Monday, 5 October 2009

3 Steps to more confidence in business decision making!

(Article written for Professional Beauty Magazine August 2009 issue)

As the only owner of my salon business I was always left to make all the decisions, big and small. I had to deal with ‘do we go ahead and open another salon’ to ‘should we introduce the latest greatest airbrush machine’ to ‘how should we handle a member of staff who is a great operator but keeps taking an unlimited number of breaks every day!’ I was often under pressure to respond quickly… I was often under pressure period! No one else but you really understands the number of different things that you have to consider at every moment. It’s similar to when children ask (demand!) another ice-cream from their mum; they don’t know that you may be thinking about their teeth rotting, the dwindling budget, the tone of the request and the fact that they’ll spoil their appetite for dinner! To them it may seem that the only factor to consider is whether you’ve got £1.50 on you or not! Simple!

To be honest with you, I ran around like a headless chicken for the first year and half of my business, just trying to please everyone. Always wanting to have a solution, an answer to every problem and request. I soon realized it was an impossible task and that I needed to become more strategic about the business and therefore what all the businesses decisions were to be based on. My solution, through study and research, was to create a Strategy Statement; a statement about the business that outlined the goals of the salons and how we were going to go about achieving those goals. That way, when a new issue arouse I would refer back to the strategy statement and make my decision based on whether or not it was inline with the plan!

Ultimately the thing about making decisions is that they are supposed to bring about the results that you are looking for. So as one of my famous mentors Stephen Covey says in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, “Begin with the end in mind”. Think first about where you are trying to get to and plot your way back.
Being strategic and running your business with your end goal in mind is sure to keep you in business for longer and help you maximize your profitability. I found that I became much more careful about how much I spent on shop-fits, new equipment and stock for example. Also I was able to keep the team focused on a goal and therefore better prepared mentally to maintain standards and hit those all-important targets!

So here are my the 3 steps to more confidence in business decision making…

1. Have a business strategy; long-term and short-term - understand what you actually want from your business on a day-to-day, year-by-year basis.

2. Don’t get distracted from your goal when new things are thrown at you. Understand what impact the new issue will have on your goals and priorities problem-solving accordingly.

3. Be cool… you don’t have to answer or decide things straight away… you can say “Let me get back to you on that”

Kick-Start Your Salon Into Profit booklet
Open Your Own Salon... The Right Way! handbook

Ego Iwegbu-Daley