Peter Wells, owner of AliBarbers in Wanaka, knows why being a successful business depends on building a team.
My team has made me the barber I am today. I could not do the things I do without having a good team, and my business wouldn’t be as successful without them. As your business grows, you get busier. Eventually, you may have to face the fact that you need an extra pair of hands. Let’s say you’re working 24/7 in your barbershop. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but it sure can feel like it. You’re probably working six days a week without help. You’re opening early and staying late to get the last client through because that’s what you do when you’re self-employed. Sure, the money can be good and your costs might be minimal, but you have no time for you. Your one day off is filled with paperwork or doing things around the house. Any spare time is written off because you got “on it” the night before to unwind from your hectic week.
We know “Once you hang your tool belt for the day, no more money is coming in”
But one day off a week isn’t enough, and when you take a holiday finally, you have to close up the shop! The bills will keep coming in and it's possible you will lose clients for not being open. Even if you don’t lose them, you are giving them the choice to go elsewhere, which wouldn’t happen if you had someone else to staff your barbershop.
You need to find someone reliable, hard-working, and who you trust to hold the fort. For your business to continue to grow, it needs to be able to operate without you present all the time I know what you’re thinking – they don’t exist. But they do! They are the early version of you. The ‘you’ when you were training, when you were working for someone else, before you embarked out on your own. And I know what you’re going to say: “not everyone is like me”, and you’re right, finding the right staff is not easy. It is daunting at times. Remember every new employee is a chance to improve your process and rectify any issues you may have previously come across. The good ones outweigh the bad, and when you do find the right person or people, they make up for all the hard work.
But it doesn’t stop there. Even when you do find your team, you then have to relinquish control. It's hard to let go of control when you’ve spent so much time and hard work building your business. For your business to continue to grow, it needs to be able to operate without you present all the time. That way you can spend time building the business, which can only happen with the support of a good team who share your vision.
Remember, you’re not alone: help is out there. When you decide to take that step, there is information available from various sources. The Department of Labour is a good place to start – you can find them here: www.dol.govt.nz.
The HITO Forma magazine is also a valuable resource. There’s plenty of advice for salon owners and business consultants in every issue, and they’ve all got different ways you can grow your business and your team. I now have a great team. They build the business with me, and I could not do what I do, or be where I am without them. They give me the chance to have time off as well as spend time working on the business. I now have the opportunity to go on holiday with my family without having to close the shop. I also get to attend meetings and workshops to further my career in barbering.
So thank you to my team, and good luck in finding yours.
"For your business to continue to grow, it needs to be able to operate without you present all the time"
First published in Forma magazine, issue 19. www.hito.org.nz