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Resources & Development


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By Skip Williams

By the time you read this we will have a new President of the United States in the White House, but as I write this months article for Dermascope, it is now day 18 of the Presidential Election dispute in Florida. About now you are asking "how can you relate a Presidential Election to our industry Skip, and if you can, will you be non-partisan?"

What fascinates me about politics is the push and pull, the flimsy evidence that one side will use to create its rhetoric, the "mountain out of a mole hill" and how anything can be "Spun" to ones own advantage.

As I watch Election Canvassing Committee members counting dimpled, swinging, and pregnant "Chads" I believe there is an important lesson for the Spa/Salon industry.

I find that many Spas/Salons that I consult with hire talented Providers, Front Desk Agents, and others. Then give them a short "orientation" and send them to work and expect that they will be able to perform their jobs and tasks correctly based on their education, past experience, and good judgment.

While these employees intentions are good and they want to do the best job possible, without employee handbooks, standard operational procedures (SOPís), constant training, clear and unambiguous goals there will always be problems. Without the proper rules, tools, and goals we are setting up our employees for failure.

Everything we do in our business is (or should be) considered a process. From the selling the public to visit our Spa/Salon through welcoming the guest to our facility, facilitating the front desk necessities, performing the services, selling the retail, collecting the payment and rescheduling their next visit is a process.

The procedures of each step of the process are also a process or "subset" that describes the process in more detail. When these procedures are spelled out in as much detail as possible we leave little doubt in the minds of our representatives (the employees) as to what is expected of them and what to do in any given situation.

How much detail your procedures have is up to you, keep in mind that the more detail the less subjectivity, I often say that the procedure should let us know whether the toilet paper roll gets mounted in an under or over configuration.

While the task of creating these "Standard Operational Procedures" may sound daunting, they do not have to be. We can start with a basic generic procedures manual and fine tune it until it represents our Spa/Salon.

  • Rules

We should never put it away and feel that it is done. When a problem arises it gives us a perfect opportunity to incorporate the solutions into the latest revision. It should be an ongoing process to improve the process. Likewise it does not have to be written by one person; for example the Massage Therapists should be involved in creating the Massage Treatment Procedures.

  • Tools

What good is an Operational Manual if no one knows what is in it? The Operational Manual should be incorporated into all the training that takes place. It can even become the text used when training any particular subject from customer service to how to do a "Salt Glow Treatment".

  • Goals

Once the Procedures have been established, and everyone knows how to handle every situation, we are then ready to set the "goals". Goals tell everyone how many times we need to accomplish our tasks, or repeat the process, in order to meet our businesses expectations

Putting it All Together

A card game has rules, a recipe has steps and a sport team has goals, when we incorporate these elements into the Spa/Salon they will enable us to run our business as a finely tuned racecar. It can be the oil in the gears of the machine that is your business, allowing it to continuously move onward in the direction of success and minimize the frequency of derailments.

The larger your business becomes, the more these procedures will become a necessity, the sooner the processes are in place the sooner your business will become large. There is no advantage in waiting before creating the procedures, and frankly it only become more difficult and more daunting the longer we wait.

Finally, just as those Canvassing Committee members that wanted to be fair and consistent when counting those "Chads", without hard and fast rules they were put into a "No Win" situation, both sides were bound to protest the outcome. Like the preordained failure of the election committee, the price of failure with a client or procedure in the Spa/Salon business is high and can get blown out of proportion and sometimes-even end up in court.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at:


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