Walkout Survival Guide
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Featuring, Marc Rockquemore
Personally I have found that no matter how strong and healthy owners believe their salon culture may be, no matter how much education and benefits they provides to staff, and no matter how good they feels their relationship is with their employees…and yes, to answer your next question, even if they have had stylists sign noncompete agreements (I’ve been there), thoughts of a potential walkout always linger. Why? Because your name is on everything, it’s your livelihood, your retirement, etc., so naturally why shouldn’t it be? At the end of the day, you (as a salon owner) have EVERYTHING to lose, which is at the core of why that vulnerability exists in the first place.
All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
Let me share with you my personal experience of the phenomenon known as a “walkout.”
Remember that the fact that I can sit here and tell you about this is living proof that you can not only survive it, but prosper from it! One of our salons lost as many as seven service providers in a ten-month period, yet sales remained unchanged…true! How did we accomplish that? By focusing on what we had rather than on what was lost. We also made it through this challenging time by being open to giving more opportunities to young professionals (i.e. Associates), planning a strategy of “intentional growth” with our Summit Salon Consultant, identifying areas of missed opportunity within our salons, and by running strategic promotions to both retain the current guests and recover those guests who had left. We developed a multiheaded approach that worked, and we came through the fire virtually unscathed; but hopefully a bit wiser. “Lucky”, you say? No, at all. I’d call it “intentional”!
Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.
So here’s the big secret: the best way for a salon owner to survive a walkout is to simply be proactive before a walkout has a chance to take root. Also, DON’T CHERRY PICK THE PROGRAM and BE SURE TO TAKE THE ADVICE OF YOUR SUMMIT SALON CONSULTANT!! You might ask yourself, what the heck is Marc talking about?? Well here it is in a nutshell:
- SUMMIT SALON ASSOCIATE PROGRAM:
- This comprehensive training program from SSBC is designed to bridge the knowledge gap between what students learn in cosmetology school and what they need to know to become “Level 1 ready” in a salon. Not too shabby! In the eyes of the salon owner, this program represents the future of your company. By growing new stylists right out of school, you are essentially creating a pipeline for achieving future growth ….ingenious!! Continually keeping people in your pipeline ensures you will always have a steady stream of new talent arriving by growing your own through this program!
- INTENTIONAL GROWTH:
- With the guidance of your Summit Salon Consultant, grow your salon intentionally by strategically evaluating the current picture of your salon, identifying areas of weakness or opportunity, and charting a very specific and intentional plan to reach the goals. Growth doesn’t normally happen accidentally, but rather as a result of hard work and focused effort. Whether you’re doing this as a proactive measure before experiencing a walkout (ideal) or because you suspect a walkout could be in your near future, make it happen today!
- Identify your ideal client (target market), evaluating the results of your marketing efforts, and realigning your marketing strategy to reach your growth goals, shifting money where necessary. This should be done as a preventative measure or as a result of a walkout, but I emphasize doing this exercise annually.
Marc’s TOP 5 “Re’s” you can start doing NOW!
- I’m talking about Business Building; i.e. reloading your salon with new guests and new money! Do something specifically designed to drive new business ($) into your salon, today! This can be done through either “internal” or “external” marketing strategies. For example, push out a product or service promotion to your current guests and email it to them through Demandforce, boost select posts that represent your salon best on your company Facebook page, sending it out to friends of your existing Facebook fans (low $ cost), run a special referral promotion with an aggressive offer to get your existing guests working for you, meet with your low-level stylists and brainstorm on ways they can build their businesses, etc.
- Take an objective look at your Internet presence, and make updates where necessary. This is terribly important to ensure that your Internet presence is relevant and impressive, and not dated. For example, look at your Google analytics and see which of your website pages gets the most views. Does it need updating? If so, talk to your webmaster.
- Part of reloading is likely the task of recruiting. You should always be in recruiting mode, so when ideal candidates come along, you can offer them positions within your salon. This strategy is much more effective than hiring based on necessity. Simply update a job posting, commit to a job expo at a local cosmetology school, arrange to speak to an incoming class at a school (face time), or send out a direct mail recruiting postcard to licensed cosmetologists within fifteen miles of your salon.
- This is about bringing the guests who left back through the doors of your salon. As I mentioned above, post-walkout, focusing on what you have rather than what’s lost is what it’s all about, but offering the departed guests special incentives or an aggressive limited-time offer makes sense. You can easily do this by targeting them through automated means (Demandforce, ConstantContact, etc.), mailing them a personalized letter, leaving telephone messages, or all three! Delegate these important tasks to people you trust (Front Desk Lead or Floor Manager), because too much exposure to this can get you off-task in a hurry.
- If necessity is the mother of invention, then reinventing yourself and your business may make sense too! Take a long, hard look at your long-term goals, both personal and for your salon. Are you headed in the right direction? Revisit all the systems you have in place, from your new client gift packs to the credit card company you work with (compare your rates with the rates of Integrity Payment Systems!) to evaluate where your money is going.
There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Does the threat of a staff walkout keep you up at night? Have you survived a walkout at your salon? Tell us about it, and share with us your advice on how others can survive a walkout.
The Associate Program
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- “Grow Your Own” salon service providers.
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- Implement a step-by-step program that takes a brand new stylist to top performance in weeks!