This should be an easy question to answer, right? As soon as you can afford it! Wrong. I believe that it’s a little more complicated than that. First, because your assistant salon manager is someone you want to be able to trust at all times – which can be challenging in itself – but second, because as we know, the art of delegating is indeed an art, one that can be difficult to learn.
As to why you would want a personal assistant or an assistant salon manager? So many factors can come into play. Perhaps you want to:
- reduce the number of days you work in the business
- have a better work/life balance
- get a break from the headaches
- get some help (the salon/spa has become that busy)
When Do You Know It’s Time?
The bottom line is: you can’t do it all on your own, so it’s always time.
There are now so many facets to the role of a salon or spa owner – from marketing to HR and maintenance to procedures – that you must be supported by a team working towards the same goal as you. Personally, I always try to identify who is the most willing to grow or has the most potential on my team. Then I think about how I could develop them, what could be delegated and create a plan of action.
If You Had An Assistant Salon Manager, What Would He/She Do?
It’s the first thing you should ask yourself. Start by writing a job description and describing what the role would be. This can help you stay focused and manage expectations. And if you can’t think of a full job description off the top of your head, then write down the tasks that you don’t want to do or don’t have the time to do, and go from there.
What Should You Delegate To Him/Her?
It’s all good and well that you want a mini-me by your side, but it takes times to get there. Be mindful that this person needs support in developing him/herself. Patience is key. Focus on finding what would be the best to delegate to this person while also ensuring that you’re not overwhelming him/her. Giving your assistant salon manager too much to do too quickly won’t do anyone good. I always go back to what my boss used to say: “How do you eat an elephant? In small bite chunks!”
Finding the right person means a long-term commitment from both you and them: their development is at the heart of the business. Don’t settle for less than that.
Does It Always Have To Come With A Financial Reward?
No, it doesn’t. With the right mindset and structure, you would be surprised what people are willing to do for you. I’m not saying don’t ever consider the financial reward. In fact, it will eventually need to be something to chat about with your assistant to support his/her long-term commitment.
It always comes back to performance: “I can coach you to become my assistant manager. However, I do not have the budget for this right now. If we achieve the set targets, then you can get a % of the overall takings.”
Create A 2-Year Managerial Plan
This part is possibly the most crucial aspect of the entire process of finding an assistant salon manager. Think about it: for the next two years, how will you support their growth? How will you teach them to think commercially and understand the bigger picture?
Everyone loves to see their talents and strengths developed – regardless of the years of experience they may have. In fact, I’m doing a lot of coaching and training for assistant managers, and I love motivating them. They are the future of our industry and the heart of your business. It’s crucial to generate a strong growth plan to support them. If you were to create such a plan, around what aspects of your business would you need to focus on: Stock? HR? Marketing?
What If You Trust The Wrong Person?
The truth is, I have had some fantastic assistant managers throughout my career and would have gone crazy had they not been by my side. They too helped me grow, and coming in with a different perspective, a fresh pair of eyes, they were able to reassure me when we went through stressful situations.
But what if you trust the wrong person? Well, that happens, unfortunately. After all, we are in a ‘for people by people’ industry. My advice? Don’t be afraid to let things go. If you let go of that fear, you will eventually attract the right person. Personally, I never stop looking for a No.2, even if I already have someone. If you can identify another candidate with massive potential, then why not have two assistants to cover all the shifts? If they have the potential, why not lead or coach someone into achieving more?
That’s what I believe is the basis of leadership: to create leaders whom you can trust to see the bigger picture and live through your values.