I remember it like it was yesterday … one of my strongest team members pulled me aside and delivered those two gut-wrenching words.
And I felt like my whole world had been turned upside down - how could she just leave me like this?
To tell you the truth, I felt blindsided - and I couldn't see a way through the chaos I knew was heading straight for me.
So I did what any other 20-something would … I rang my boyfriend and cried to him. Hysterically.
I told him that my world had been turned upside down and he had the AUDACITY to give me a reasonable solution. He said, “well then turn it back up-right”.
And so that's what I did, and it's what I've been doing ever since by taking the situation into my own hands with what I like to call ‘the three P’s’ - because when you’re a business owner, it's not a matter of ‘if’ a team member leaves you, it’s a matter of when.
And when a team member leaves you, you’re going to want to be armed with perspective, processes and self-preservation…
This too shall pass
The first thing you need to do is pause, and take a deep breath because this too shall pass. Business is made up of seasons - and what I mean by that is simply - sometimes you grow, and sometimes you wilt, sometimes the leaves fall off and you start again.
As long as you stay rooted you will make it through the ebbs and flows - and weather the storm.
I know you’ve heard this before, but success is not a straight line - it's messy! And moments of change, or disruption might seem like the end of the world but they’re actually a really good opportunity to pause, reflect and take stock.
So, put that bottle of wine down - this is not the time to drown your sorrows - it’s FULL of opportunity. Opportunity to focus on preservation, retention, and the future of your business.
Specifically, the team in front of you who are ready to level up and take on new responsibilities. This is the time to develop those people who are with you for this season, and beyond.
The show must go on
The second thing to get you through an employee break-up is to remember that your business is your brand, and your brand should be stronger than any one human inside it.
Because there's no room for heroes in the hair and beauty industry
In fact, your business is vulnerable when it relies on individuals alone. Your BRAND must be the hero.
What builds a brand? Consistency. (Say it with me - consistency!) Services have to be consistent from one stylist to the next so that the expertise and the experience your clients get are attached to your brand instead of one individual. But how do we achieve this…?
Enter: Systems and processes.
That's right, strong systems and processes will create consistency in your business and support your brand so that when one person leaves, it doesn’t all fall apart.
What do I mean by systems and processes? I’m talking about recruitment, client management processes and change management & team communication- documented actions for when these inevitable, and unavoidable changes happen in your business.
It might sound boring, but this is what protects your brand strategy and ultimately, protects your business.
How? By making sure that the skill, the expertise, and the gold that individuals bring to your business stay long after they leave with clear and consistent, written delivery processes - not just individual humans delivering great services in their own silo.
Check yourself (before you wreck yourself)
Finally, how you manage yourself and your emotions throughout any significant change in your business is SO important.
Losing a team member is never easy, in fact its likely to be one of the most disrupting things to happen in your business - so it's no surprise that you’re feeling unsettled and believe me, you’re not alone.
This is not the time wallow or catastrophise, this is your chance to step into change and step up like a bad-ass- Salon CEO.
It might get messy, in fact, it probably will and that’s okay - but it’s your job to lead your team through this transition and deal with the mess together.
And the first thing that needs to happen is a bit of self care - this is not the time to neglect things like sleep, nutrition and exercise. Staying on top of your self care will anchor you, and help you to pause the temptation for reaction.
And you know what I mean by that don’t you? Emotional reaction, letting your internal feelings about something drive the way you respond to it externally. We’re all guilty of it (god knows I am!).
But of course you and I know that's not usually the best way to resolve a situation.
100 year business
Something that helps me gain perspective in times like these is to consider that I'm building a 100 year business - a business that is bigger than just me and that will live on after you yourself have left.
This change of mindset really helps me put my emotions to the side, and get out of my own way - so I can focus on what needs to happen next.
But, knowing that gives you power, it gives you a chance to get in front of it and make plans so that when the inevitable does happen, you’re prepared, you don’t need to reach for the nearest bottle of Chardonnay (or Pinot Noir?) - you know what to do next.
So, take your opportunity to stay rooted (and find perspective!). Implement the systems and processes you need to futureproof your Salon and take time to reflect before you react, approaching the next challenge with the perspective and intention of a Salon CEO.
I know business ownership can feel like a lonely, isolated place. But you don’t have to do it alone. The Salon Mastery Programme is made up of Salon Owners just like you who are taking action in their business to achieve their ultimate dreams of freedom and profit.
If this sounds good to you then please reach out, I’d love to chat. Let's find out if maybe Salon Mastery is a good fit for you.
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