchandising Pro, Zoe Vears; Salon Business Coach, Terri Cowen of Professional Salon Concepts, Millennium’s John Harms and Social Media Whiz Kids, Cassandra McGlaughlin and Dominique Limone of Salon Platinum, among others. “This event is about what you can do to enhance your business,” declared John Paul, promising, “Everyone will walk away from here doing at least one thing that’s new, different and better.”
What followed was an avalanche of information, so the “one new thing” that John Paul promised was clearly an understatement. Here’s a sample of 13 takeaways that attendees agreed were game changers for their salon businesses.
John Paul DeJoria
Reprimand With Love
“Being a loving, caring manager makes your people more efficient,” says John Paul DeJoria. “At Paul Mitchell, we don’t have bosses, we have leaders. In 35 years of business, our turnover is only 50 people.
“Sometimes it’s necessary to reprimand an employee. Doing that in front of people creates hostility. Instead, there’s a way to do it so that they walk away with their head held high.” Here’s how:
1. State what they did or didn’t do improperly. ‘Jessica, I notice that you’ve been coming in late in the mornings. We really need you here on time.’
2. Provide an example of how to correct the problem. ‘Why don’t you try coming in 10 or 15 minutes early so that you’re sure to be on time? You can take that time to relax, have a cup of coffee and get ready for your shift.’
3. Praise them for what they do right! ‘Jessica, you’re the best receptionist we have and you’re so important to our business! Don’t change. You’re great! Just come in on time, ok?’
Mary and Michaeline
Lead With Fresh Eyes
“Whether it’s something you’ve done for 30 years or 30 minutes, always question whether there’s a way to improve and whether you’re doing it the best way possible,” says Michaeline DeJoria. “Ask yourself how is it impacting other departments? Is it helping you accomplish your goals in the most efficient way possible? Most important, take your ego out of the equation. It’s not about what makes YOU look or feel good or having the best idea. It’s about what’s best for your people.”
Perform an Early Miracle
“A hallmark of leadership,” says Barry Smitherman, “is to be willing to take action when others won’t. “When you’re stepping into a leadership position, perform an early miracle. Fix a broken espresso maker or curling iron. Soothe a difficult client. Continue to be a servant and do the jobs that others don’t want to do. Sweep hair, organize the shelves. When you demonstrate the willingness to sacrifice, others will follow.”
Your Business Shouldn’t Be a Part of You, It Should Be Apart From You
Too many salon owners think they have to do it all, believes Antony Whitaker. They do hair, payroll, purchasing, promotion, public relations, education, marketing and advertising, accounting. And that doesn’t work. “Your job is not to run your business, it’s to grow your business,” he says. “To do that, you have to create an organizational structure and put systems in place. McDonald’s isn’t successful because there’s one brilliant guy at the top doing everything. It’s because they have successful business management systems in place.”
Master Your Top Four Financial Documents
Profit and loss statements may not be sexy, but they’re essential for measuring the ongoing health of your business. Master these four financial documents, advises Paul Mitchell President, Luke Jacobellis, to track the essential data:
1. Statement of Cash Flow. Identifies money coming in and money coming out. Assess this daily.
2. Balance Sheet. Tracks your assets and liabilities. Assess monthly and quarterly.
3. Statement of Operations or Profit and Loss. Reports income and expenses.
4. Tax Returns. You must pay all tax agencies—federal, state, etc.—so treat this as a normal operating expense. Take advantage of all allowable deductions and credits…and not a penny more!
Product Sales Should Be 20 Percent of Your Business
“Take home is so important to salon profit,” says Visible Changes’ Johnny McCormick. “If we go under 20 percent in retail sales, we’re out of business because we lose money on service. We call our retail area The Solution Bar. Clients have issues with their hair and we can fix them. We educate clients on the solutions they need.”
Because, Because Because
This is the most effective word you can use when recommending retail products,” declares Stephanie Kocielski. “Say, ‘Because your scalp is dry, I recommend our Tea Tree range.’ ‘Because you told me you like to wear your hair curly, I recommend Paul Mitchell Twirl Around Curl Definer.’ And don’t stop with retail recommendations! How about, ‘Because you are always complaining that your roots are showing, I recommend that we bump up your color retouches to every four weeks instead of six!’”
Big ticket items are the fastest way to increase revenues and tools are high ticket. A tool bar allows guests to touch and experience thermal tools. Unlike liquid tools, they experience instant gratification with a styling iron, for example. Take clients over to the tool bar and show them how to maintain their styles between visits. Promote your tool bar on social media. Hold tool bar-related events. Use tools to increase frequency of visits. (“Hey, why don’t we schedule you for a blowout before your big interview next week?”) “Every mall has a kiosk with two little girls selling tools,” says Robert. “Isn’t it better if professionals like us educate clients on how to use them?”
It’s All About the F.O.V.
Increasing the frequency of client visits is probably the most effective way to increase your business, says Robert Cromeans. “Take a client from four visits a year to five and revenue increases 25 percent. Increase her visits (with blowouts, color, conditioning treatments) from four to six times a year and business increases 50 percent. These numbers tell the story:
Where Are you Going To Send Your Walk-Ins?
“We typically assign new guests to stylists who aren’t busy,” says John Harms. “But think about it. If you have one shot to capture this client’s business, why would you send them to anyone but your best stylist? Watch your performance indicators and make sure you’re sending new clients to successful stylists. Never give a new client to your weakest link.”
Your salon may be open too many hours, believes Terri Cowen. Some are open up to 72 hours a week. Take it down to prime time:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday—noon to 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday—8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Dedicate Mondays to offsite education. “It’s better to be hopping and energetic for 40 hours a week than killing time for 72,” says Terri.
Pick Your Platform
Social media is essential for any business today, says Jason Yates, but before you dive in, take the time to pick the platforms that “speak” to your clients. For example:
Facebook—builds a long-term sense of community.
Instagram—revolves around candid moments and images that capture an audience.
Twitter—is an instantaneous network that lets people and businesses share information in real time.
Pinterest—influences behavior by presenting the essence of what you do and how you do it.
Cassandra, Mary and Dominique.
Don’t Forget the “Before” Shot!
Not long ago, Cassandra McGlaughlin and Dominique Limone were students at a Paul Mitchell School. Today they both have booming businesses at Salon Platinum in Florida…and they give all the credit to posting their work on social media. “Rule number one is to always take a before shot,” the girls say. “Before and afters give you maximum drama and impact. They demonstrate the skill of the artist and what’s possible for the client. Before guests check out, we put together their before and after and present it to them as added value. We post once or twice a day, and when we post, we always get a new client. You can’t afford NOT to be active on social media!”
Keep it Clean!
When creating window displays or merchandising displays, make sure the message is coming through loud and clear, advises Zoe Vears. “Your goal should be one brand, one theme, one clear message, like holiday gift ideas. Make sure props complement the display and keep them to a minimum. Triangular formations create focus. Keep imagery modern, bottles clean and facing forward.”