October 2009

Shannon Wells

Better Business | by Neil Ducoff


Let Go and Grow Your Business

A Message to Salon Owners Who Can’t Let Go

You’ve done a great job growing your salon. You conceived it, nurtured it, and added your blood, sweat and tears. Your creative fingerprint is evident throughout the company. As is often true for many founders, your salon embodies so much of who you are as a person. As the years click by and the salon matures, the founder constantly needs to evaluate his or her role within the business. For unless your goal is to remain a one-person shop, letting go is an important part of your salon’s growth process.

Founders thrive on being in the thick of the action, making decisions and leading the charge. For many, letting go translates into a separation from some of those activities and accountabilities that give their entrepreneurial lives meaning and fulfillment. For others, giving up control of more mundane tasks is difficult. The point is that for your company to succeed — and for you to continue to grow as a person — you must learn how and when to let go. Otherwise, your business stagnates, and so do you.

To help with the process, consider these five factors:

  1. There can be tension between employees and founders. Founders who can’t let go hinder the growth of their teams by denying them the opportunity to make decisions and be accountable for growing the company. Yes, founders often create roadblocks to greater success.
  2. Succession planning is an essential piece of the life cycle of a company. Founders who can’t let go jeopardize the survival of their companies, because successors are not groomed. You buy life insurance to protect your family. Utilize succession planning to protect your company.
  3. The selling price of a company is influenced by the role of the founder. When the role of the founder is so tightly woven into company operations, it can be difficult to tell where the founder ends and the company begins. It can complicate an acquisition by forcing the buyer to retain the founder in a key role. And for a founder who just wants to get out, he or she gets stuck in the company, because the selling price includes a commitment to stay on.
  4. Letting go of the controls gives a founder the freedom to use strengths and talents. What more could a founder ask for than to have a successful company that allows her to do what she does best? Innovate, sell, negotiate, train, schmooze with customers or work on that special project — it’s the freedom to express oneself in the most positive ways without the daily operational pressures causing a hindrance.
  5. Letting go begins the day you hire your first employee. The process continues every day that you are involved with your company.

Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the salon and spa industry. He’s author of Fast Forward, and a new book, No-Compromise Leadership, published by DC Press and is available at www.amazon.com. For more information go to www.strategies.com. You can email Neil at neil@strategies.com.