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How to increase your salon’s productivity

How to increase your salon’s productivity

Productivity at work is one of the top concerns of salon owners.  No matter how long you have been in business, you’d probably like to increase your efficiency and therefore, your team’s output. Ahead, Liz McKeon, bestselling author, speaker, salon coach, and founder of the International Salon Business School, shares her top tips for being a productive business owner.

Increasing your productivity will automatically help you to feel more in control of your working day.  Below are some simple, easy to implement strategies to take back your time and remind your business who’s boss.

Top 9 tips to increase your productivity as a business owner:

Work your daily to-do list.  For example, place an up arrow next to tasks that require more energy and focus, and a down arrow beside the tasks that are more mindless.  Note how long you expect each item to take.  If you are sharper in the morning, that’s when you attend to the tasks that have the up arrow next to them.  And, if you stick to your allocated times, you can easily pinpoint quick items to slot into new ten or fifteen minute time slots.

Learn to prioritise your to do list and know what to tackle first.  One simple time management tool for prioritising is known as the ‘urgent – important matrix’.  Tasks fall into one of four categories:

urgent and important

not urgent, but important

not important, but urgent

not urgent and not important 

Aim to work on:  ‘not urgent, but important’ tasks as much as possible.

Turn off notifications!  It is really challenging to get some uninterrupted, focused work time each day.  You don’t have control over who’s reaching out to you, but you do have control over how and when you see it.  Those endless buzzes, dings and alerts might seem inconsequential, but they can quickly throw your day off track.  If technology distractions are holding you back from peak productivity, then give yourself some focused head-down work by turning off your notifications, even for a couple of hours.  We live in this call and respond era, and we assume people must have a response immediately, but guess what?  They will wait to hear back from you. 

Know yourself! Some people arrive to the salon office full or energy, some need a strong coffee and an hour before their brains are fully alert, while other are at their best late at night.  Take note of when you are most alert and schedule the most difficult tasks for those times.

Learn to delegate. One of the biggest challenges all small business owners have is accepting that you cannot do it all.  You have a long list of responsibilities, but you don’t have to do it all.  If tasks start to pile up, decide which ones must be done by you and delegate tasks that can be passed to someone else.

Do not disturb. We live in a distraction-filled world and this can kill productivity.  If necessary, put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door.  If it’s impossible to focus in your office space, then care out time elsewhere each day, such as a local coffee shop.

Stop trying to multi-task – it is a myth!  Scientific research has demonstrated that multi-tasking is actually switching rapidly between tasks and that it costs us time and energy each time we switch.  Instead of doing two or more things at once, tackle your to do list one item at a time and don’t move on until an item is completed.

Take breaks. While it may feel counter productive to take breaks, studies continually show that taking breaks can increase productivity.  Breaks are good for your physical and mental health and can help re-energise you for the task at hand.  (The exception being when you’re in a ‘flow’ – a state of effortless productivity – keep going, it’s best not to interrupt yourself.  Otherwise, go for a walk, have a coffee, water the plants and then come back refreshed.

Have fewer meetings. Meetings are essential for salon success, but having too many meetings can steal time from salon productivity.  Avoid unnecessary meetings, always have an agenda, don’t go off topic and always get an outcome.

Like most areas of leadership, productivity increases when an improvement in your team begins with your improvement as an individual.

How to increase the team’s productivity in your salon:

  • Set realistic goals and targets:  everybody in your business needs good goals that are understandable, attainable, clear, enjoyable and measurable.  Make sure every team member knows precisely what is being asked of them. 
  • Establish key performance indicators in the form of rebookings, retail sales and services.  During the course of your day, it is a good idea to regularly check your KPI’s and keep track of progress, so you can catch issues and make corrections quickly.  Be sure to always celebrate successes when your KPI’s tell you the team has achieved a goal.
  • Create a healthy work environment because a positive work environment contributes to productivity in multiple ways, all of which contribute to increased productivity.  When salon team members are happy, they are more likely to think creatively leading to very satisfied clients.

As a salon owner there are always going to be lots of demands on your time and energy.  You want to be more efficient and effective, but you probably don’t have spare time to master new work approaches or software platforms that promise to save you time. 

These simple strategies will help you prioritise and focus on the right tasks, without requiring a huge investment in time.  Give them a try.