Ken’s Clinic

Ken’s diagnosis

Glad to see you’re planning ahead Thomas. When salons forecast their budgets for the year ahead, many fail to include what is possibly one of the most important investments of any business – education. The word is ‘investment,’ because without education how do you and your team continue to grow? There are three types of education that all salons should invest in.

The first is product education. This is invariably provided free (or should be) by your suppliers but not all salons take advantage of this. Without it your team lose confidence and with a lack of confidence their upgrades will reduce and so will their creativity. Their retail sales will also drop off and retailing is vital for creating client loyalty.

Second is skills education. Too often hairdressers believe that they don’t need to carry on developing their skills but this is far from the case. We must all continue to improve what we do. New techniques are constantly being developed and fashion is an ever-evolving beast. It’s very easy to become a dinosaur, and we know what happened to them. We are in one of the most competitive industries and complacency can be disastrous. I have seen many salons and stylists fall from their ivory towers because of complacency.

New skills can be learnt in many ways. Manufacturers often provide skills education – our parent company, Salon Success, provides such education for the salons it supplies. There are many academies that provide skills education but I would suggest you select carefully. Reputation is vital so ask other salons you know for recommendations. Spend your money wisely. The best value skills education can often come from within. Many of the skills I learnt over the years have come from asking those around me who were better than me at a particular skill to share their knowledge with me. Together we can grow.

The third type of education is business building. This is often overlooked in the belief that if you get the first two right then our businesses will naturally be successful. This is so far from the truth and I have seen many beautiful salons, full of talented and creative stylists, fail because of poor management as a result of lack of business education.

Obviously companies such as the one I am part of, 3•6•5 Salon Education, provide comprehensive programmes for owners, managers and stylists to help them to grow. However this can also sometimes be available from your suppliers, although it often tends to be biased toward the use of their products as well.

Any or all of this education can be delivered to groups or to individuals. All I would say is: if you invest in educating an individual, always protect your investment and ensure that they share their knowledge with your team.

Finally, be passionate about learning and education. It should be at the top of your budget and not the bottom. If you don’t believe me, look at the Apple model. It believes in education so much that it delivers education to its teams every day in its stores.

Ken West is director of business experts 3•6•5 – email him on


Ken West