I’m guessing you didn’t get into business to be working all the time. Most people think of “freedom” when they hear that you’re a business owner, but so often that’s not the case!

It’s time to take back freedom in your business

It’s important to regularly get away from the hustle and bustle or business life. When you make space in your life to unwind, your mind clears and focus returns. You start to see things in perspective and you can visualise the bigger picture. Finding the right mixture between work and relaxation or family, is what people refer to as work / life balance.

Whatever you wish to call it, you’ve got to make an effort to book regular time away from the salon, ideally once every quarter or more. It’s unreasonable to ask you to completely switch off – after all you are the boss! But you can still run your business and check in on the day-to-day happenings through your business monitoring tools, and this will give you the freedom to do anything!

“Sure,” I hear you say. “I’m already behind the eight ball with my to-do list, and it’s only the first quarter!”

If you expect different results this year without making a significant change to how you do business, you’re kidding yourself. Change is what makes change.

To help small business owners do this, I recently wrote an e-Book to help salon owners work smarter, not harder this year. With the help of the Timely team, we’ve made it really easy to implement 26 A-Z tips that will allow you to run a smarter business by the end of the year. Let’s make 2015 the year where you take back your freedom!

Here are some tips from the book:

Automate

The first goal you need to accomplish to maximise your time is to automate as many day-to-day processes as possible. This was difficult to do 10 years ago, but advancements in technology has made it possible for us to automate many aspects of your business, and these can be very cost-effective and save a lot of money.

Automating common processes will result in less mistakes and a smoother running business, without the need for constant input. It’s worth the time investment upfront to set up automations.

Automate processes digitally

  • Don’t waste your time creating invoices twice. Raise them once in Timely and automatically sync them to your accounting software, like Xero.
  • Get started with email marketing with MailChimp. Set up your email marketing to get new clients and retain existing ones. With our MailChimp integration, you can set it up once and forget about it.
  • Use SMS reminders help to prevent no-shows.
  • Take advantage of online booking and payments to streamline the customer experience. Stop your phone from interrupting you and let your clients manage their appointments and make payments with ease. You can take bookings even you’re closed, and you’re still totally in control.
  • Google Calendar syncs with Timely and your mobile devices so you manage your work and home life from anywhere at any time.
  • HootSuite for social media allows you to manage your social networks, schedule messages, engage your audiences, and measure ROI right from the dashboard.
  • RecruiterBox is the easiest way to receive and manage job applications to your company. It’s much more efficient than email and multiple phone calls.

Delegate

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. As a business owner, it’s likely that one of your strengths is motivating people, doing the numbers, or growing the vision of your business. But you can’t do it all. You’re physically capable, but it’s not healthy for a business to be too reliant on you.

It’s important to recognise the strengths of your team and yourself, and to use those to grow your company and free up your time. Delegate tasks to people who are capable, and in turn, they’ll feel empowered that you trust them with to do those things. Giving people responsibilities equips them to grow into their positions and excel at what they do. Remember – the key to delegation is follow up. You know what they say. “What gets noticed gets done.” Here are some delegation tips you may find helpful.

  • If you’re going to delegate a job, make sure you do just that! You have to give people a chance to do it their way and discover how to get things done. If you focus on the outcome you can let go of “it’s my way or the highway.”
  • Give clear instructions. Check the skill and competency requirements of the task at hand first, then explain in detail the outcomes you require. Get your staff to repeat back to you what they think a good job looks like. Make sure you’re on the same page right at the beginning.
  • Agree on a clear completion date and what your follow up process is going to look like. Agree on how you will re-direct if they are off task or heading in the wrong direction. Agree on check in or report back dates at halfway marks. It’s an opportunity to praise on progress or find mistakes early before completion date.
  • Give credit where credit is due.
  • Encourage responsibility and exercise your authority. Allow them to get on with the job.
  • Avoid reverse delegation. Sometimes they’ll try to give you back the job if it feels too hard or they’re not confident. Instead invest the time to teach new skills and confidence. In the long run, you’ll win with the freedom of true delegation.

Here are some actions you could delegate straight away.

Social media

There’s a good chance one of your staff members understands social media and branding. Get them to make regular posts on your salon’s Facebook page, and ask them to work with you to create a simple weekly plan to follow. On Monday you could post a link to your online booking so clients can book while you’re closed; or you could do things like “throwback Thursday” and “Friday night funnies.”

Stock count & stocktake

When your sales rep comes to take your order, let them do the stock count to your pre-agreed levels and budget. That’s one less job for you, and you can get back to seeing clients. Review your business and systems every quarter. Make a list of items you need, and get staff to add anything they run out of to the list. That’s one less thing for you to think about, and that’s a littleless stress on your shoulders.

Hire Right

Make a plan for who you’re hiring this year. Include interviewing, induction, and educating new staff into that plan. Some of your clients will be more than happy to see someone new.

Your people are what make your business. It’s that simple. You don’t necessarily need to hire the most qualified or experienced staff, but try to find the ones who will grow into your culture and take on the responsibility of client care, as well as fill any gaps that you want to delegate to them. Find the people who you would like to look after you if you were a client in your salon. Choose the people who will make your life easier, not harder. Listen to your gut instincts -they’re usually right.

I’m away, but in control

If you put the first three steps successfully into place then you can make the most of step four. How nice would it feel to be away, but still be in control? This may sounds like a cruel fantasy to you, but trust me, it’s possible. I do it every day at Timely!

The secret is to utilise the virtual world as much as possible, as this will literally allow you to be in two places at once. It’s vital for you to be truly free to do what you want, when you want it, while still managing your business. To do this, the internet is your new best friend. Stay connected to your business with these simple tips:

  • Work anywhere, Work anywhere in the world – through cloud computing you can use any device to access everything you need to be in control of your business.
  • Use Google Hangouts to hold meetings with your team from anywhere in the world. Live stream into the meeting at the salon, even when you’re in Fiji.
  • Google Docs allows you to share documents with team members, accountants or key stakeholders in your business. No double-up versions of documents or accounts.
  • Trello is a free, flexible, and visual way to organise anything for your self and as well as collaborating, delegating, and managing your team.
  • Google Drive lets you save all your documents securely in the cloud, and access them from anywhere.
  • Use Timely to manage your salon from anywhere in the world.

You really can work from the beach in Fiji while keeping tabs on your business, staff and income. The only limiting factor is yourself.

Guest author: Inspired by her own journey to find freedom & profit in her award winning salon, Larissa founded the Salon Owners Collective. She now inspires other salon owners to do the same through coaching, courses & modern marketing strategies. Check out Larissa’s site.