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Work It Out in Ken’s Clinic

What 3•6•5 Education’s Ken West doesn’t know about running a business simply isn’t worth knowing. At Salon Smart he put the delegates through their paces in Ken’s Clinic, re-examining what they thought they knew about bottom lines and balances

Running the numbers is often salon owners’ and managers’ least favourite job to do, but at the end of the day it’s the most important skill in business. If the numbers aren’t making sense, there’s little that your impressive cut and colouring skills can do to save you. “Today you’re going to do the work,” Ken West, director of business experts 3•6•5, announced at the beginning of his packed seminar at Salon Smart.

As Ken explained, salon owners need SMART standards:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-oriented
  • Timed

Delegates were presented with two challenges to test their numbers know-how. First, the key result areas of the salon and aspects of business behaviour which have a direct influence on their business’ performance. In groups, the delegates discussed the reception, the retail area, the book-balancing happening in the back room, and how crucial each of these were to successfully growth.

“In today’s challenging market hairdressing skills are simply not enough. You need to truly understand how to run, manage and motivate a profitable team and a profitable salon. Business skills are just as essential as hairdressing talent.”Ken West

“Hairdressers always think clients come more often than they actually do,” Ken said, before revealing that the average number of weeks between appointments in the UK is just over 11 weeks. “When the national average is 24 clients a week, and you’re looking at an average income of say £30 per guest, it simply will not make you money.”

“Your break-even is one of the most important numbers in your business,” he went on to add. “You should review it every 12 weeks. There’s absolutely no point working towards a break-even you set when you first started.”

The focus then swung inwards, to the staff. Delegates were tasked with setting minimum performance standards at six, 12 and 18 months for three imaginary new recruits: a new apprentice, a newly qualified stylist, and a stylist with 10 years’ experience. “People need to know the standard you expect from them. Don’t sit on it; set your expectations from day one,” Ken warned.

His final piece of advice? “Act on fact. If you can’t see growth, stop kidding yourself!”