Ken’s Clinic

Ken’s diagnosis:

Oh boy, Neil, you don’t need a page-long answer, you need me to write a book! Let’s start with Covid-19. As I write we’re experiencing regional lockdowns, infection rates are rising and there is no real light at the end of the tunnel. Salons are performing like roller coasters. Buying patterns have changed. By the time you read this we will be seeing the after-effects of furlough and you and I will be part of an industry that will probably have built up its biggest debt burden ever.

One serious tip I will give you, as you say you are planning a new salon in 2021, is to make doubly sure you have checked all of your numbers. The projections you will have done, both financial and market-wise, will have changed drastically over recent times. Update and review before you commit. I would never say: “Don’t do it”, because there are always opportunities in tough times. But you must have the right ‘product’ and you must have the solution to a problem.

Your plate spinning challenge has a simple, two-part solution that is sadly not quite so simple to execute.

Part One: Systems. The bigger you grow, the more you need systems to ensure that each of your salons maintain your brand standards. Every part of your business should have clearly documented systems. A Big Mac is a Big Mac, a Domino’s Mighty Meaty is a Domino’s Mighty Meaty. All are produced with brand consistency because of clearly documented systems. As a highly-skilled craftsman, systems may not drive you, but as you grow you must also become a highly-skilled businessman.

Part Two: Team. To maintain your brand you need a highly committed, well rewarded and highly motivated team. You cannot do this alone and you will frazzle yourself if you try.

You probably now have even more questions than you started with Neil, and I am always happy for you to contact me directly. Many years ago, I reached the stage where, as my businesses grew, I realised there was stuff I didn’t know.

My final tip would be to grow yourself. Learn the things you never learnt and embrace the things that you may find challenging. Reach out like you did with your question. Help is out there. Good luck in 2021.

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

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