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Overcoming Chaos In Your Business

Insightful takeaways from our interview with Angela Smith DSI, An Operational Efficiency Expert

A particular shot or way of moving the ball can be a player's personal signature, but efficiency of performance is what wins the game for the team. -- Pat Riley, NBA Coach/Player/All Around Badass

YN is growing. With a little hindsight and a bright vision of our future, we can now see the errors of how we did things before and how those things just doesn’t work for us now. Over more than twenty years, YN made reactive business decisions without any true organizational compass. Today as we continue to expand and raise the bar in our customer service goals; we’ve decided to open ourselves up to some honest feedback, revisit our fails and develop a new way to evolve for the better. A successful business must know how to keep everything finely tuned and in balance. We hired DSI to help us get our sh*t together as a business behind the scenes. Here are some essential tools from Angela Smith of DSI for clearing a path to increased efficiency and organization.

HABIB: CAN ORGANIZATION AND EFFICIENCY BE THE DIRECT CAUSE OF WHETHER A BUSINESS SUCCEEDS OR FAILS?

ANGELA: Some companies can be successful in spite of themselves. The ones that are going to survive in this new environment of business must focus on operational excellence. You might be the best at what you do but be careful. If you don’t have all your stuff in line, are not focused on your numbers or your process, don’t be surprised when you get passed by. It will happen.

HABIB: THE SALON CAN BE SUPER CHAOTIC PLACE WITH MANY THINGS TO MANAGE ALL AT THE SAME TIME; THINGS LIKE CLIENTELE, FINANCES, NOT TO MENTION INVENTORY. IT’S OVERWHELMING. WHAT IS AN EASY FIRST STEP FOR A NAIL PRO TAKE TO REALLY GET THEIR EFFICIENCY AND ORGANIZATION IN ORDER?

ANGELA: The very first thing you have to do is identify what your real problems are. Make a list. What’s causing the most distraction for you in your world? What is it that keeps you from being able to focus on the basics? For example it could be:
I have to leave my station because I don’t have the stuff I need where I am. Or it could be, I am constantly running out of inventory and having to adjust the services for my client because I don’t have the right product. It’s a problem and one that you have to hide. You are having to make unexpected substitutions. Are you doing that on a regular basis how is it affecting your quality of work? What is keeping you from focusing on what I need to do when I am supposed to be focusing on my client. What is preventing you from having all your ducks in a row?

HABIB: EXACTLY! MAKE A LIST OF YOUR PAIN POINTS? IDENTIFY AND WRITE THEM DOWN. THAT’S THE FIRST THING WE DID WITH YOU. BELIEVE IT OR NOT THIS IS ACTUALLY THE EASY PART. THE HARD PART IS BEING REALLY HONEST AND OBJECTIVE WITH YOURSELF. RIGHT?

ANGELA: You have surround yourself with people that can be honest with you and also provide great feedback. Some people might not even aware of their true situation. There is no way to know what you don’t know. So one way around that is to be able to receive positive and negative feedback. If you are not open to feedback; it will shut you down. The YN team always wants to know what it’s doing wrong and that’s critical.

HABIB: HONESTY IS ONE THING. EXECUTION IS ANOTHER. MY GOAL IS KEEP GETTING BETTER AT OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE. IT IS ONE SIMPLE GOAL YET THERE IS A LAUNDRY LIST OF THINGS THAT NEED TO BE PUT IN PLACE BEFORE YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH IT. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PEOPLE FEEL WHO FEEL LIKE THEY JUST DON’T HAVE TIME? WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T TAKE THE TIME TO LINE IT ALL UP?

ANGELA: I’d say, you do not have the time not to. Look at the long list. If you could only do one thing on the list, can you identify what is the biggest bang for the buck? This is called prioritization. You must identify, in order, the steps you need to take to get it done. Something with highest priority just can’t get done unless you do the handful of other things first. Find a moment when you do your best thinking. Keep a notebook nearby. I do my clearest thinking first thing in the morning. I write down what I need to prioritize. Visualize for yourself, how am i going to execute my plan? Who do I need to include to help me? Do I need to bring in outside help? If you own a business, you might need an accountant or someone to help with inventory. There are low cost options. You are surrounded by people with different skills. Come up with a target date for your achievable goals. Give yourself an incentive for each milestone. One of the best things you can do is find an accountability partner. This is someone invested in you as a person and who you can check in with once a week to see where you are at in achieving these goals.

HABIB: PRIORITIZATION IS THE STEP THAT MINIMIZES BEING OVERWHELMED, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE A LONG TO-DO-LIST. I’M A PERSON WHO FEEDS ON CHAOS; FOR MARKETING THAT IS GOOD. IT DOES NOT BELONG ON THE BACK END OF THE BUSINESS. THIS IS WHERE WE NEED STABILITY THE MOST. SO IF I FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME, IT MAKES IT ALL MANAGEABLE. THINK OF IT AS A STEP BY STEP PROCESS. KNOCK DOWN ONE STEP EACH DAY UNTIL YOU HIT COMPLETION. THEN YOU CAN MOVE ON TO STEP TWO. WHAT’S ANOTHER GOOD WAY TO START CROSSING THINGS OFF THE LIST?

ANGELA: Surround yourself with other successful business people. They can offer you feedback and you can model your business on what is already working for them. Find someone who has their own successful business; some who’s really good at it. Talk with them. Ask if you can share with them what’s on your list. It’s helpful because they can offer you a new perspective and they can help you prioritize.

HABIB: FROM ALL THE BUSINESSES YOU’VE WORKED, ESPECIALLY THE ONES THAT STARTED OUT IN COMPLETE CHAOS, HOW WOULD YOU SAY YOU’VE HELPED THEM DIAL THINGS IN? WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF MAKING THESE IMPORTANT CHANGES? WHAT DOES THAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE?

ANGELA: People think that when you hire an efficiency expert or when a process optimization expert comes in, the first change is going to be a loss in headcount or jobs. That couldn’t be more untrue; 99% of the people we work with are on such a fast track and upward trajectory. Optimizing efficiency means that they’re now able to get 3xs as much work done and/or product out the door. Watching the quality of productivity with the same amount of people is incredible. It can only happen when the process is really honed in and revolutionized. It gives the existing team and the business organization as a whole the ability to grow in sustainable ways. If you don’t put these better business processes in, you won’t be able to grow. Customer satisfaction will be low and you will fail. When the customer starts to get dissatisfied they won’t continue to come back to you. You’re just a commodity to them.

HABIB: CIRCLING BACK TO NAILS. WE OFTEN PROMOTE THE FRONT END MARKETING SIDE OF THINGS. WE PREACH ABOUT BUILDING DEMAND. WHAT HAPPENS TO AN INCREDIBLY TALENTED NAIL TECH WHO IS NOT ORGANIZED ON THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THINGS WITH INVENTORY OR PRODUCTS? THIS NAIL PRO HAS A TENDENCY FOR BEING FRAZZLED, LATE, DISORIENTED AND INCONSISTENT WITH THEIR QUALITY OF WORK. HOW CAN THEIR SALON BUSINESS GROW TO MOVE BEYOND LET’S SAY A 20 CLIENT PER WEEK WORKLOAD? COULD THERE BE MORE CLIENTELE IF THE ENTIRE OPERATION WAS LESS CHAOTIC?

ANGELA: I always ask the question: What’s going to keep your clients coming back? The answer is good customer service. It goes beyond being nice. If your stressed out; I will be able to sense that. I don’t want you working on my nails. Your energy will transfer onto your client. If you’re frazzled, no one is going to want to be around that no matter how good you are. People get their nails done primarily for the experience. When I go to the salon, I want to relax and enjoy myself. I want to be with someone who cares about me. Keep that in mind. If you don’t offer that experience to your clients; they are going to go find it somewhere else.

**This is an adaption from our YN Biz Talk playlist on YouTube, “Overcoming Chaos In Your Business”.

Follow our YN YouTube Channel and click here to watch the full discussion here: