Buying a Salon? 4 Priorities As You Expand Your Team
By Denise Prichard
So there’s a pivotal moment on the horizon for your salon business. If you’ve gotten this far in the beauty business, you already know that buying a salon comes with a lot to consider.
Here’s one more point you may need to focus on, though. To be frank, when you come in as a new salon/spa owner, you need to immediately pay attention to how the existing members of the salon staff perceive you. You also need to set the right tone in your first impressions with them.
Here’s how to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
1. Get to know them and their goals first
Every team naturally develops a unique dynamic, and the staff will already have one when you arrive. It’s much, much easier to see how you can harness that dynamic and align it with your own salon business goals.
To get the insider scoop, schedule individual meetings to get to know each person. Send them your questions ahead of time, so they can come to the table with thoughtful responses.
Some starter ideas:
What’s your schedule like?
What are your goals, and how can I foster an environment that keeps those goals within reach?
What’s your expertise? What do other staff members rely on you for?
What’s your favorite part about working here? What would you be bummed to lose as we make this transition?
Where do you see room for improvement?
Are there any new products or services you’re excited to sell?
Now, here’s the other important part: Make it clear in these meetings that you can’t promise to act on every request—but promise to consider each one, too.
2. Be sure to plan
Being forced to work for a new owner can foster some antagonism and resentment among staff. In the early days, there’s no way around it: You will be met with skepticism, for both your motivation and your business savvy.
Think about the pushback you’re likely to get and the places stylists and staff members are likely to question your intentions. And, this may sound silly, but do your due diligence and rehearse your answers for those moments. Need some help? You can always refer to our checklist for buying a new salon.
3. Ask how they are feeling
At first, everyone will be on their best behavior around a new owner, and that’s natural. That doesn’t necessarily mean everything is perfect if no one is raising objections or complaints, though. You’re the owner, which means you’re the leader, and you may need to work a little harder to get 100% honest impressions of how the transition is going.
Go beyond those individual introductory meetings and pull people aside from time to time to get their perspectives—and use what you learn to take action as needed. Remember—they know the clients and the day-to-day of the salon better than you do right now! Honor that knowledge.
4. Ease into making changes
It’s fair to say you probably aren’t buying a salon because you believe everything is working exactly as it should be. You’re buying it because you see opportunities to be more profitable, to bring in more clients, and to weave it into your overall brand.
Keep in mind, though, that for the staff who are already working there, the way it works now is what they’re accustomed to. Stylists love their clients, and they love coming in knowing what to expect. Changes inherently bring friction along with them, and if you’re looking to minimize that, go slowly.
Gather everyone for an all-staff meeting and use it as a forum for allowing them to share their perspectives. Present your case for why change is necessary, but do it in a way that gives them room to absorb what you’re saying, to ask questions—and above all, to feel like they can be a part of the salon’s evolution.
At their core, your stylists (and employees in general) want one thing above everything else: to feel understood. Go above and beyond to make the effort, and your new team will feel like a part of your family before you know it.