Better Business: The Importance of Planning

The Perfect Plan

He who fails to plan, plans to fail: This is something all Pinnacle Award-winning salons, top performers in American Salon’s Salon 2014 Better Business Survey, take seriously. Nearly all (90 percent) of top salons established a formal budget for the year (compared with 43 percent of others), and also have formal workflow manuals (compared with 35 percent of the population at large).

It takes more than the insight of the salon owner to plan ahead, according to Mary Verlander, owner of Salon Eden in Baton Rouge, LA. “I have a very intelligent staff and most decisions we have to make as a business affect their individual business behind their chair, or their hourly earning potential, so I want their feedback,” she says. “This keeps our team happy, productive and focused on the goals.”

Tony Nachar, who owns a namesake salon in Fairhope, AL, says one way to keep the team on the same page is to have a business or marketing plan written down. “It helps give an understanding of what management expects and how we’re going to achieve it,” he says. “It leaves no room for misunderstanding or confusion and everyone is able to work together as a team toward the goals set by the salon.”

Planning in the early stages of opening a salon can help keep things on track when business booms. “Eight years ago when we opened the salon, we only had three stylists, but we still had a budget and business plan,” says Verlander. “It’s become even more necessary as we’ve grown into a much larger location with 20 employees to plan around. We can all be on the same page with calendars for retail, and special-events planning. It also helps hold us accountable during crazy, busy times to stay focused.”

Philip Shipman, owner of Philip Johnson Salon/Spa in St. Louis, says he revises his salon’s business plan multiple times a year based on input during monthly team meetings. “We try to focus each year on what worked, what didn’t and on upcoming projects or opportunities that might have evolved since the last calendar year,” says Shipman. “Our marketing plan, however, changes weekly as opportunities arise. We stay within our budget, but sometimes re-appropriate funds based on trends, opportunities and growth.” —K.H.