Why every Salon Business Coach wants you to delegate

Why does every Salon Business Coach love telling you about delegation? And how do you know it's time to delegate anyway?

Why does every Salon Business Coach love telling you about delegation? And how do you know it's time to delegate anyway?

Well, that's because most of the time when people come to a salon business coach they're overwhelmed.  Basically they want to either see better work-life balance or they want better business results without having to put any extra hours in. And if that's the case there are only three options open to you. 

  • First you can increase your prices.  I often encounter some resistance when we talk about price increases, but basically an increase means is that we have the potential to generate more income in the same number of working hours.
  • Second, we can look at growing your team. But maybe you don't ever want a team.  Even if you are already an employer, taking on an extra team member can feel like a big step.
  • Or the third option is to make more room in your working hours for revenue generating activities.  Basically delegating some of your other work. This means syou can either have more time off (which makes the salon business coach look really good because your work life balance gets better). Or you have more room in your week for clients or revenue generating activity (which again makes the coach look good, because your takings start to increase).

I think a lot of coaches use delegation as a bit of a blunt instrument and I want you to take a considered approach.

But I don’t have a team!

We're not just talking about delegation internally in the salon business. We can also be talking about external delegation. What is very often referred to as outsourcing. 

But I don’t want to outsource or delegate!

Why it is that you're resisting delegation?  How is it some salon owners seem unwilling to delegate? Why is it, do you think that you want to do it all yourself?

If that sounds like you, grab a new page in your journal. At the top of the page write: "Why do I want to do it all myself?"

It's worth unpacking this in some detail. Some of these barriers are holding you back in terms of business growth and even more, in terms of work-life balance.

There is no dignity in being busy

It seems to be the default state for many. You start a conversation with someone and ask how they are.

“Oh, busy” is the reply.

We almost feel like we have to be busy in order to be successful.  That’s just not the case.  Let me explain.

I'm sure you can think of lots of examples of people who are very busy, but also unsuccessful. In fact there are billions of people in the world who are very busy yet enjoy very low levels of financial reward, material success or levels of personal autonomy.

Equally I can think of a many examples of people who are hugely successful, but aren’t ‘busy’ at all. They don't spend an awful lot of time working on, or in their business.

So let's get away from this feeling that we have to be working lots of hours and be very busy in order to succeed. 

Been bitten before?

Maybe you don't want to delegate because you've had a bad experience with delegation in the past? That's very common.

As a salon business coach I will often hear of people who re-take control of a task because they've tried to delegate and it hasn’t gone terribly well.  Rather than focus on making that system work, they take it back into their inbox.

That bad experience can harm your business, but I do think you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There's still a lot of long-term benefit in exploring delegation in a positive way. 

I’m a control freak

Maybe you class yourself as a control freak. And I have spoken to lots of salon owners in the past who wear the badge of control freak with pride.

“Oh I couldn't possibly delegate - I’m a control freak”

They brag as though it's a great thing and by accepting it and owning it we no longer need to do any work in that direction.

And of course everyone likes to feel that they're in control.  But we can be in control and delegate too - we're not talking about abdication but controlled delegation.

I can’t afford it

Or maybe you feel that you can't afford to delegate just yet? Perhaps you feel that there isn't enough spare money in the business.  Firstly, I want you to appreciate, even if you're a solopreneur, that you already have a team.

You have a team that surrounds the business and helps you with tasks that you wouldn't want to carry out yourself.

  • I'm assuming you don't keep your takings in a biscuit tin underneath your bed: you've delegated looking after your money to a bank.
  • You may also have a bookkeeper or an accountant.
  • Maybe you've got a web guy who takes care of your website

And I'll bet if you think about it, you can also think of examples of places outside work where you already delegate.

  • Maybe you get groceries delivered - you've delegated that task of walking around a supermarket to somebody else.
  • Perhaps you've got pets, and you've delegated the task of walking your dog or grooming your pets to somebody else.
  • Maybe you delegate some aspect of your housekeeping to a cleaner
  • Or perhaps you delegate some aspects of your parenting through help with childcare.

There is no need to be afraid! You're already delegating tasks in many areas of your life - now we need to find examples of how that can support you in your business growth as well.

Is it time to delegate?

This is where many a salon business coach goes wrong. They push people through this process far too fast. People who uncomfortable with delegation in terms of cost or before before they really feel that they are ready to do it. And actually rather than keeping control and reducing overwhelm, the opposite happens. They feel out of control and as though they are throwing money in directions that they don't really understand. 

Take the temperature of your life. I want you to look at how many hours you work now in a normal week. Don't forget to add on any hours of work you take home for evening s and weekends. 

Then let's look at how many hours you actually want to work. Maybe you're okay with that work-life balance where is at the moment. Perhps you'd be happy with that for the next 10 years - and that's just fine! I'm not here to judge you I'm not here to tell you what your goals ought to be.

But if there's a difference? If the number of hours you're working is higher than the number of hours you want to work? Delegation could be a really useful place to start.

How busy are you?

I also want you to look at the hours that you're spending in the salon. Caluclate as a percentage how many of those hours are actually utilised - how many of those are actually committed to revenue generating activity.

I would suggest that if you are less than 80% utilised on an average week, then it's probably not time for you to be delegating just yet. You've probably got the time in your week to carry out your tasks.

If you're over 80% utilised though, I think it may well be time to delegate.

What is it that we should look at delegating?

What kinds of things do you think we ought outsourcing or passing on to other team members?  Well, we can start with what makes financial sense.

Take your most popular service. For example let's take your standard facial. We'll say thatfacial takes an hour and for the sake of convenience that you charge £60 for it.

In a very blunt way, anything that you could outsource or delegate for less than £60 pounds an hour should be considered for delegation.  That's because you'd be better off financially by doing one or two extra facials and then pay somebody else to carry out lower value tasks.

I see lots of salon owners going wrong in this way. They could be spending their time doing £60 pound an hour facials but they clean their own salon windows.  Basically sacrificing £60 an hour for something they could outsource for less than £10.  

Everything is up for grabs and not just the big tasks. For example, I have a virtual assistant and one of her tasks is to look at my email inbox. She goes through every morning and deletes all the emails which are obvious rubbish. It probably takes her about an hour to go through three or four email accounts. The otherwise-wasted time that she saves me is absolutely phenomenal.

How do I stay in control?

Only delegate tasks that you understand. You don't necessarily need to understand how to do that task yourself. But you definitely need to understand the outcome.  Let me give you an example.

My tax returns are delegated to an accountant yet I don't actually understand what that process involves. I know that there's a certain amount of form-filling and something that has to be done online. But I don't actually know step-by-step what that process involves.

However, I'm very very clear on what the outcome is - I expect my tax returns and my annual reports to be delivered on time.

If you don't understand what the outcome is then I don't honestly think you should look at delegating.  Social media is a huge one for this. I hear of a lot of  people who don't really know what they want from a social media manager. They eagerly sign over their Facebook and Instagram accounts to a relative stranger, then they're disappointed in the results.

Truth is, they didn't really understand what they wanted that result to be.

Anything you're not good at

Anything you're doing at the moment that is essential for your business but you're not very good at should be delegated. 

When I start with a new client as a salon business coach I often ask them to take another page in your journal and write themselves a new job description. If you had to replace yourself in the business, what would you be advertising for?  Usually we will fill that job description only with what is essential for our businesses to move forward.  Then take a quick look over the last couple of weeks at where you're spending your time at the moment.

Are you spending your time on revenue generating activity (marketing, team management, planning)?   Think of this as a diet for your diary.  When we first start a new eating plan a really good place to start is a food diary. Find places where you're spending your time that don't appear on your job description.

Want to keep in touch?

Head over to my free Salon Ignition Facebook group for more tips on growing your salon business WITHOUT the overwhelm. You can find the group here: https://facebook.com/groups/salonignition