Lessons Every Barbershop Manager Needs to Know
Being a barbershop manager isn’t for the faint-hearted.
We’re not even starting off this blog with a cute little intro, we’re literally going to sit here, sympathize, and tell you something important—if you’re a barbershop owner or manager, we know what you’re growing through. Managing an entire shop, whether it’s a 2-person place or a mega-shop, is (without a single doubt) a challenging job.
As the manager, you more than likely have to do a little bit of everything. Maybe you’re left to balance the chaos, manage the crazy, attract new clients, and keep the old ones. You probably have to deal with employee drama, step up and cut when the going gets tough, and maybe even handle things that are totally out of your normal wheelhouse (like finances or payroll or social media management).
We can’t sit here and tell you that we know how to make the job of barbershop manager easier—that’s a promise we just couldn’t keep. But we can sit here and tell you how to make the job just a little bit less chaotic.
Interested? We thought you might be.
Keep reading to study up on a few very general but very helpful tips for becoming the barbershop manager you’ve always wanted to be.
Top 5 Lessons Every Barber Shop Manager Needs to Know
As promised, we’ve laid out the top 5 lessons we believe every barbershop manager should know. Spoiler alert, this isn’t some secret recipe for being the perfect manager—if we wanted to lay out everything you could ever possibly know about being the best barbershop manager, we’d need to write a book for you (hey, there’s a thought). But, we do think these five, general management tips can help.
Customers Have to Come First
So often, barbershops run under the assumption that they’re running a business based on their craft—and while, in some ways, that’s true, it’s vital to recognize that as a barbershop, you’re offering a service. At your very, very core, you’re running a customer service business.
Ask yourself one question—what’s at the heart of your business? Is it your skill? Your aesthetic? It’s your customers, and without them, you wouldn’t have a shop to provide a service. Treating your customers well, acknowledging that you’re there to solve problems (not create them), and guiding your staff toward that exact mindset is going to be hugely beneficial for your business.
So, in a way, we agree with that whole the customer is always right thing (though we like to abide more by the whole the customer is usually right thing). Details matter, your service matters. Offering next-level customer service is a game-changer in your barbershop, and as the manager, it’s your job to ensure that’s what’s happening.
More than that, you have to be willing to engage with your customers, too. It’s not just about drawing a customer in—it’s about keeping them there, too. From the moment someone walks into your shop until the second they leave, you’ve got a huge opportunity to connect with them.
Appeal to them on as many levels as possible—bond with them, treat them right, provide a flawless service, humanize your business. You’re providing a non-stop, round-the-clock service, which means that every moment a customer spends in your barbershop should be positive, engaging, and welcoming—not just the few minutes they’re sitting in a chair.
But Treating Your Employees Fairly is a Close Second
You can’t expect to run the dream barbershop without a dream barbershop team—and you can’t expect to create or keep a dream team if you’re not treating them right. As a manager, it’s your job to ensure that your team is stocked with the best-of-the-best, but it’s also your job to ensure you’re treating them that way, too. No, we don’t think your staff should run you—you’re still the boss. But there’s a huge difference between being a benevolent leader and a pushover.
Hire right the first time (and be willing to let someone go when they don’t fit). Ensure that your staff’s goals align with yours, that you’re all on the same page, and that you’re all working toward the same thing. Train them well and continue that training far past their first few weeks—the more you can teach them, the better.
Be fair, be honest, and be kind, but be an authority figure they can look up to, too.
Be a Leader
We don’t mean be a stereotypical, sitcom boss that nobody likes—you don’t need to put people in their places or be a huge jerk. You just need to lead with confidence and charisma. Be strong but be honest. Be wise but admit your flaws (and hire for them as soon as you can). Be brave and willing to fight for your team but be ready to listen and offer healthy critique, too.
At the end of the day, ensuring that you’re a strong, respected manager who also can listen, communicate well, and resolve conflict effectively is going to have a huge influence on how you manage your shop (and it’ll reflect in your staff and your reputation, too).
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Cuts
No pun intended, guys. As an owner or a manager, you can’t be afraid to clip away the weak links, the wasted expenses, the products or the services that don’t benefit your business whatsoever. Change is scary, but as the manager, you’re the fearless leader—you’ve got to be the one to take the reigns and make the tough calls.
Wasted expenses? Get rid of them. A bad seed amongst a stellar staff? Say goodbye. A service that just isn’t worth the resources? Knock it off your offerings.
It sucks sometimes, but that’s what you’re there for, and doing so without hesitation or without doubt is what’s going to make all the management difference in the world.
Delegating Isn’t a Dirty Word
Being the manager or the boss of your barbershop doesn’t mean the entire world needs to fall on your shoulders. Sure, you’re in charge, but as the manager, you have the expertise to know how to delegate. Being a good leader and a good boss doesn’t mean that you tackle everything on your own, it means training and trusting your employees to handle the tough stuff.
Delegating tasks efficiently among your barbershop staff is one of the easiest, quickest ways to ensure that no one employee (yourself included) is getting overrun with duties. A well-balanced shop is typically one that has its tasks and duties allocated appropriately—not all in the hands of a single person.
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