I’ll say this once. Don’t be offended it is what it is.
When I was a salon owner sometimes it was shit!
Shit being the boss.
Shit owning the salon.
Shit being in control.
Shit trying so hard and getting so little back at times.
And shit, when you make everyone in town, look amazing when frankly I was feeling like crap!
One day I went to my salon. Helen was a troublemaker. She decided it would be fun to get as many staff to leave on the same day. That say arrived and I lost five stylists and three juniors in a single day.
The following week there was just me and Kat and Sharon. Back to the beginning all over again. My salon had gone backward years in one single day.
It was really shit.
I fixed it forever.
- I mastered the art of the interview and that stopped bad staff coming in.
- I found out how to really keep a strict check on my staff.
- I created programs all over the place to make sure my salon worked like clockwork.
And after months and months, the shit times had gone.
Was it easy?
Was it tough? Absolutely.
But worth every ounce of effort it took me to sort things out.
I was always a little bit secretly jealous of a big salon down the street from us. His work was brilliant. His salon was fitted out the best in the town. His team all looked confident and he had been in the town for 30-years while I had been in the town for just a couple of years.
I was jealous.
Now and then he would call my salon and shout at me for taking his clients. It made me nervous and I would just apologize. Actually he was the first man I had seen that had had a facelift. He also wore a black intimidating wig as well as black leather trousers.
Not quite Jim Morrison from the Doors more Jim’s granddad but still he looked quite cool if I am honest.
One day he called – again.
I was doing my best, my salon was packed and I thought here we go.
He demanded that I meet him at his salon at 5:30 pm on Saturday. I agreed. When I arrived he was all smiles and all his staff had gone.
He showed me around his salon. The upstairs had been refitted but was a school. this was the days when NO ONE had a school. It was very cool.
And then the bomb dropped.
He told me his business was shit and did I want to buy it from him?
I didn’t buy it. I was shocked but it was a moment that despite what people show on the outside it rarely reveals what is going on.
I drove home thinking OMG I can never let that happen to me after 30-plus years. The problem he had was his work was brilliant but his marketing and systems weren’t good enough. Whereas I had the busiest salon in town from morning until night, he probably had the best salon in town but struggled to get clients through the door.
Eventually, he closed.
Weirdly enough I saw a small advert in a local newspaper recently. It was this salon owner advertising his services from a single, tiny room somewhere. He looked around 70-something.
Honestly, when young salon owners come to me for advice (and any age) I always advice this one thing.
If you don’t have a rolling system in place that brings in clients every morning, every afternoon and every evening of everyday of the week you will struggle.
Yes, that takes time invested, cash invested, tools and even expensive computing systems yet – when done properly the cost of that stuff is actually zero.
Yes, sometimes its shit!
But I want to share this.
When I stood back in a green field looking at the huge five-bedroomed home I built myself then I knew despite the horrible moments once those systems are in place nothing else works better.
I hope this helps.
Alan Forrest Smith
PS. forgive my use of the word shit. It was the only way and only word I could think of to be as honest as I could.
Salon Extreme 21 Has Every System That Took Alan’s Salons From Struggling Start-up To No.1 & More, check out