How to Run Your Salon like a True CEO

Ambition can be overwhelming. As Business Owners, we tend to have big dreams… with an even bigger to-do list that can often seem to be getting in the way of those dreams.

That’s where Freedom comes in. When I talk about Freedom, many people think I'm talking about the kind of Freedom that finds you sitting on the beach all day every day with a cocktail in hand.

And while that type of Freedom is part of it- it’s the other kind of Freedom that I’m talking about here.

You know, like Freedom of time, space and mind to actually focus on the things that are going to move the needle in your business. The things that will truly make an impact and move you forward and make things work more smoothly.

Freedom to invest in your team so everyone is happier, and to invest in yourself as the CEO of your business.

Because when you do that, you can finally begin to see what true Freedom & Profit looks like… and then the tropical beach holidays will come.

Then you’ll actually have the time to take a rest and spend time on your ‘other life’... things like picking your kids up from school, going to the gym and investing in your health or simply creating some white space in your life.

What I really want, is for you to be able to walk away from your business- whether it’s for 1 hour, 4 days or even 4 weeks - and trust that everything is as it should be.

And how you can do this, is through systems and processes. I truly believe that systems and Processes will set you free…

Salon Owner CEO Business Freedom Systems Processes

Systems & Processes Will Set You Free

The name might sound a tad boring or technical, but I can tell you that the result is anything but those 2 things.

Systems & processes provide so many important ingredients that you need in order to achieve true Freedom & Profit.

You’ll have the consistency to ensure your business’s client service processes are delivered the same every time. Systems & processes will ensure everything is done on time, as it should be, and things are not forgotten.

I believe in relying on systems and processes rather than memory- because that’s when we start getting overwhelmed! Make each decision only once and write it down, that way you aren’t relied on to remember everything all the time. I don't want  you to have to be at the centre of your business for consistency to be carried through.

Avoid decision fatigue. Other people can do things in your business as good as you (sometimes better, let’s face it)... you just need to allow them!

Set up a system, and the process will allow you to trust it will get done how it should be done.

This will increase the trust between you and your team, and between your team members. You’ll begin to trust that your team knows how to do things, or have the resources to find out the answer without you giving it to them. Then the process itself will develop trust from your team toward YOU that you’re caring for them as you should. It means you can be more reliable for your team.

There is nothing worse than waiting on someone to get back to you before you can move forward, so systems & processes allow your team members to make their own decisions within the safe boundaries… and then get on with the job. It sets everyone free!

Your team will no longer need you to respond to every little thing. This is how you’ll be able to walk away from your business for 1 hour, 4 days or 4 weeks and trusting everything will run smoothly.

So with that being said… I hope I’ve convinced you that systems and processes are indeed what will deliver you more freedom... on a silver platter.

I want to walk you through the list of things that you can systemise and of course that you shouldn't be doing any more. Some processes and systems - repetitive tasks - to outsource and delegate to remove you from the daily operations and create more #whitespace for what is yet to come as you grow your business.

Because you can have it all but you can’t do it all.

Salon Owner CEO Business Freedom Systems Processes

Social Media Content

Social media marketing isn’t a ‘one and done’ it’s something that needs to be done over and over again and consistently. But that doesn’t mean it should be you doing it every time, nor should it be you creating a new social media marketing plan each week.

You need to create a system for how you want your Social posts, which includes:

-> What type of post

-> What Social Platform

-> How often to post

-> What filter/colour scheme/style/lighting

-> Planning ‘lives’, posts & stories (when to do each)

-> What Content should be repurposed- you can find a separate blog on this here

-> How it should be done

You’ll want a systematic plan- step by step, day by day- and a little space for inspired pop-up content also.

Create the plan, write it out exactly how you want it and then delegate it. Give full authority to someone so they are fully in charge of it- ensure they know this system like the back of their hand. Make it so that they’re so all over the task… that eventually they know more about it than you do!

Work with them to perfect it (don’t dump and run), refine the process, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. When the team member is ready, and feels confident, they can fully ‘own’ this job.

Step into your role as CEO and manage the PROCESS - don’t ‘do the do’! Have the team member report back to you on how things are going each week- just a high level overview and results… less of the details.

If you need help with your social planning or strategy - I have something for you to give you a head start . I’ll take you through our marketing quiz and give you some of the tools you can start to use to build out your plan. You can click here to take the quiz in messenger. 

Salon Owner CEO Business Freedom Systems Processes

Stationary, Towels and Other Nat-Bites

These activities are the kinds of things I do not want to see on your CEO to-do list! Like… that just isn’t a good, efficient use of your time.

Your job is to create the system so that other people can be in charge of these more day to day tasks. When it comes to doing things like ordering stock, set up a set order list so that someone else can do the job. Have all the details at the ready - so someone can order it and get it delivered- you should only hear about this monthly as the bill comes in. Once the system is created, ensure you check on regularly.

If you’ve set up your budgets and stock levels then you can never get caught up in these things again, and the double bonus is that you’ll not run out of STUFF, you’ll be a step ahead of these ‘regular’ things.


Opportunity Cost

Now let’s take a second to think about what it’s costing you to spend time ordering the business cards. 

Let’s start with your hourly rate. What does it cost the business when YOU spend time on activities, like day to day tasks!

For example, You can charge $150 an hour serving clients- but if you spend an hour with your team you can teach them how to charge $150 an hour each - and you have 4 in your team - now your hourly rate is worth $600 an hour ( 4 x $150).

Would you pay someone $600 an hour to order business cards … I think N.O.!

… So why are you doing it?

Also, what’s the opportunity cost? What activity are you NOT doing when you choose to put ‘business card ordering’ on your to-do-list?

What more important things are you sacrificing?

It could be investing time in your team - teaching them how to be that $150 per hour stylist.

Or it could be employing someone new, starting a marketing campaign that will bring in new clients, introducing an internal campaign that will motivate your team to do more, be more.

I want you to be doing what ONLY you can do! The true job of a CEO… At $600 an hour! If you’ could pay someone else $20 to do it - then DO THAT!


Time to Start!

-> Activity

Now, I want you to note down the top 5 things you get asked on the regular or have to deal with regularly with your team.

I’m talking about anything from the big things like: Can I have a day off / can I finish early / I’m sick, I can’t come in today …

To the little things like: can i do my friend’s hair after work / can I get my hair done - I’ve had a cancellation / What should I do, I’ve got nothing to do.  Or when you find them out the back.. Already doing nothing!

Then you need to decide what the definitive answer is to each common issue or question. Decide what you really want in each situation, the answer that you won’t change your mind about.

Then, write it down.

Now you need to teach it to your team. And I mean really emphasizing it so that they know it well - not a ‘once and done’, that never works. Your ‘this is how we do it here’ is not a once and done, it’s a living, breathing document.

Be prepared: You will need to follow these rules yourself, and stick to them. Lead by example and show people how you want things to be done- the right way.

Now the trick will be getting used to NOT being needed. We all want to be wanted and sometimes need to be needed… but remember there are wayyy more important things for you to work on and that’s the area of your business that really needs you.

And you’ll need to remember to point people back to ‘this is how we do it here’  and not answer all the questions yourself- this is the only way to get them used to not relying on you anymore. Create a team that’s self-sufficient! That’s really the goal.


-> Activity

Next up, I want you to note down the top 5 things your clients ask, complain about, or get frustrated with. Maybe it’s something you’ve noted that are tension points for them (or your team).

For example, it could be: complaints, redos, refunds, cancellation list, appointment request queries, price questions... you get the jist.

Now go through the process again:

  1. Decide what your definitive answer is
  2. Write it down
  3. Teach & drill into your team
  4. Follow the rules yourself
  5. Point your team toward the system

And just like that, you have some great systems & processes set up so that you can get on with your CEO role with more success & efficiency, and your team can do the same.

Salon Owner CEO Business Freedom Systems Processes

BIG Rocks

Let’s talk about some of the BIG rocks. I’m talking about the things that are so important BUT sometimes throw a spanner in the works when you’re’ not expecting them.

Like the hiring and firing process - it’s not an everyday occurrence but it can happen at any moment. The thing is, this often catches us before we’re prepared and we have to REACT instead of managing them with clam and grace (because we are PREPARED in advance).

Which would you rather be doing? Most times this is the nature of employing people, they can leave with little notice...

So, I want you to be prepared IN ADVANCE and have your BIG ROCKS ready - as a step by step system for you or your team to follow.

This way, you can get a step ahead- be in less overwhelm.

If you’re not present in your salon, like you actually are in Fiji, on a beach- there should be a system in place so when the sh!te hits the fan there is less interruption to your current plans and activities.

You need ‘business in a box’ thinking - be ready for shite to hit the fan - so it doesn’t!

I want you to have your ‘step-by-step’ ready to go, in a folder (or some sort of HOME) when you need it so you can reach in and get it, and get sh!te DONE with a super quick turnaround.

Otherwise by the time you think about your situation.. Like in the employment example, do you need any job role changes you need… do you need a new person at all?, Can you push someone else forward into a new role, can you get someone else to work more hours… a week goes by.

Then by the time you get an ad, where you’ll put it, what you write, and then get it up and live,  a week or 2 can go by super easily.

Then you need to think about interviews, live testing on models to see their work and then you’re onto induction into your business - this is a BIG PROJECT and it takes time! what about if you have all that planned in advance?!

Ready to go, waiting for you, in a box with tasks and action lists of what to do, where to find things and everything DONE and ready to go.

Because you could be home with a new baby and someone resigns.

I was on my honeymoon and I had a resignation… I shouldn’t have answered that call! I was about to board a boat to a remote island in Tahiti and boom- caught out when I was least prepared.

But luckily, I had a team who knew exactly what to do!

-> Where to find the SYSTEM

-> What to tell clients

-> What to do with clients

-> Who to move up in their role

-> Who to advertise for

Essentially, we were ready & prepared for it and I was able to go off and enjoy my honeymoon.


OK, so now you know my secrets to more Freedom in your life for 2020. I want to know: what systems & processed do you have in place in your Salon or Spa- and what ones are you going to add after reading this blog?!

Come and let me know in the Salon Owners Collective Free Facebook group- head there by clicking the button below. I’ll see you over there!

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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.