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Structure: Don’t Resist it, Insist on it!

You are a  Salon Owner. 

You are a creative entrepreneur.

What does that mean?

Well, it tends to mean that you value freedom and autonomy and that the very thought of structure & discipline rubs you the wrong way.

I know that when I owned my Salon, and even now still in my Coaching business, the thought of being ‘structured’ and ‘disciplined’ seems counter-intuitive to me.

I started my own business so that I could do things whenever and however I wanted to. 

Little did I know, however, that it would, in fact, be the very nature of structure and discipline that would set me free. 

Here’s why…


Stop the Fireballs

How successful are you when it comes to dodging the fireballs your team throws at you, the minute you walk through the Salon doors?

And when I say fireballs, I’m talking about the millions of questions, like “can I do this”, “should __ be doing this”, “is it ok if I take this day off”.

I get it… you begin to feel attacked! Like you need to be dodging these fireballs, left right and centre!

But the reality is, you shouldn’t be dodging them at all. You need to be supporting them. But this doesn’t mean answering a million questions as soon as you walk in the Salon doors… heck no!

It means having systems & structure set in place so that your team don’t have to bombard you with these fireballs. Your team don’t necessarily realise that you feel attacked when you walk in the door. 

Also, consider this:  you may not realise how it feels for them to have to depend on someone else just to do the most basic things! Give them the gift of autonomy and allow them to get on with their day, safe in the ‘knowing’ that they can.

So, to make it easier for both parties, it is essential to have structures & systems written down and easily accessible. 

Salon Owners Marketing Systems Structure Team CEO Leader

No More ‘can I have a cookie?’

Whether you have kids of your own, have friends or family with young kids, or were a kid once (hint: that’s all of us 😉), I know you can relate to the idea of a child asking if it’s OK if they have a cookie, or 2, or maybe just 1 more… you get the gist, right?!

Continually relying on someone else to grant you permission to do something not only makes the person asking permission feel infantile, but the granter of permission feel heavily depended on.

Now, this may be OK when it actually is a child asking for a cookie. But when it’s a team full of adults working in your Salon, noone wants to feel like a child, nor like a parent. 

The right way to support them as a boss is to make sure there is a set answer for the question that they’re asking and that they know where to find it. 

And if there isn’t a rule, make one so that you don’t have to answer the same question twice... ever again! 

If you want your team to behave like adults (I know a few Salon Owners who have struggled with this!) then you need to teach them the way and let them know that there are rules, so that they don’t feel as though they can push them.


You May Need An Ego Check

Now, you may need to perform a small ego-check when ensuring your team becomes less dependent on you.

I’ve been there. The need to be needed can become addicting, and you may miss it when your team becomes less and less dependant on you. But this isn’t something to feel sad about- it’s something to celebrate!

As your team becomes more and more independent from you, it means that your business is moving forward. 

This will allow you to have more free space to work on your business rather than in it, which is going to allow you to move forward even more!

It’s a win-win.

Salon Owners Marketing Systems Structure Team CEO Leader

Don’t Ask Me, Tell Me

What’s super powerful is when your “how we do things here” systems become so embedded that your staff become self-sufficient.

For example, the bigger your team gets, the more people you have asking for days off. It’s just the way it is. But this shouldn’t stop you from wanting to grow your team!

You need to create a system so that your staff can come to you and tell you whether they can have the day off… not the other way round!

In my Salon, we had a system where my team would roster themselves off. I found that when they would come to me asking for a day off 2 months away, it would get added to my long list of things to do, the pressure and stress would then build for me… it just wasn’t the most efficient way of doing things.

So I laid out some systems whereby they could decide themselves whether they could have the day off. The system included the minimum number of stylists that had to be on that day of the week, if it was less than 6 weeks away my staff weren’t allowed to move any clients, but if it was more than 6 weeks away they could move 1 or 2 clients max. Plus a few other things to check off on the “do I qualify?” list. 

If they had checked that they had complied with all of these steps and noted down their absence on that day, they could come to me and tell me they were having the day off.

I repeat: they would tell me, they wouldn’t ask!

It was one less thing on my list and on their's, too. 


Systems You Need to Have

Over 20 years of owning my own Salon, and now owning my Coaching Business, I have developed a series of systems, structures & disciplines that have helped me immensely along the way.

Now I want to share them with you!


  • Reminders
    •  I LIVE off of my Calendar! Like, as a business owners and a mum I need these Calendar reminders in my life to keep my schedule in check!
  • Social Media Posting
    • Schedule your Facebook posts ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry about it each day! I have a whole separate blog on this
  • The Potential Client Journey
    • When a client comes in, whether that’s through social media, word of mouth, or just online, they are what we call a 'cold' client- they don't know, like or trust your business yet. There is a certain journey that they need to go on if you want to actually get them through the Salon doors. This is something we automate for you over at SalonBot. Check out this blog to read more about the Client Journey
  • Bookings
    • Booking systems, replies to clients, customer support and more front of house activities are all things that can be delegated (to a human) or automated with software. Automation can be done through Facebook messenger… something that we specialise in over at SalonBot


Plan Yourself:

  • Calendar
    • As I said above, I live off my Calendar. I think it’s so essential to keep track of you days, including your appointments and what’s happening in your family life too. There’s nothing worse than that unshakable feeling that you’ve forgotten something! So make sure it never happens
  • Google Drive
    • Keep track of all your important documents, including the online versions of your systems & structures in your Google Drive! Obviously these need to be printed off around the Salon too, but make sure you have copies of everything in your drive and that they’re easily accessible where ever you are at any time you need them. This means organising them into folders and saving the super important ones to your bookmarks!


Onboarding new people:

  • Consistency
    • One of the best ways to ensure your team are all consistently great, and following the same way of doing this (remember consistency builds a brand), is by ensuring that your onboarding process for all new team members is consistent across the board. That means the same onboarding process for someone who’s been in the industry 3 years, or 20 years. After all, they are new to your business, and you have a specific way of doing things. So they need to know it as much as anybody
  • Progress check ins
    • Keep on top of new employees with daily, weekly, and monthly check ins (this is what I'd recommend) . This allows you to track their progress and give them something to reflect on, too


Team Management:

  • Team Huddles
    • Daily. Gather your team around in the morning, set intentions for the day, challenge each other, maybe catch someone being awesome from the previous day
  • Team Meetings
    • Weekly. It is important to get your whole team together as often as possible. This encourages accountability across the whole team and allows everyone to chat face-to-face. Plus you can get across the messages you want directly to your team without any Chinese whispers. 
  • 1:1
    • Monthly at a minimum. It’s super vital to check in on each team member individually. This allows you personal contact with them, which will help build rapport, and also set goals and expectations in a more 1:1 environment
Salon Owners Marketing Systems Structure Team CEO Leader

Structure & Discipline Allows you to Grow

Once I realised that systems, structures and discipline were paramount in my business if I wanted it to grow, I knew I had to start making a change. This level of structure and discipline allowed me to be away from my business but in control and work only 15 hours a week in and on my salon business, and raise babies, and start another business! That was madness… but that’s a whole other story.

These same systems now allow me to work from home, they allowed me to be away from business but feel in control and know that things are still progressing without having to be part of every touchpoint. 

Having these structures in place actually protects me from stepping into overwhelm and stress, it gives me the space to think about growth and makes me get ahead of any new problems and fix them once and forever.

As the end of the day, people play better when they have boundaries and rules. Your team should know that it’s OK to make mistakes, because if you’re scared to make decisions because you might be wrong... then you won’t make decisions for yourself or be independent.

You just have to let your team know that you trust them, they should trust themselves!

Are you thinking about 2020 yet!?

Now is the time to start getting your business plan sorted for 2020, and I want to help... I want to invite you to join my Full Immersion Coaching Program. Let's chat!

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.