As a small business owner, we are constantly advised and guided on what actions, methods and paths to follow to ensure success. Do this to further your business, do that to be the best boss. Few tend to highlight the things you should not do, when in reality, they are just as important as the things that you should do.
Jeff Haden, best-selling business author and contributing writer for Inc Magazine recently wrote a list of things not to do every day to be and stay successful. Listed below are a few of the recommendations that stood out to us and ones we strive to follow in our salon to ensure we are productive, focused and successful.
- Do not check your phone: We’ve all been there. You’re in a meeting or with a client and your phone vibrates. You do the sly-but-actually-really-obvious downward glance.
Want to stand out? Put your phone away. Be the person your clients and team members know will always give them their full attention no matter the situation. You won’t hurt your phone’s feelings and even better, you’ll build your credibility as a business owner and team player even further.
- Do not multitask during a meeting: The smartest person in the room is the person who pays the most attention to the room, Haden points out. Without any other distractions or attention diversions, you will be amazed at how much more you learn. In the salon, we are essentially forced to multitask as we cut and style our clients hair while holding a conversation. Could you imagine if we were fidgeting with our phones or talking to a third party while trying to do our job? Our clients trust us more because we listen and focus on our task at hand.
- Do not let the past dictate the future: Mistakes and bad days are inevitable. They are valuable and you can definitely learn from them. Then you need to let them go.
While this seems easier said than done, try turning the situation into an opportunity to learn something about yourself and how you could have handled the situation better. Your past is your training, so don’t let it define your future!
- Do not gossip: Not only should you not participate in gossip, you shouldn’t tolerate it. If you’ve talked to more than one person about something “Joe” is doing, wouldn’t it benefit everyone if you stepped up and actually talked to Joe about it? Haden continues this discussion by pointing out that if you feel it’s not your place to talk to Joe about it, then it probably isn’t your place to talk about Joe.
Spend your time at work focusing on work and engaging in productive and positive conversations. It’s the fastest track to a respected reputation.
- Do not say yes when you really mean no: When you say no, you will only feel bad for a few moments. When you say yes when you really wanted to say no, Haden points out that you will feel bad for a much longer time, or at least until you do whatever it was you didn’t want to commit to in the first place. Learn to say no; you’ll earn more respect for being honest than over-promising and under-delivering.
What have you learned to avoid doing on a day to day business? What has been successful for you?
*Note: the items listed here do not make up Haden’s entire list. To see the completed list, visit Inc. Magazine.
Throughout our Making the Cut series, we have offered various suggestions and insights to the world of small business owners. Usually the focus is on transforming your business – whether it’s through client relationships, business atmosphere or general functionality. Today, it’s time to take a step back and do a little introspection. The best business owners not only take the time to reflect on what’s happening around them, but also take the time to look in the mirror. This isn’t always the easiest practice, but it is vital to survival and ultimately growth. After all, businesses are an image of the people that work there and that starts with the owner. Are you ready?
Kevin Daum, award-winning and bestselling author, recently wrote an article for Inc. Magazine provoking readers to pause and ask, “Am I a good boss or an amazing boss?” Before defining what qualifies good and amazing, take a second and think. How would you, as a business leader, answer that question? How would your employees answer it? Make sure you can support your answer with reasons that qualify your opinion. Now let’s take a look at Daum’s grading scale.
A good boss fosters a sense of community, making room for everyone.
An amazing boss forms an internal culture by design instead of by default. This means that as the owner, you define the culture of your business instead of letting the interactions of your employees, be it good or bad, define the atmosphere. Part of this includes careful selection of the people brought on to the team and team maintenance when necessary.
A good boss invites creative thinking.
An amazing boss integrates creativity into daily conversation and interaction. Facilitating this creative mindset causes employees to feel natural about being innovational, especially when talking to and brainstorming with teammates.
A good boss encourages career development for their employees.
An amazing boss integrates employee development into every position so that personal growth is an everyday occurrence. This is beneficial for small businesses because this is how new leaders are developed and learn to contribute to company growth. It also eliminates employees’ feeling of being stuck in one position.
A good boss generates happiness in the workplace.
An amazing boss constantly provides ways to help employees gain satisfaction from their accomplishments and responsibilities. This boss also keeps the environment exciting so that employees are eager to come to work.
A good boss makes sure people are responsible for their roles and actions.
An amazing boss provides personal accountability by motivating employees to stand behind the company’s culture, vision and goals. This will align personal and team communication, motivation and progress.
A good boss knows how to praise and show gratitude.
An amazing boss knows how to cultivate strong personal satisfaction in individual team members. These bosses help employees develop self-confidence and self-praise that becomes more valuable than a pat-on-the-back reward.
At Cristophe Salon Newport Beach we strive to fall in the amazing category, which calls for times of introspection as well. For instance, in order to instill creativity in our team, we encourage members to showcase their talents when it comes to styling – only, of course, if the client is up for the change! In reality, there is always room for improvement, especially in the realm of business. The only way this improvement manifests itself, however, is if the owners step back to evaluate not only their business, but themselves as well.
What ways do you find yourself to be an amazing boss? Is there room for improvement?
Note: The qualities listed here do not make up Daum’s entire list. To view the entire list, visit Inc. Magazine online.
As a business owner, you know that every employee has a different approach to the way they work. But do you realize the importance of recognizing and adapting to these different styles for effective management? Not only can this reduce conflicts, but it also gives you valuable insight and understanding into the why and how an employee works the way he/she does.
First things first, let’s define the major work styles you probably encounter in your business. Dr. Shelley Prevost, co-founder of Lamp Post Group, shared with Inc. Magazine what she defines as the four prominent work styles. Understanding these is the first step towards discovering the reasons behind your team’s dynamic and enhancing your business culture.
The Doer: A doer gets things done – hence the name. They feel the best when tasks get crossed off their to-do lists. Their laser-focus, however, often captivates the worker to the point of which they forget to communicate with other team members. Doers also tend to skip the planning stages and jump right in to the task at hand.
The Leader: Leaders are a vital part of any team, without them there would be no clear vision for the group. As a business owner, this is probably the style you will most identify with. While leaders often inspire and motivate others, they can also be detached from the team. Sometimes they can get so caught up in creating the vision that they forget to see what needs to happen in order to successfully execute and get the team to follow suit.
The Lover: Yes, you read it right – there’s a lover work style. The employee with the loving work style is sensitive and empathetic towards others. A great addition to the overall culture, the lover is team-minded, but consistently puts feelings and relationships before actual work.
The Learner: This style of worker is very meticulous and strategic in all they do. They enjoy thorough research and want to understand all details of a problem or task at hand. Learners are a very valuable aspect of a team, but without the doers or leaders, they might not get much done. They thrive in making detailed blueprints, but need other team members to execute these plans.
Each work style has its own pros and cons in any work environment. As a business owner, it is important to not only identify the styles of your team but also know how to best utilize each different employee. At Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, for example, a stylist’s work style directs the type of client who’s best suited for them. That’s just one of the reasons that every new client who walks through our doors meets with Scott Fontana, owner and expert stylist, for a complimentary consultation to identify the best color, cut and style for him or her, as well as the best stylist to suit his or her personality.
Knowing where you as a business owner fall on the work style spectrum is equally as important as knowing the work habits of your team. It’s not often that an individual will fall under only one category, but there will be a category that you can more closely identify with. Once you are conscious of your own style and the styles of your team, you will be able to more accurately recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each employee. The best team consists of all the working styles complimenting each other.
What work style to you most relate to? Do you think there are any styles missing from this list? Leave a comment below to share your team experiences.
The everyday highs and lows of life are enough to wear anyone down. Now add that to running a thriving business, and it’s no wonder that sometimes we need to take a break and recharge our batteries.
At Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, we’ve been going through months of construction and expansion, both inside and outside of our salon at Fashion Island. Our demand has also been growing by leaps and bounds and it seems we’re constantly hiring, educating and developing our salon staff to continue to be the best in the industry. Now add to that our first Orange County live hair show competition on May 2, and a newly launched nonprofit, Yachts for Tots, to introduce underprivileged and at-risk youth to the majesty of the ocean through fishing, kayaking, swimming, boating, surfing and more, and our plates are filling up fast. But wait, we’re not done; we’re also shuffling between TV shoots for the salon, and soccer and cheerleading practices for our four children. All of that is enough to make anyone lose their mind! So how do we manage? It’s all about identifying when it’s time to step back and recharge. For us, it comes down to two simple tips:
Figure out what works for you. For all of us business owners, it’s easy to stretch ourselves thin. But it’s also easy to recharge, if you allow yourself to do it. Recharging is different for everyone. For some, it’s a quick getaway where cell phones and emails take a backseat to family and conversation. For others, it’s just a day off to relax and allow our bodies to physically rest. And still for others, it may be a good book and tall glass of wine at the end of a long day. Whatever your strategy to recharge, identify it and do it.
Prioritize. While it’s hard to do, we have learned to say, ‘no.’ This has meant passing on national press opportunities; it’s meant turning down an exclusive invite to a fashion show or event; and it’s meant delegating tasks to our team that we would normally oversee. As author Stephen Covey said, “Don’t prioritize your schedule. Schedule your priorities.” We couldn’t agree more. Scheduling your priorities becomes that much easier when you have a clear vision and you know what activities do and don’t align with where you’re ultimately headed.
When do you know that you’ve reached your limit and you need to step back and recharge? How do you do it?
We all seem to be moving at the speed of light. Between our families, businesses and extracurricular commitments, there’s rarely a moment of silence to just breathe and say ‘thanks.’ While we’ve written about balance in the past, we would be remiss not to write about appreciation for all we have and for all we’ve created.
Years ago, we decided what we wanted in our lives; we had a vision. We wanted a strong marriage, four healthy and confident children, a successful salon business, our health, time to give back and a fulfilling life. We created it first in our minds then made decisions each day that led us to achieve our goals. The key here is that we made choices. We chose this life and, because of that, we profoundly appreciate all that we have surrounded ourselves with.
How did we do it? It started with a vision. We talk at length about vision and that’s because it’s the most important step in anyone’s life. You have to know where you want to go before you take the first step. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself walking in circles with no clear direction or purpose.
How do we show our appreciation? Below are just a few ways we do it every day.
Give Back. When we’re not in the salon serving clients and running the business, we can be found volunteering at our children’s school, participating in charity golf tournaments, and donating our time and resources to charity fashion shows and events, including the Ronald McDonald House High Tea and Fashion Show and the CHOC Glass Slipper gala. Our motivation to give back has become so strong over the years that we have just formed our first foundation, Yachts for Tots, a nonprofit dedicated to introducing underprivileged and at-risk youth to the majesty of Newport Harbor through fishing, surfing, boating and more.
Empower Others. We are committed to regular professional development and education for our team. This empowers them to grow professionally, perform better at their jobs and further their confidence in themselves. It also shows appreciation for our clients because we’re able to serve a better ‘product’ when our team is constantly engaged and performing at a higher level. By fostering an environment of professional development, our team is able to get out and pay it forward just as we have, by styling for charity fashion shows and volunteering their time and resources to benefit local nonprofits.
Keep Going. We appreciate all that we have created so much that we want to find ways to do and give more. One example of this is the live hair show we’re hosting in one month to name “OC’s Best Stylist 2013.” We’re bringing the industry together to recognize the amazing talent we have here in Orange County.
Entrepreneurship has been so good to us and the best way we know to show our appreciation is to pay it forward, whether donating to charity, empowering others or finding ways to do more to advance our industry.
How often do you step back and appreciate all you’ve surrounded yourself with? On that same vein, how do you show your appreciation? Leave us a comment below.
Last year saw growth for many of us. As the economy continues to improve, so do our bottom lines. But that’s not enough to stand out in a marketplace still facing financial challenges. What are you going to do this year that makes you better than last? What are you going to do that keeps your clients coming back to you and not shopping around for alternatives? What will you do to keep working toward achieving your vision?
To make each year better than the last, you have to constantly innovate. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Listen to your clients. Just by listening to what your clients are telling you, you’ll learn a lot about their needs, as well as how to better run your business. Are your prices forcing your clients to visit your business less frequently? Is your product inventory too limited, forcing clients to go to your competitors? Are you in tune with what clients want and need today, not last year? Are you educating your team to keep them at the top of your industry? Don’t be afraid to talk to your clients, ask for feedback, and most importantly, talk to your team. Your team members have an ear to the ground and tend to be your best resources for clients’ need and want. Keep yourself in check and ensure that you’re constantly meeting the evolving needs of your clients.
Branch out. Yes, you heard right. While most businesses want to mitigate risk and do just enough to get by, consider what you can do to branch out and get your brand out there in new and better ways. For example, Cristophe Salon Newport Beach is hosting our first live hair competition next month. We’ve invited stylists throughout Orange County to enter the competition, and we’ll be narrowing down the contestants to five who will compete live for $1,500 cash and other prizes. This live hair competition aligns with who we are – hair experts – and allows us to broaden our reach with a fun industry and community-oriented event that’s open to the public. Now what can your business do a little differently this year that still aligns with who you are and what you know, but that challenges you to take strategic risks to be better, to be innovative?
Remain committed. It’s true, the last few years have not been among the easiest for business owners. We’re all adapting to an ever-changing economy and ever-evolving consumer needs. But with a clear vision of where you truly want to go, you are unstoppable. While your tactics to reach your vision may change along the way, your vision should not. Keep your eye on where you want to be and you’ll find that you’re making decisions to get you there. And those decisions will include innovating to overcome business hurdles. You started your business for a reason. You have worked through the tough times without giving up for a reason. Remain committed to your vision and you will not only continue to survive, you will thrive.
What’s the result of our innovation and commitment? Our salon continues to grow by leaps and bounds, so much so that we’ve expanded our upstairs area to accommodate even more clients.
How has your business continued to thrive? Share your stories of innovation success below.
Entrepreneur Magazine recently did a short article on three entrepreneurs’ top productivity “secrets.” The entrepreneurs offered up advice that included delegating the small tasks, dividing hours, and creating daily action plans.
We look at productivity quite differently. For one, our productivity tips are no secret; they are shared and communicated with our team. Which leads us to the second differentiator: productivity is a team effort in our salon. We are only as strong as our weakest link. To ensure our salon is performing at the top of its game, we recognize that the team has to be working in sync in a productive and positive way.
To that end, we’d like to offer – loud and proud – our top three tips on productivity:
Vision. To be productive, our team has to know where we’re headed. With no clear vision, team members don’t know what they can and should be producing. Creating and sharing our vision for the salon – that is, where we are going and what we want to achieve – is the first step in establishing a productive business environment.
Goals. How do we know what and how to ‘produce’ if we don’t have goals? We set goals with our team members to ensure we’re consistently achieving them. We can’t be productive and growing and improving if no one understands the vision and what it will take to get there. Set goals with your team and clearly define expectations and watch your productivity – and business – soar.
Adoption. Last but not least is getting your team to buy in, or adopt, your vision and goals. Your team members have to believe in your direction just as much as you do to establish a productive business environment. One of the best ways to garner their buy-in? Ask. Collaborate. Get your team involved in helping to set the vision and goals. Then they’ll feel some ownership in the achievements of those goals and the growth of your business.
Now, we’re not saying that delegating the small tasks, dividing hours and creating daily action plans don’t play a role in productivity, but we think productivity starts a little deeper and with the whole team involved. Without your team, you really don’t have much of a business. For you start-ups out there, even if your team is comprised of family and friends, you have to share your vision and goals and get the support and buy-in of those individuals in order to keep you on track and producing results. If you make your vision and goals known and get buy-in from key people, you’ll find that they will be the difference between a thriving business and one that’s just teetering along hoping to make ends meet.
Need help laying out your vision? Check out our blog all about vision here: http://blogs.ocmetro.com/making-the-cut-vision/
Change is inevitable with small businesses. Whether it’s changing locations, employees or simply office décor, there are ways to welcome the change into your business with ease and comfort, ensuring your business stays profitable. Below we’ve included our best practices to keep your business flourishing during times of change.
Consult the experts: You can’t do it all! Utilize industry experts, especially when diving into a project that’s outside your wheelhouse. For example, at Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, we are in the midst of a large construction project to expand our building. At the beginning of the process, we brought in experts to discuss how to keep our business up and running through the loud noises, dust, fumes and hassle. Had we not discussed the construction process with consultants, we might have run into problems that could have caused us to shut our doors for days or even weeks!
Stay on top of the trends: There are always new technological advancements, software updates and business trends, and to keep your small business on top. As a business leader, you must constantly be aware of these trends and adapt as necessary. A huge spring trend in the salon industry is balayage, a free-hand technique to achieve ombre hair coloring. To ensure our stylists were in the know, we brought in a professional to teach a balayage class. Investing in our staff this way ensures that when our clients come in, they are continually receiving the best experience and expertise available. It is vitally important as a business to always be ahead of the curve with industry advancements.
Utilize outside resources: Another way to ensure you, your company and staff are up to speed on industry trends and happenings is to utilize outside resources, such as blogs, books and events. Keep a calendar of conferences you’d like to attend and speakers you’d like to listen to for new and improved business ideas. Bookmark blogs and read new books written by industry leaders to constantly refresh your mind with new ideas. Don’t shy away from using outside tools to keep your business thriving though our ever changing business world!
Have a crisis management plan in place: In the unfortunate event that a client makes a request that your business is not prepared to handle, how do you deal with the situation? It is important to train your team members on crisis management and how to handle customers when they make a request you can’t fulfill. Never tell a customer or client just no; always take the time to research a request, and do not forget to utilize those outside tools. Think outside the box and consider those on your team that may be able to help the client for a unique request. If you do come across a request you or your business is not ready to handle, have a few good references to suggest while maintaining your professional image.
How do you flourish while handling change within your business? Give us your tips below!
As small business owners, it is important for new clients to have a comfortable and enjoyable first visit so they are eager to return, rather than seeking out someone else the next time. However, it is equally as important for you to ensure returning clients have top notch visits and feel just as special as the first time they came in. At Cristophe Salon Newport Beach, there are a few tips we use to impress our new clientele while keeping our current customers feeling valued.
First impressions: The first impression of your business includes (but is not limited to) the atmosphere, your staff creates and how your client feels when he or she first walks through the door. Your client picked your business out of a multitude of others, so it is your job to confirm they have made the right choice. It is important to remember each new client is an integral part of your business, and a first impression can make or break an opinion. Make sure your business is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and clean from the moment clients walk in. Additionally, make sure your staff looks professional and welcoming. Particularly in the salon industry, we know that no one is going to want to get their hair, makeup or nails done by someone who isn’t groomed or put together themselves. As soon as your client walks in the door, welcome them by name and offer them a beverage or snack while they are waiting. This shows you take care of your clients and you value their time.
Pay attention: You can’t guarantee your clients loyalty based off first impressions alone. At Cristophe Salon, we take a personal interest in our customers. For first time clients, we offer a free, private consultation to pair them with the stylist that best fits their personal needs. While working with each client, take the time to get to know them and build the foundation for a lasting relationship. Ask them about their lifestyle, what they like and what they are looking for from their time with you. At Cristophe, we know that anyone can sell a haircut, so we aim to sell a unique experience. We listen to our clients and constantly read body language to allow them to have a great experience each time they step through our doors. For example, if a client is slowing down conversation or closing their eyes, we let them relax and enjoy the experience rather than pushing conversation.
VIP Treatment: While it’s important to get to know your new clients, it’s also imperative that you continue to build a relationship with your current clients. Remember details about their life, ask them about their job, kids or a specific story they told you at their previous appointment. In return for their loyalty, you must nurture your relationship with them. Treat your client as a friend. Remember their birthday and offer them a free add-on service or a gift. Additionally, treat client referrals in the same respect. An appointment with you should not be a task but something they look forward to! It is also great to follow up after their appointment to make sure they’re happy and provide any after-treatment tips or advice.
Evolve: Stay ahead of the curve. At Cristophe Salon we know we need to keep finding ways to make our clients look great and feel valued. As a business in a saturated industry, it’s important to constantly grow and evolve. You can do this by providing recommendations for additional services, new products or new treatments they might enjoy. You may also consider throwing in a complimentary sample product you think will benefit them so they can see results without the financial risk. Offering a new service, free sample or fresh perspective can change things up and keep your client interested in returning to your business.
What are some of the ways you make your new clients feel comfortable while keeping your current clients feeling special! Share some of your tips and advice below!
As the seasons begin to change, it’s time to bring out the broom, dust off those shelves, color-coordinate your calendar and do some good ‘ole spring cleaning. Having a spotless space, whether personal or professional, makes you feel more productive and ready to take on the day. For many of us, the start of spring brings a fresh attitude – it’s out with our winter clothes and in with the cleaning bug and a new look.. But what about your business? Your brand deserves a fresh appearance this season as well. Here are some tips for giving your business a refresher this spring:
- Environment: We all have stacks of paperwork somewhere that ‘we will get to someday.’ This spring, take the opportunity to go through, sort and shred those files to bring more organization into your business. Once your physical workspace is clean and organized, take a look at your computer. Consolidate files into folders, delete documents you no longer need. It will feel great once you’re done!
- Atmosphere: When you talk about your company, what words do you use? Do you focus on the company itself or the key features it offers? It’s a familiar habit to promote the virtues of your company, but your business features have value only as they benefit the customer. What problems do you solve for them? How is their work accomplished more quickly or pleasantly by your services? Spring clean the “me” from your conversation and focus on your customers’ wants and needs.
- Relationships: Are all of your business relationships positive ones? Do your team members represent your brand well and drive your business’ mission? Now is the time to take a look at your staff and evaluate if they are truly a good fit for you and your business. Be honest about it. If someone isn’t a great fit, take the time to think through your next steps – do you move on or address your concerns and resolve it?
- Marketing: With your new sense of ‘out with the old and in with the new,’ evaluate your current marketing and customer service efforts. Do your marketing materials still fit your brand and appeal to your target audience? If you’ve been putting off redesigning your collateral materials, take that extra step this Spring to get them done!
What tips do you have for spring cleaning your business? We’d love to hear about it!