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The Ultimate Guide to Salon Management for Beginners and Pros

The Ultimate Guide to Salon Management for Beginners and Pros

Looking for a comprehensive guide to salon management, regardless of your experience or skill level? Well honey, you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to chat through three key areas of salon business management to focus on.

From your all-important time management (we know it’s rare and precious!), to your overall business and the salon management software systems you have in place, alllll the way to your employee management – ensuring they’re engaged, happy and charging towards their goals full speed ahead!

Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or pro to the hair salon management world, there will be a tip in this guide for you.

Ready to rumble? 👏👊

Salon Time Management

Tackle the easiest thing first, then the worst

Ever start the day with a seemingly unaccomplishable to-do list? Of course you do! There’s always something to be done when you run a business. Usually it’s a mix of everyday must-do’s, full-on projects, and a sprinkle of things you’d rather not deal with.

One quick hack when you start your new workday? Tackle the easiest, quickest to accomplish task first. Knock it out of the way so you can get that buzz of achievement.

Next, knock over the task on your list you’re dreading or can’t wait to see the back of. Don’t procrastinate and leave it ‘til last, otherwise it’ll be hanging over your head all day, and you’ll end it on a sour note. No-one likes that!

Take a day to work on your business

It can be so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of the salon. There are always clients booked in, stock that needs topping up, and stylists that need to meet with you. The result? Salon marketing strategies, staff education plans, and business growth projects fall to the wayside, only to be revisited sporadically (when really they deserve a chunk of your attention too!)

Working on your business enables you to grow your business. Like a glass of bubbles on a Saturday night, it’s vital! The solution? Take a day out each week to solely work on your business, not in it. That means if you normally work the salon floor throughout the week and service your own clients, then you need to block out a set day in your salon appointment book each week. No clients, no appointments, no meetings. Just time for beautiful salon business growth tasks.

Download this whitepaper from salon coach Steve Hilliard, as he chats through his top tips on how to make the most out of your business this holiday season (without burning out! 🔥)

Allocate time to complete tasks

Chop up your day into blocks and allocate set times to complete specific tasks – just like you would book in a client appointment. If you stop and start; chop and change between tasks then you’ll find nothing ever really gets finished. Write it down and plan it out, and you’ll set yourself up for accomplishment – leaving the salon for the night with an “I killed it today” feeling.

Take a break!

Do you ever feel like you fall into the trap of working non-stop and never taking a true time-out for yourself? Do you check your emails, log in to your salon appointment book to see what’s coming up the next day, or check in on your business stats all while you’re laying in bed trying to fall asleep?

When you’re so dedicated to your business, switching off seems like a fairytale. But taking a break is proven to help you, which in turn helps your business. It allows you to recharge, re-centre, and refocus. If you have the right systems in place and the right people backing you, work/life balance is 100% achievable!

Challenge: Take one Friday off to spend time with your family, your pooch, and especially yourself to take a breath and get your mind back on track. If you’re looking for a sign, this is it!

Salon Business Management

Cloud or on-premise salon management software

If you want to run your salon like a well-oiled dream-team machine, you’re going to need a powerful salon management software system. Decide if you want either a cloud or on-premise solution OR the best of both worlds with a hybrid solution. A hybrid solution gives you the benefit of the cloud’s anytime and anywhere flexibility, with the reliability on an on-premise system that doesn’t depend on the internet. We all know World War III starts when the wifi is down!

🙌Check out this guide to buying salon software for all the best tips! 🙌

When the two work harmoniously together, that’s when the magic really starts to happen. Take your appointment book for example. You can be behind the chair with your client and whip out your tablet to rebook their next appointment, and add any upsold products or services to their current appointment while you’re at it.

By the time they reach the front desk, their rebooked appointment will already be displayed there, and their transaction updated with the services and products they added on to their booking, ready for check-out.

Salon inventory management

No matter if your salon is a mega-chain spread across multiple locations, or a homegrown singleton making a killing in its own right, you need a solid salon inventory management system to keep track of your retail products.

There’s nothing worse than not truly knowing your stock levels, so do yourself a favour and let tech stay on top of it for you. Stocktake time will become a breeze!

Know your numbers

If you want to be the best salon manager you can be, then it’s no secret you need to know your business numbers back to front. Each week you need to know your total sales, the breakdown between retail and targets sales, the overall rebooking percentage and client visits for the week.

Cloud Reporting is a dashboard in the cloud, meaning you can access it from your mobile phone on the go, or from your laptop in your home office. It breaks down all of your essential business numbers in one refreshing, easy-to-understand dashboard. It’s pretty AND it helps you get to know your salon numbers better – what’s not to love?!

🙋Psst… keep an eye out for later in this blog where we tell you how you can set targets for your staff track how they’re performing! 👉

Implement business growth tactics

All the pro salon owners look towards the future, not just about breaking even by the end of the week. How are you planning on growing your business? What are the tactics you hope to implement to bring new business to your chair?

One essential thing you can do today (if you haven’t already) is make sure your online presence is looking as schmick as your salon-front. Think about it, Google is the biggest shop front in the world, so your business needs to be seen there, loud and proud.

Some key things if you’re looking for some quick wins on Google are to make sure your Google My Business listing (the box that displays on the right-hand side of a Google search) is all up to date. This includes your phone number, address, opening hours, website links, photos, glowing reviews and so much more.

From here you can start to tackle some bigger (but soooo effective) projects, like a Google Ads campaign, to bring even more clients through your doors!

If you need help with anything Google, we are Google Partners with our very own Google Advisor (superstar) who can help you get everything up and running quick-stat (she’s a bit of a legend TBH).


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A post shared by Naomi Cribb (@google_naomi_shortcuts) on Nov 26, 2019 at 8:18pm PST

Make yourself easy to do business with

So we know how important it is to have an online presence, and the main reason is so you can have appointments fill-up your appointment book instantly even when your salon is closed at the time. Online booking and bookings made through Google searches is the way of the future – people are becoming more time poor than ever.

They book their appointments from their mobile device on the go, late at night, or outside your opening hours. Not everyone will call anymore. Tools like Reserve with Google and Online Booking enables you to capture those clients too – it’s a salon essential really!

💡Looking for a few more salon marketing tips? Well we have 11 must-read salon marketing ideas right here! 💡

Salon Employee Management

Offer regular education

If you want to be the best salon manager out there, support your employees career growth by supplying them with education that will develop their skills and turn them into even more valuable members of your team. As if they weren’t already! 💁‍♀️

From styling, cutting and colouring classes where they can learn the newest techniques and fine-tune their skills, to product education, to training in your appointment book software and salon management system so you can all make the most of it, there’s so much you can offer them.

Think about it – if your whole team is trained up in your salon booking software, how powerful will your business be! Education doesn’t need to be expensive either. With Shortcuts, we have a whole resource centre full of quick, punchy videos that will teach you how to do pretty much anything you can think of!

We also post Shortcuts Snips over on our Instagram and Facebook, where our amazing team take you through all the hacks you wish you knew sooner in Shortcuts. PLUS, we’ve just kickstarted a Shortcuts Facebook User Group for all our favourite Shorties. It’s going to be your go to place to join a community of Facebook users, ask questions, and engage with each other.

Have regular check-ins

Everyone loves to feel like they’re being heard from their employer! They also love to be recognised for when they’ve done a great job. Host semi-regular one-on-ones with your staff to check-in with them and see if there’s anything you need to work through or towards together.

It’s so much easier to have these conversations when you have some clear insights into their performance as well. Shortcuts latest feature, Targets, is a dashboard in the cloud where you can set targets for all of your employees.

Your team can then track their own individual targets from their mobile device so they can see where they’re winning-big and where they need to up the ante. And don’t stress! Employees can’t see each other’s targets within the dashboard.

Also look at holding monthly team catch-ups over coffees and breakfast, or drinks, to add a little fun to your communication sessions.

Keep them close (but not too close!)

Building a relationship with your stylists is all about balance – you want their trust and rapport, without becoming so close that they don’t respect your authority if you need to have a serious conversation with them. You know your team better than anyone, so find the sweet spot between the two and you’ll be on your way to successful salon employee management!