Stay level-headed and calm this year.
Whether we like it or not, the holidays are here! While we all would like to think of the holidays as a happy and cheerful time, as business owners we all know that it can also mean a time of high stress. Vendors are coming at us at all different directions asking us to buy more inventory to sell as gift items. Clients are clamoring to get in for the next appointment. Weather disruptions often play havoc on our hours of operation and the list goes on and on. Additionally, we have our personal agendas that come during the holidays, like buying presents for family and friends, entertaining and the likes.
As we move into the holiday season, here are some professional and personal pointers to keep you level-headed and calm this year.
1) Don’t forget about your internal customer, your TEAM – How are you showing appreciation for your team during the holidays? After all, they’re the ones making things happen on a daily basis. You can get really creative and it doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money. How about hiring a massage therapist to come in and provide chair massages for your team? Or how about hosting a happy hour (I would recommend limiting it to an hour) after a busy day with fun cocktails and appetizers? Sometimes ordering pizza on a busy day will go a long way to show appreciation for your team. You’ll find instant gratification and joy when you give back.
2) Systems – Learn to lean on your systems during stressful times. After all, that’s what they’re for. I find that a lot of salon owner’s try to add more “stuff” for their teams to do during the holidays and that just creates more stress. If you’ve worked hard during the year to implement systems (ie. Prebooking, Retail, and Customer Service), then all you have to do is focus on them during the holidays. As Neil Ducoff always says, “Keep those systems turned on!” It’s stressful enough making it through the holidays. Now’s not the time to recreate new systems, unless you have none. Lean on your systems, stay focused on them, have conversations around systems in your huddles and staff meetings with your team. You’ll find yourself pleased with the results. Help your team understand why you have systems in the first place and what they’re designed to do. Strong systems lead to consistent delivery in all areas of your business. Remember, clients LOVE consistency, especially consistent customer service.
3) Productivity – Take a proactive approach to managing your books. Hopefully the phones are ringing off the wall, and if they are, your booking strategy is only as good as your guest care team. Reiterate to your guest care team the importance of booking today, before tomorrow, this week before next week and so on. Don’t be afraid to call a client who’s already on the books and ask him/her to come in 15 minutes earlier so that you can accommodate another guest who is trying to get in. Do you ever have those days where your appointment book is plagued by last minute cancellations? Instead of hoping for the phone to ring, why not call a few clients who are booked later in the week and invite them to come in today? In most cases, all you need to do is call and they’re happy to get in sooner. If you feel the need to add an extra incentive, go ahead and offer the guest booked later in the
week a 10% discount for helping you fill cancelled appointment space. Offer whatever you’re comfortable doing.
4) Celebrate small wins – Positive energy creates more positive energy. Owners tend to focus on what needs to happen, or where opportunities are being missed. While this is important, your team is really motivated when they hear their leader talking about the good things they are doing. And believe me when I say this, no matter how bad things might possibly be, there’s always something good happening in your company. If you have a team member that had better-than-normal prebooking on a given day, show appreciation by thanking them for their strong performance. To add greater impact, acknowledge that performance in front of their peers. Did the team set a company record for selling a bunch of holiday gift sets? Acknowledge it in a huddle by saying “Spectacular job guys!” or allow the team to wear jeans the next day. Your team needs to know that you’re paying attention to the good stuff too.
5) Take time for yourself – When was the last time you took an entire day off to recharge? Your company will not go under if you take one day off. I promise. Clear your calendar. Turn off your phone, your iPad, and your computer and escape. I recommend taking all of these devices to work and leave them there while you are off. That way you can’t be tempted to pick them up on the day you’re off. You know what relaxes you most. If it’s a quiet corner somewhere in the house where you can curl up and read a book, then that’s what you should do. If you’re the type that enjoys a massage or facial, then book that appointment today. (Just don’t book it at your salon/spa if you offer those services!) Some of you love to bake and cook during the holidays and that relaxes you. This would be the time to do that.
The holidays don’t have to be stressful. Hopefully you’ll implement some of these easy-to-do tips this year and enjoy a less stressful holiday season. Holiday cheers to you!