Feeding Your Passion for Salon/Spa Business


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Owning a salon/spa business can easily be described as a “love/hate” relationship. You love the good times because they can be exhilarating. You hate the bad times because they can be excruciating.

However, no sane person goes into business because he or she wants to experience a prolonged emotional and financial roller coaster ride.

Why do we do it? Why do we bet the proverbial ranch on vision that is risky as hell? Why do we hire employees that either fill us with pride or drive us crazy? What drives us and sustains us to be both leader and entrepreneur?

The one word that helps to answer these questions is Passion. Yes, there are inspiring words like ambition, determination, innovator and visionary, but the word Passion doesn’t define what you are, it’s defines who you are.

You can become a business owner for the independence, the money, or to just do things your way. But when you have Passion for not only what that business is, but for what it does, and what it stands for, there is something innately different and unique about who you are as an entrepreneur.

Here are my leadership strategies to feed and nurture the Passion to grow a salon/spa that is truly special:

Money is an outcome: To be sustainable and grow, a business must generate profit. That’s the no-brainer part. When business becomes all about the money, it does so at the expense of Passion. Leadership is about Passion. People will believe in, follow and trust a leader with Passion. Employees know when it’s all about the money and less about them. Believe in your vision. Believe in yourself. Believe in and respect your employees that chose to share the journey with you. The money will come.

It has a heartbeat: Although different than human beings, a business can live or die. I believe every business has a heartbeat. You can read its vital signs in its financial reports and critical numbers. Like humans, a business needs to be physically and mentally fit. That’s why it needs to push and stretch to achieve its goals. As the current owner, you are your company’s coach, guide and caretaker. The less you care, the weaker your company’s heartbeat. The more Passion you have for all that your company is and stands for, the stronger its heartbeat.

You are not your company: I will continually remind owners that “you are not your company.” Building a company around an ego is “all about me” and very little about “we.” Building a company that is severely dependent on the owner’s presence is shortsighted. The biggest danger is your salon/spa will live and die with you. As the owner, your “entrepreneurial mission” is to grow the value of your company to eventually sell. A potential buyer will see less value in a business built around its owner rather than systems and a leadership team structure. The Passion is about growing your company.

Be what your company needs: The biggest challenge for owners is their bad habits and behaviors adversely affect their salon/spa business. Passion means doing whatever it takes to protect and grow your company. It means learning new skills your company needs that may not be so exciting to you. It means making tough decisions that are outside of your comfort zone. It means embracing your role as leader rather than avoiding it. And guess what? If you do all these things to be what your company needs, you grow as a leader. You become a better entrepreneur.

Evolve as your company evolves: No matter how prepared you thought you were when you started your company; you quickly learned that you weren’t. In the start-up years, it’s trial by fire. You have to evolve to survive. But as a business matures, too many owners stop evolving. They become complacent. That’s when salons and spas begin to spring leaks. Small problems become big problems. Opportunities are missed. Great employees leave. Passion is about evolving. Passion is about pursuing and achieving your full potential. Passion is understanding that the company you started has grown in complexity and will continue to do so. Passion is about self-development and maturing as a leader and entrepreneur.

Passion it forward: The wise entrepreneur understands his or her company can far outlive its founder. Who will lead and take over your watch? Who will carry on what you created? Passion is about igniting the Passion in others by sharing all you know. Passion is about preparing future leaders. Passion is about the passing of the torch. Passion is about enhancing life as much as it is about lifecycles.

Here’s my challenge to you: Use my article as an introspective to better understand and connect with your own Passion for business and leadership.

Take each point and rate your current Passion factor on a scale of one to ten, where ten represents extreme Passion. Anything less than a ten means you have work to do. You have an opportunity to get better.

My company, www.strategies.com, will turn 25 on September 13. My Passion has evolved. Yes, there were moments along the way when I thought I lost it and found it again. Everything I wrote here, I try to live everyday. My Passion is that important to who I am.