Expert Advice

Tips for finding a work-life balance at your salon

July 10, 2011 | 9:45 PM
Q: Between long hours at the salon and my family, I struggle to find balance. Any advice?

A:Tips for finding a work-life balance at your salon

"I compartmentalize my days," says Patrick McIvor, owner of Patrick McIvor Color Studio and Studio Two, Artistic Color Director for Matrix and Product Club, and also a father and husband. "As hairdressers, we are already multi-tasking all the time. And guess what? Most of us are trying to do more! For a lot of us we are getting a lot less done and sometimes compromising our standards.
"There are two things that have helped me prioritize my time and increase my efficiency.

1. Someone else's lack of planning doesn't create an emergency on my end. I learned not to drop everything because someone else forgot to plan. Sometimes we need to reach this point because it was the third time the same person "forgot" and we already saved them the first two times.

2. You can't plan a good bank robbery when you are too busy robbing gas stations. Instead of reacting and doing small stuff all the time, commit to a plan. You will see a difference when you start building success based on a stated goal instead of momentary inspiration. Commit to planning for 90 days or six months, to start with the end in mind, plan for success, budget, involve people who can make the plan better, meet/communicate regularly, announce, execute, debrief.

"As a stylist/colorist I book time into my schedule for the unexpected, unscheduled and always happening. This allows a cushion when something goes wrong or an emergency comes up, like it does everyday.

"As an owner I differentiate the time devoted to servicing guests and running the salon. I compartmentalize time so when I am servicing guests, running the salon is secondary-no team meeting, no paying bills, no business stuff.

"We spend so much time away from our families in this industry-weekends, holidays, bedtime and meal times are often devoted to guests or shows. To make sure I can be with my family on important days, I start out each year blocking off the important days that I want to be with my family such as birthdays, holidays and vacations.

"Finding life balance is an ongoing task that requires constant care. Check in with yourself on a regular basis and assess your time and accomplishments and adjust accordingly."

Follow Patrick McIvor on twitter @patrickmcivor and on Facebook at mcivor.

Q. We are struggling at my salon. Any tips on getting through this rough economic period?

A. Tips for finding a work-life balance at your salon"One thing that Progressions has done to survive the economy is having a strong leadership team," say Ira Ludwig and Cindy Feldman, co-owners, Progressions in Rockville, Maryland.
"In addition to us, our management team includes our sales and customer-service manager, inventory manager and human resources manager. Everything is measured with weekly reports. We break down our business plan and review how we stand in relation to last year. We also compare these reports to our current goals and determine if any changes need to occur. During our meetings, we discuss the results of team coaching, upcoming product promotions, staff and client educational events, and any other business-related needs.
"You must keep the dynamic elements to your business-those points of distinction that separate you from the rest of your market. Clients must perceive value in what you deliver. They are willing to pay for quality and that's what will keep them coming back.  
"We install the latest technology for team members and our staff takes the time to educate our guests about the technology being used. Events such as our "Blow-Dry Boot Camps" provide one-on-one attention beyond scheduled services. Not only do these events provide useful tips to our clients, they also strengthen our relationships.  
"We also strive to keep clients aware of new products, by using and elevating awareness of new hair care products.
"Cutting hair is the easiest thing we have to do as managers. Coaching people, building relationships, motivating employees-those are things you must work to achieve. We bring business coaches into the salon to provide objective recommendations on the most effective management and leadership tools. We have weekly training classes at our salon with a rotation of stylists who share their expertise with our junior stylists."

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