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5 Steps to Becoming a Salon CEO

Are you more than ready to step up into becoming a real CEO of your business?

Maybe you’ve had a year of feeling stuck, or like nothing that you try is really working.

It’s closing in on the end of the year now, and this year you’ve felt overwhelmed with all the things. But what if you could make 2020 a breakthrough year…  rather than just having another year of 'average'?

Has this last year has been full of too many cans open, too many things on the bubble and nothing actually getting done?

It all feels too ‘big’... and at this point, everything is on hold until you have the time to give it the attention it needs.

But then by the time you start, your results will be 3 months away…

Something needs to change! It’s time to start doing less, achieving more and moving faster.

The magic is in the doing… so it’s time to get started.

Have you Lost Sight of your Dreams?

You’ve lost sight of my dreams and your ‘WHY’. You’re frustrated with your team- they just don’t get it- and you’re busting a gut while they’re on a cruise mode.

You can’t seem to find a breakpoint to step up to the next level. Your growth has plateaued, and you keep getting caught up in all the fireballs that your team throw at you the moment you walk in the door. 

You struggle to balance managing your team and keeping your clients happy, they all want YOU, they don’t want your team. Meanwhile, you often feel your team don’t trust you... no matter how hard you try to please them.

 It’s like, you’ve gotten yourself to the point where you’re ready to really step it up

You’re ready to start really being the CEO of your business, but you’re not exactly sure what the next steps are.  Well, little did you probably know, that this actually happens to almost every Salon Owner who wants to make the transition from Owner/Operator, to Salon CEO and actually step into GROWING their business to something to be proud of.

A business that serves you, that is profitable, has meaning and treats people well so they reach their own dreams

You most likely got into the hair and beauty industry because you loved serving clients, but now you’ve found your true calling more as a Business Owner, and less as an Operator, Stylist or Therapist.


This is AWESOME.


But…this can also often mean that you feel like you’re #wingingit and just ‘hoping for the best’, rather than really following a plan or structure to grow your business. 

I know you're sick of quick-fixes that don’t seem to really help... for any period of time! 

I’ve tried those myself, and they never work. 

Luckily, that’s what I’m here to help you with today. I’m going to share with you the essential 5 steps to really stepping into the role of CEO, that you were born to be… and actually, move the needle forward.

I want you to be strategically prepared for a BREAKTHROUGH YEAR in 2020!

You ready… with me? Let’s dive in.

Salon Owners CEO Salon Boss Babe New Year 2020

Step #1- Roles, Responsibilities& Attributes of a Salon CEO

First things first, you need to get off the floor… stop serving clients and step fully into your role as CEO. Ok, don’t freak out on me- you don’t have to come 100% off the floor… well not just yet anyway! 

But, truly. If you’re full time on the floor, and just can’t commit to properly taking the leap… this is your sign.  You’ve probably thought about doing it before… but didn’t think it was actually achievable. Like, your clients need you... right?

You simply can’t be working in your business, whilst also working on your business to the best of your ability.

If you’re squeezing business growth activities between clients, in 15-minute gaps, 10 pm at night… this is no way to live!

To make a change.. you need to make a change


So, what SHOULD you be working on? Here are the top 4 CEO activities to focus on:


  • Create space for growth & income-generating activities

Make sure that you’re allowing yourself the time & space to be working on our business. Manage your time like a #boss and make sure that your time is spent on Income Generating Activities. This is the stuff that’s really going to move the needle in your business. After all- you don’t just want your business to survive...  you want it to thrive!


  • Work on leadership skills

First thing’s first: make sure you have a vision, and make sure that vision is unmistakably clear to your team. You should all be working on the vision together- so you want to make sure everyone’s got it right. You’ll also want to invest time in your leadership abilities, and being the BEST boss possible! A team is only as strong as its leader, after all! And your team needs for you to be their CEO and to work on leading the business to succeed & grow. This means taking that leap away from serving clients, and focusing on them. If your team is not performing like you wish they would… then it’s time to look in the mirror


  • Being a CEO means self-mastery

You can’t master your business, your team, your LIFE, if you haven’t mastered yourself. You need to be a living and breathing example of what you want your business to look like. Make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row before you even think about doing anything else. I know you’re not perfect- no one is- but it’s all about giving things a go to the best of your ability. Make 2020 a year where you keep the things that work, and ditch the things that don’t!


  • Think about what you are inputting into your CEO SELF- is it serving you?

Choose to spend your time on the things that really make a difference. Self-improvement is a continuous journey that we are all on, all the time! So try to only fill your life with positive influences. If you’re feeling in a slump- eating too much junk food and watching too much Netflix- take this as a sign to make a change for 2020. Fill your life with things that move you forward, not make you feel stuck. 

And I know that this change and transition might not be a fast process. If you’re a Salon Owner who’s still fully on the floor, you need time to implement systems, structures and employ & grow new team members to ensure that your team will continue to thrive as you step up into a leadership role.

Once you have thought through your role as the salon CEO... Then here are the other 4 things to think about to get you started in the right direction

Salon Owners CEO Salon Boss Babe New Year 2020

Step #2- A Powerful Financial Framework will Double Your Profit

Ok, this is a really important one. 

You simply cannot have a breakthrough year without focussing on the numbers. 

And I don’t mean just sales numbers (although these should be included). I mean, as the CEO of your business, you need to know your numbers like a BOSS.


Let me ask you this…

Do you know what your business needs to look like to be successful? Have you defined this?

So then, do you know what you need to do to actually get profit from your profit?

Because it’s important you remember: profit is a must, not a luxury.

You should be consulting your business oracle regularly to know what to do ,when to do it and be ahead of your business like a good CEO should.

You need a framework, a foundation from which to work - one where you know what it needs to look like:

How many you need in your team to be profitable- because you’re not profitable by default… there is a tipping point. Which levers to pull to make sure you’re spending in the right places. When you need to expand, when you’ll run out of chairs, and when you’ll need to employ new people. What promotion to do, what to sell more of, what to sell less off.

ALL of this needs to come from your numbers. I know as hair and beauty experts, we are not born to love numbers, BUT they can be your best friend and tell you exactly what to do. That’s why I call it your Oracle!

Once you have a framework to read, then you can confidently step into making the right decision about your business and take away all the guesswork, all the emotionally driven decisions, stop #wingingit and start really moving forward towards your goal.

And yes, you can have Freedom & Profit and grow & scale your business without working more. That’s what scale means, growing without having to work more- you want to grow with equal amounts of input.

Salon Owners CEO Salon Boss Babe New Year 2020

Step #3- Be the “Best Boss” & Build a Rockstar Team

You have chosen a team-based business to work in. So you need to have a thriving team to grow. And when I say a thriving team, I don’t just mean a team that shows up on time and gets the work done. I mean a team that loves coming to work, smashes their goals and are invested in growing the business with you. And for your team to thrive in this way, you need to have a culture that your team want to be in, stay in, and grow in.. for the long term.


Here are my top 4 tips on building and growing a thriving team in 2020:

  1. Have a system to attract, hire and fire the right people 

It’s a fact: great employees work for great bosses. So it’s your job to lead your team to success. I know that the biggest block for Salon Owners is having the wrong people in their teams. If you have someone in your business who’s blocking your growth, chances are their name popped into your head as soon as this sentence begun. Think… if someone comes to mind, then they are the wrong person for you! I want you to have a systematic approach to hiring (and sometimes firing) the right people so that this doesn’t happen. You’re in a business dominated by humans, so this type of thing is something you’ll always have to deal with it. So now’s the time to really nail your approach. 


2. Great communication strategies to lead, nurture and manage your team

I’m going to say it… there’s no such thing as communicating too much (within reason)! You need to create an implement great communication strategy for your team, so that you can be an amazing boss for them, and so that they actually want to be great employees for you! The best team members want that constant, good communication form their boss- they want to know where the business is going, what you expect from them and what projects are on the bubble. It can be easy to blame your team when it feels like they’re constantly bombarding you, but it’s actually your responsibility as CEO to make sure that they are well-enough equipped to succeed… even when you’re not present. With your team constantly asking you questions, needing you to help them with various things, and generally depending on you… it’s pretty impossible for you to then swap hats and try to switch into CEO & growth mode. You need a system to manage all of this, so that the team still thrives in your absence. 


3. Realise your team’s full potential with the right rewards

I want you to ensure your team are paid in a way that moves them TOWARD improvement…instead of punishing them when they don’t perform.

What if your reward system actually encouraged them to perform… do good work because they felt rewarded by it, motivated to perform for their clients… and not because you nag them to make target! Imagine they KNEW what to do, and how to achieve it, rather than you just throwing them out there on the floor .. "go forth and make target, please." This is how you’ll build a team that smashes their goals.. Because they know EXACTLY what goals to reach and how to reach it… #clarity


4. Train your team- so they stay

I have had so many Salon Owners come to me with the worry that they are going to train a team member, only for that team member to leave. I think that this is the wrong approach to have. The question you should really be asking is: what if you don’t train them, and they stay? That’s why it’s so important to invest in good, consistent team training. And I don’t just mean technical training (this is important too!), but I'm also talking about performance training- teaching them sales tactics, customer service techniques, what to say, what not to say, what to do in this scenario… are you following? The best way to incentivise staff to turn up to training and take it seriously is simple: pay them! Take away any reasons people may have to not show up. 


Speaking of staying and training… let’s talk sales. 

Salon Owners CEO Salon Boss Babe New Year 2020

#4 Smash Your Salon Sales with Confidence

Let’s face it: money makes the world go around.

If you don’t’ earn money you can’t pay the rent

You can’t buy the products 

You can’t pay your team and you can’t open and service your clients


Like, in reality, you must be good at sales or your business just won’t thrive.

I’ve worked with nearly 300 salons now and I’ve had an observation that I can’t ignore… I want to share with you. Those salons that have a high AVE$ also have a high retention rate.

Do you know what that tells me?

That those that give the client what she wants and needs- not just what she is booked in for- are the salons that are keeping their clients the happiest! Clients would not return if they were not happy, would they?

I want you to prioritise smashing your salon sales in the new year, with confidence, because sales is just an exchange of value. 

You give me this hair, this skin… and I'll give you this thing called cash. It’s a value exchange. 

The thing is, is that we over complicate it and make money this weird thing, and it stops us from delivering real true VALUE to our clients. At the end of the day, people want great hair, great skin and they choose to invest their cash into this. So you need to show them that this is what you can do for them.

So your role then, as CEO is to lead your team to add amazing value, not focus on the money or if the client can or can’t afford it. This, of course, will lead your team to more naturally smash their sales goals and actually achieve their targets and get paid what they are worth.

If you want to pay your team more, and make them feel appreciated… then you can!

But not until they deliver. And don’t worry, I know there may be team members who are begging you or putting pressure on you to pay them more… but you simply can’t until they deliver more value and a better experience to the client.

So there is one more thing you need to get into place to have a breakthrough year in 2020.

Now, in my  Freedom & Profit framework I usually step into talking about Marketing… like how to bring in a steady stream of new clients. But before you bring in new clients you have to be able to lead your team, and know how to manage the money because if you’re making a loss or you’re not profitable, bringing in more new clients is just craziness.

So we have to get these steps right first… then we can turn our focus to new client attraction.

Salon Owners CEO Salon Boss Babe New Year 2020

Step #5- Get Help

So there is one more thing you need to get into place to step into the role of Salon CEO in 2020.

And that is: Don’t go at it alone!

Like... business is lonely enough, right?!

Getting help speeds up the learning process and fast-tracks knowledge. Not to mention, it minimises mistakes because you get the benefit of those who have made mistakes and can now teach you the right way or the best way... or at a minimum, how to avoid the pitfalls.

It’s really a shortcut from someone who’s been there and done that. Personally, I believe in having a balance from outside of the industry and within

This way you get fresh ideas and specific ways to work things for your specific needs in the industry… because let’s face it, we’re pretty unique.


You need 3  types of support network in your world:

  1. Someone that is way ahead of where you are and where you want to be… someone who has been where you’re going 
  2. Someone who’s just a few steps ahead of you…  who is doing what you want to be doing
  3. Someone who’s right there in it with you. You want a good community of Owners at the same level as you, doing what you’re doing... your peers

It's simple: you simply do not know what you do not know. Be part of something that will show you what’s even possible. If you look at all the people in history or people who are killing it in business today.. they are not going it alone and struggling with battles alone. No... they have advisors, coaches, mentors, community and learning.

So you’re no different. If you want to have a breakthrough year, then this is a must for you. The next question is:

How will you choose who will help you in 2020?

I’ve had some GREAT coaches and I’ve done some great programs… but I’ve had some fails too. So here are my quick-fire tips for choosing where you’ll get support from next year and how to make the most of it:


  • Choose someone you know, like and trust

Get to know them and what they stand for. What you’re paying for is their version of success, their pathway and their WAY of thinking and doing things. Often there is more than one way of doing things… so what you’re doing by choosing ONE company, one person, or one way of doing things is committing to that ONE way.. and following to completion. For example, if you try to follow too many guides it will confuse you and you’ll step into overwhelm and not actually move forward. So choose someone you resonate with (as a person), agree with their values and style. And remember… a sprinkle of gut instinct goes a long way.

  • Learn lots about them then dive in 100% committed and do the work!
  • Make time to show up, do the work and follow-through
  • Trust the process.. be coach-open and coachable



You should now have the building blocks you’ll need to step into the role of CEO and make 2020 your breakthrough year.

I hope this blog has ready helped you start to become the CEO you know is inside of you. I would now advise you to go out and find some help, get a head start into the year and smash it!

Ok... so that’s what I have to say about that!

Oh, and by the way: I'm about to launch a new masterclass series all about how to master your Inner CEO and live a life of freedom and profit. I’d love for you to join me, it’s free and launching really soon…make sure you sign up, by clicking here.

My new Podclass Series...

LAUNCHING IN JAN- my exciting new Podclass series! Sign up- it's free

About the author, Larissa

Business Coach & Marketing Strategist: After 20 years of salon business I worked in online marketing & technology development, Business Development Manager at Timely Salon Software and co-founded HAIRshare app for Stylist.

I love helping stylists & salons with marketing strategies, the latest technology and working smarter, not harder in salon business.

Salon Owners Collective is an online community with the mission of inspiring and empowering Salon Owners from around the globe to grow beyond owner operator. Turn your ideas into a reality, build successful businesses and live with clarity and purpose.