Q&A With Malcolm Gibbons – Salon Business Coach

1. Can you please explain what a Business Coach is and why is it important for every business to have one? 

Running a business is hard work. And with anything that is hard work, it is always nice to have someone on your side helping you along the way.

No matter what stage your business is at, a business coach can help. They can make you work smarter, be more accountable, progress faster than you would on your own. 

How long have you been spinning your wheels in your business? I know from where I speak, because I’ve been there!

Most Salon owners hire coaches for pretty much the same reasons: to receive advice and short cuts to success. This means that a coach can give you the tools and the tricks that they’ve tried, used and succeeded with to help you achieve your goals faster.

Along with helping you define your goals they also provide an outside perspective. They can be a sounding board for your ideas and help you compare and decide which ideas to use. Business coaches have the talent to help you create change in your business, help you get out of your comfort zone and overcome sticking points and overall help you grow your business.

It’s also nice to have a confidant that you can trust in to share those horrible (and good) times that you just need to offload with – and a coach is a good person for that as they can understand and help you gain perspective around things.

2. What is the advantage of a Business Coach specialising in the hair & beauty industry?

Quite simply they understand the industry, the vagaries and specific challenges the industry experiences, although general business coaching can help, I find many of my clients appreciate the 30 odd years of experience I have of the industry and the insight that that brings to their salons.

You’ll also have a business best friend. You will get the attention you need from someone who has learned the business inside out. There aren’t many times where you have the pure focus of a person experienced in your industry for an hour or so talking about your business and giving you a finite number of steps to take to take your business to the next level.

3. What benefits can a salon expect to get back after engaging a Business Coach?

I guess that depends on what goals the salon has for hiring a Business Coach, some people want to free up more time, or establish a high performing team, most want to earn more profit and as mentioned above, to receive advice and short cuts to success. In general a more profitable, stable and controlled business is the result of working with a Coach. Other benefits include increased free time, less stress and a better valued business to sell. Many of my clients are ambitious and have or are wanting to expand, which they have done with the assistance of coaching, it’s helped them define their goals, develop a plan and then provided the accountability and focus to help them stay on track and realise their goal. Most say without that assistance they wouldn’t have reached their goal either as quickly or potentially not at all. A good coach can help you sort the wood from the trees.

You will see increased productivity. Professional coaching will maximize your potential and therefore unlock a source of productivity you may have not known was inside you.

4. What is the main point of difference that you offer that sets SBC apart from other salon advisors?

One to one personal meetings, the ability to be agile and not stuck in a predetermined program. Salon life is dynamic and changes daily, so not being constrained by a particular section in a program is a huge advantage, although we do operate through a series of strategies built on years of industry experience for those who need that type of structure too.  We have a range of options for salons to choose from, depending on need. Live events are another very popular aspect that we offer, from 2 hour seminars, regular networking and planning events to our offshore retreats, in the past we have been to Fiji with a group of motivated salon owners and managers to immerse ourselves in everything salon and to have some fun too.

Another massive benefit is the ability to provide an accountability factor to make sure you get the right stuff done and not just wish your way to success.

I guess we should mention the intrinsic industry knowledge we have gained with over 30 years’ experience to tap into is a huge advantage for salon Business coach clients. 

5. Aside from ‘one to one’ mentoring with the business owner what other options can you offer salons?

Along with the aforementioned planning sessions we also have an online (self-directed) series of 6 video lessons called Salon Success, which is available from my website and is a rich source of advice for any salon owner. 

6. With a trend to online webinars and videos, why is ‘one on one’ mentoring simply more effective?

One word, accountability, there is definitely a place for online programs, as I said we at SBC have had one of these for a few years now, and they work for some people… the issue as I see it is, that although online products contain an enormous amount of information, you need to be extremely disciplined to implement the learnings and complete the modules on your own, and with life in the salon and in general being in many cases chaotically busy for people therein lies the challenge, we all have the cases of “when I get around to it“ and we never do, so having a coach that keeps you accountable is a huge bonus as you will definitely get more momentum and ‘stuff’ done because of them. Also it’s great to have someone who understands our industry to bounce ideas and musings with, there’s nothing better than coming out of a meeting with a definite idea of the next steps and a plan on how to achieve them. Also when you are sitting eyeball to eyeball with your coach, you are in the now, you can’t hide behind your reasons (excuses!) you can’t put things off till tomorrow and you get to tap into their knowledge and advice immediately, and there is a huge amount of value in that.

7. Please share with us some successful salon business stories that you have experienced as a coach?

Gee there are many success stories, I want to think a lot of the time this question is asked there is a tendency to focus on the money aspect of success – of which my clients experience anything from 20 to over 400% growth in, Like Elaine: “Excited to report a 400% Increase in revenue over the last 12 months – Taking the risk of employing staff even when there were no guaranteed clientele and believing the clients will follow – Trust the universe and promote!” There are many of these successes.

It’s also important to acknowledge the other non-monetary aspects too, like the clients who now have a much more balanced business allowing them the time to spend doing other things and quality time with family, another success not always acknowledged is that most of my clients are way more consistent in their businesses, some clients when I first meet them are, what I describe as, like a cork in a spa pool, being bounced around from bubble to bubble going in no particular direction, so it’s chaotic, now there is a sense of calm and control in their business that is way easier to live with. 

A client in Australia who was a one woman band in a salon with no shampoo basin… who initially just wanted help getting big enough to afford to put one in, now 2 years later has moved premises, employs seven staff and is one of the busiest salons in her area. She achieved this through our coaching, helping her define her goals, establish the plan and then keeping her accountable to do what she needed to do to achieve it.

8. What would be one last piece of advice you’d give our readers?

The biggest pro of having a coach is that you always have someone in your corner, to build you up and help you achieve your goals.

Hiring a coach will see your networking opportunities grow. The more you are involved with like-minded people, the more you will learn and be successful. As an entrepreneur I have been introduced to more people than I ever thought possible, and the best part of it is I have a whole group of new friends who are there just to encourage me and give me new ideas.

Finally, don’t look at a business coach as an expense, a coach is an investment. The best benefit is that a business coach will help you make more money because every good coach has a process. With your coach, you can find your strategy, hone it, and start making profit almost immediately. And if you’ve been thinking about hiring a coach, stop thinking and start doing… it’s an investment in your future profits. 

Malcolm helps salon owners go from chaos to control, average to exceptional and technician to business owner. Click here to contact him for an inspirational chat to see if he’s a right fit for you and your business.


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