Founder of online business turnaround program Salon Success Freedom, Susan Routledge has won numerous national business awards and is a BABTAC board member, creator of the Beauty Director's Club, and author of bestselling books including recently released Beauty and the Best. Here, Susan talks to Timely about how to stay focused in business, and about her trademarked STABLE business formula.

What are your top tips for staying focused in business?

The first thing to do is to consider the things that you love doing in your business.  Which elements of the business do you genuinely enjoy?  It’s difficult to focus on anything that you don’t like doing so, where possible, see if somebody else can take on those tasks.  

The next step is to dedicate regular time to your own self-care.  It can be as simple as going for a daily walk, and it can be as little as just 15 minutes a day. But it will definitely make a difference to your overall mindset and, consequently, your ability to focus. 

Thirdly, get really, really laser focused on what you want to achieve. Journaling is a great way to do this.  Personally, I sit down with big pieces of paper and map out everything.  Everyone has different ways of doing this and there is no right or wrong way.  The key thing is to always stay very focused on the future, not on what has already happened. Dwelling on the past just keeps you stuck there. Stay focused on where you want to go, and you’ll get there a lot faster.

Finally, always expect good things to happen. Don’t doubt yourself or your abilities. Expect that everything is going to go right. 

Can you summarise your formula for business? 

I have my own trademarked method, called the STABLE business formula.  You need to start by imagining, or visualising, your business as being like a tabletop.  Ideally, you want that tabletop to be steady and stable but, as we all know, tables very often have wonky legs that throw things a bit off balance. 

Divide your tabletop into four sections: one quarter for your cash, one for your clients, one for your assets, and a fourth for your team. Imagine that the tabletop is covered with money and it is your aim, to keep your business balanced to keep the money in the business. Areas that aren’t strong or out of balance allow money to fall out of the business due to shaky unstable legs in one or more areas, trying to hold it all together.

What are the different elements to your STABLE business formula?

STABLE stands for:







In each of the four areas of your tabletop, you need to put systems in place.  Systems for cash, for clients, for your assets, and for your team.  

Then you need to look at the issue of trust in each of these four areas.  How can you build more trust with your clients?  With your team?  With your finances and your assets? 

In terms of the importance of being adaptable, this is something that we’ve all become a lot more aware of since the start of the pandemic.  You need to have a business model that is easy to adapt if circumstances change.  This might be a team member suddenly leaving, it might be an unforeseen financial cost, it could be personal issues that leave you with less time.  You need to have a plan that means your business is always adaptable.  

Regarding branding, again, you need to look at this across all four areas of your business and you need to make sure that the branding sits perfectly together.  Every single element of your business is part of the brand and that needs to be very clear.

Links refer to all of the connections you have, and need, to run your business.  Look at how to strengthen existing links and where you need to work on creating new ones.  

Education includes not only your own learning, but also using your own knowledge to educate others.  A lot of the time, everything that we have learned about running our business, stays in our head.  It needs to be written down, or put into a video, so that other people understand what is involved and what is happening within the business. 

Once you have put balance back into all four areas, using all of the STABLE elements, you’ll find that the legs of your tabletop, the foundations of your business, are very solid.

Susan Routledge has worked with 21 salon owners and leaders to create a book showcasing exciting careers and opportunities available in the beauty industry.