Thursday, July 28, 2011

Running a 2-location business

Obviously you can't be two places at one time, so how do you manage a two-location business? Well, you don't do it alone. Our success relies on a team of leaders, each with specific responsibilities, but supported by the group.

Each of our salons has a Stylist Manager who is the direct supervisor of the stylists in her location. Previously we had a Spa Manager who supervised the spa staff at both locations, however, with her recent departure, the stylist managers have taken on the additional team members.

In addition to the two stylist managers, we have a Director of Operations and the owner. The Director of Ops manages the front desk team (at both locations), does all purchasing of retail and professional supplies, manages the schedule (days off, etc.). As owner, I handle bookkeeping and finances, technology, marketing and strategic planning.

Each manager conducts one on one conversations with their team on a regular basis. One location conducts them every month, the other has decided to go every two months. As owner, I have one on ones with the management team but also with each employee at least 4 times per year. If a team member is having a 1 on 1 with me, they will not have one with their direct supervisor that month. Having 1 on 1's directly with the owner allows each person a chance to communicate directly with me and to discuss any issues they may have with other managers. Of course, we have an open door policy and team members are encouraged to come to us with issues as they arise, but the formality of scheduled 1 on 1's ensures we will have regular time with each of our team members.

The four members of the management group meet each week for two hours. Our meetings cover personnel issues, upcoming leaves, future training or meeting agendas, necessary purchases, incentives or contests, compensation, monthly specials, etc. The group acts as a sounding board for a manager who has a particular personnel issue to deal with. Together we will form a strategy for dealing with a particular problem. Sometimes the stylist manager or DOO will deal with the issue alone, other times we will tag team and talk with someone together, or an issue will be escalated to the owner - it all depends on the situation and our desired outcome. The regular meetings and support of the fellow managers has helped each of us become more effective in our roles, and helps to hold us accountable for our particular responsibilities.

It's important to note that these meetings are not an opportunity for the owner to preach or push down decisions. The four of us work as a team to run the business. I truly want and respect their opinions often defer to their wisdom. Too many times an owner will assemble a management group in name only, but they are actually closed to new ideas generated by the group.

If you don't want the entire burden of running the salon on your shoulders, you must assemble a group of trusted team members and work with them.

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