So you have just experienced your first walkout, fear runs through your entire body, you can’t stop shaking, everything is blurry. How are you going to pay the bills, you can barely keep up now? How are you going to service all the clients, when all of your stylists have walked out, leaving just the new assistant that you just hired? First off, don’t worry about the clients coming in and no one to service them. The stylists who left have already contacted them.
Breathe, just breathe, and know that although this will be one of the toughest lessons you will go through as a salon owner, you can survive this. But you need to take some aggressive measures asap! You will need to hold yourself together and try not to talk too much about it to your clients that do come in. They will mention how quiet it is in the salon and wonder where everyone is. Just say, “They have moved on,”How would you like to do your hair today.” Fake it till you make it and put on some upbeat music. Try as best you can not to let them know that you are dying inside. After the clients are serviced for the day go home and start tackling this list:
- Find someone to talk to so you don’t burden your clients, staff and husband. Your gonna need someone to listen and help you get through this. Clients and family will get sick of listening fast! Call me if you need to but no one else will understand what you are going through other than another salon owner who has been through it.
- Don’t start ranting on social media about it. I’ve done that in the past and people thought that I looked like a whiny, crazy, drama queen! I’m telling you – no one will understand what you are going through.
- Call your landlord and let them know the situation. Mine have always been understanding and willing to work with me.
- Stop shopping! I haven’t been to Target or on Amazon in over a year and a half.
- Minimize any and every expense in your salon and at home that you possibly can. This is when the tough get tougher. Turn in your fancy car lease (I’m trading mine in early for a much more economical one.) Order supplies only when you are completely out. Look under shelves, cabinets, back of drawers, etc. I bet you will find replacements you forgot you had. Mix color like they taught you in beauty school. Mix a 6N and 8N to make a 7, (you know what I mean.)
- Cancel any recurring memberships, like mailchimp (you can even suspend them for a few months,) Yelp, Pandora, monthly phone apps. Look over your phone, cell phone, cable and utilities bills at home and the salon to see if you can cut, cancel or downgrade. We downsized and sold our big home, my new home only takes 1.5 hours to clean as opposed to 12 hours.
- Stop having your nails done, botox injections, morning, afternoon and 3:00 slump coffee runs to starbucks, and eating out. Eliminate them all.
- Start posting the most amazing pictures of your work on Instagram 3-5 times per day on your story and feed. Make sure you look like it is business as usual.
- Get back behind the chair or in the treatment room. 7 days a week if you have too. It will do 2 things. Get dollars coming in without increased payroll and it will keep your mind off what has happened.
- Rally the remaining staff and let them know that their jobs are safe and the steps you are taking to move forward.
We paid off over $120,000 in business and credit card debt in the past year, and my husband and I finally took our first vacation together in 2 years. I have survived and learned that it takes on average 18 months to rally and rebuild from a walkout. The last one I encountered was the worst and I recovered even quicker and ended the year profitable using these techniques and you can too!
Need more tips on how to survive a salon walkout? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org