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3 Essential Calculators that Will Help You Do Cost Benefit Analysis for Reducing Energy

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a method applied to compare the cost of a project or appliance with its benefits. Small businesses need to save where they can and one place where companies may be able to lower what they spend is on their energy bills, according to Constellation, which provides solutions for homes and businesses.

By carrying out a cost benefit analysis on commercial appliances and features, businesses can have a greater understanding of their energy consumption, the effectiveness of energy saving efforts, and where further valuable savings can be made.

ENERGY STAR® provides interactive calculators designed to help small businesses estimate energy and cost savings for energy-efficient products.

Take a look at the following three essential calculators that can help you do a cost benefit analysis for reducing energy on several common commercial appliances.

Energy Cost Savings Calculator for Air-Cooled Electric Chillers

In a typical commercial building, chillers can be one of the biggest consumers of electricity. The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) has calculated that a 175-ton, air-cooled chiller meeting the mandated 10.05 energy efficiency ratio saves money if it costs no more than $5,690 above less efficient models.

ENERGY STAR® provides a cost calculator that small businesses can use as a screening tool, which estimates an air-cooled electric chiller’s lifetime energy cost savings at various efficiency levels.

This cost benefit analysis calculator for reducing energy of air-cooled electric chillers uses an energy efficiency ratio (EER). The EER is the ratio of net cooling capacity to the total input rate of electric power applied in watts.

The efficiencies expressed as an EER are converted into kilowatts per ton using the formula: kWton = 12/EER.

ENERGY STAR’s cost benefit analysis calculator for reducing energy of air-cooled electric chillers only provides data about the relative difference between two equivalent products, all other factors being equal.

When using this calculator, a small business must enter whether the project is a new installation or a replacement. The performance factors must also be entered, including whether the new design will be handling a full or partial load.

The calculator user must also enter the new chiller’s cooling capacity in tons, as well as what the full-load efficiency is of the new chiller in EER. The partial-load efficiency of the new chiller must also be entered in EER.

The cost factors must also be punched into the calculator, including the current cost of energy per kilowatt hour. The user also needs to enter the annual hours of operation in equivalent full-load hours.

When the data has been entered the calculator will determine the energy cost savings of the appliance.

Energy Cost Calculator for Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Lighting is an unavoidable energy cost for small businesses. By using an energy saving calculator, small businesses can see how much they could save in money and harmful emissions by switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs.

ENERGY STAR’s calculator for compact fluorescent lamps determines the payback period for your small business’s investment in more energy-efficient bulbs.

Small businesses must enter their existing incandescent lamp wattage, the costs of incandescent lamps in dollars and the incandescent lamp life in hours. You’ll also need to enter the projected wattage for your replacement lighting along with the expected cost of using them and their projected life (6,000 hours for moderate use and 10,000 hours for high use).

Further information required by the energy cost calculator for compact fluorescent lamps includes the number of lamps in the retrofit project, the hours operating per week, the average cost of electricity, the relamper labor costs, the time taken to retrofit all the lamps in the project and the time taken to relamp one lamp.

The calculator enables small businesses to figure the simple payback period for a lamp replacement project, as well as the simple payback period of spot relamping.

Savings Calculator for ENERGY STAR®-Qualified Office Equipment

The savings calculator for ENERGY STAR®-qualified office equipment was developed by the U.S. EPA and Department of Energy in order to estimate the energy consumption and operating costs of office equipment and the savings businesses can make with ENERGY STAR®.

The calculator compares new ENERGY STAR®-qualified products to the average available non-qualified new products. The average savings may vary depending on the use of office equipment and other factors.

Users of the calculator need to type in where their equipment will be used, including whether it is for commercial or residential use, the location, and the electric rate. The average commercial electric rate in the U.S. is $0.128/kWh, but if you know your own rate, you should enter it on the calculator.

Users of the calculator must enter what office equipment they are planning to purchase, as well as the quantities of the equipment. Performance levels of the devices should be stated, as well as the number of units turned off at night and the number of units with sleep settings and low power enabled. The additional cost per unit for ENERGY STAR®-qualified models must also be entered onto the calculator.

The energy efficiency of printers, VoIP Phone equipment, signage and multifunction devices can also be determined using the savings calculator for ENERGY STAR®-qualified office equipment.

The calculator then provides a results overview, informing small businesses of the approximate  savings they will see each year and over the life of the equipment. The calculator also informs users of the carbon dioxide emissions reduction annually by choosing ENERGY STAR® equipment.

To learn more about cost saving energy options for your small business, contact Constellation today.

Calculating Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "3 Essential Calculators that Will Help You Do Cost Benefit Analysis for Reducing Energy" was first published on Small Business Trends

Are You a Bully Boss? Here are the Signs

Bosses have a duty to incentivize and encourage workplace success by being a strong leader who has gained the respect of colleagues. By contrast, being a bullying boss creates an air of discontent and anguish, often leading to an underperforming workforce.

It is within every boss’s interest to be a leader others look up to instead of cowering away from.

Are you concerned that you may be a bully boss? If you are a bully boss, what damage could it be doing your business and how do you overcome your bullying ways?

Are You a Bully Boss?

Small Business Trends spoke to Tracey C. Jones, M.B.A., President of Tremendous Leadership, a professional development firm that advises Fortune 500s, government agencies and universities on issues of leadership, ethics and employment engagement.

Jones provided us with a number of workplace bullying pointers everyone in a position of leadership should consider.

You’re Giving Destructive Criticism Instead of Constructive Criticism

According to Jones, “The tough boss gives constructive criticism; the bullying boss gives destructive criticism. It all centers on the motives of your boss; are they there to intimidate or to inspire?”

A tough boss, says Jones, will insist employees work hard and give their best effort and submit high-quality work all the time.

By contrast, an abusive or bullying boss deliberately provides employees with false or misleading information, humiliates workers in public, calls them demeaning names, puts the blame on employees and treats them like servants.

Being treated in such a derogatory way naturally isn’t good for workplace morale or staff retention. Bosses should therefore work hard and channel their criticism to be constructive rather than destructive.

You Suffer From Insecurity as a Leader

“Much of bullying is rooted in insecurity,” says Jones.

Bosses should strive to become more secure in their leadership role and grow out of their juvenile behavior. Making the effort to be a more secure, stronger and less immature leader is good for business, as it will help avoid members of your staff from suffering and leaving the company.

Your Employees Are Leaving

Another telling sign your bullying exploits at work are having a negative impact on your business, is members of your staff are leaving.

This ‘dysfunction’ in the workplace, when employees have exhausted their chain of command, both internally and through HR, is a sign that a business is on a downward spiral.

“My personal experience is that these companies do eventually implode publicly or dissolve through a merger or acquisition,” says Jones.

It’s therefore up to the boss to start becoming more tolerant and less bullying or be faced with the challenge of team members quitting, which can soon result in a failing business.

You Are Contradicting Company Policy on Workplace Bullying

Some companies have policies in place regarding workplace bullying and what isn’t acceptable. If you are concerned that you are becoming an intimidating boss, make the effort to familiarize yourself with your firm’s workplace bullying policy.

Jones advises employees to become “fully versed on company policies regarding workplace bullying.” The same level of diligence can be shown by employers to ensure they don’t cross the line about what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable in terms of workplace bullying.

You Are Not Being a Role Model to Employees

According to Jones, “There is one thing the bully boss is good for; teaching you how not to behave when you step into the leadership role.”

Good bosses are effective role models. They teach others about the importance of effective leadership and how to achieve it. If your bullying antics are meaning you are not a good role model to your colleagues, it’s time to step back and evaluate your behavior.

Quality leadership role models get more respect and productivity from their workers. Those who intimidate and scare are left with a fragile set of workers, who will not be able to do their best work.

You Are Losing Respect

Earning respect is the cornerstone of effective leadership. Bosses who shout their orders and bully and intimidate will not earn the respect of their workforce.

If your harassing attitude towards your team is resulting in your employees no longer respecting you, it’s time to approach your relationship with your colleagues differently.

Finding a way to make workers respect you and your authority is vital in ensuring employees work to a high standard and contribute to the successful business.

Make greater effort to recognize workers are people too, and they must be shown respect from their managers in order to enhance their performance.

You Steal the Credit from Others

Stealing or taking credit for colleagues’ ideas, innovations and contributions without acknowledging them is another sign you are a boss practicing bullying at work.

Naturally, no employee wants to see someone else take credit for their hard work and good ideas, let alone their boss!

Make the effort to recognize and applaud the good ideas and vision of others, instead of stealing the credit in an attempt to enhance your own career.

You Are Deliberately Misleading Others

According to Jones, an abusive or bullying boss deliberately provides employees with false or misleading information.

Misleading others and concealing the truth is a sign of bullying antics and is not conducive with nurturing a happy, contented workforce.

Endeavor to tell the truth to your workforce and refrain from deliberately misleading others. This will create a happier, more honest working environment.

You Are Undermining Work

Deliberately undermining work and delaying an employee’s progress on a project is another tell-tale sign of leadership bullying. Instead of undermining, belittling and hampering work and progress, make the effort to show support.

A supportive boss will be rewarded with a workforce determined to do their best and help the company succeed.

Removing Workers’ Responsibilities

Taking away the responsibilities of others, or deliberately changing their role without any reason or cause is an ineffectual and bullying leadership strategy.

Give your workers the opportunity to work at their best and let their creativity thrive by encouraging greater responsibility instead of deliberately hindering it.

As Jones notes, “The tough boss will ‘break you down’ to build you up; the bully boss will ‘break you down’ to see you crumble. And nobody wants to work for a crummy boss.”

Don’t be that crummy, bullying boss. Be an effective leader that has gained the respect of your team and you’ll put your business in a much better position to be collectively driven to success.

Mean Boss Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Don’t Be a Bully Boss! 10 Signs It Could Be Happening to You" was first published on Small Business Trends

25 CRM Best Practices for Beginners

Customers are the most important part of any business. Given that customers are the single most important asset of a business, it’s important we look after them. Investing in a quality Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is essential for businesses wanting to improve customer relations.

Before developing any bad or counter-productive habits, what best practices should small businesses mind when starting out using a CRM platform?

CRM Best Practices

To shed some light on the subject, Small Business Trends caught up with CRM expert Brent Leary of CRM Essentials. CRM Essentials is a management consulting and advisory firm focused on assisting businesses develop and implement CRM strategies and processes.

Choose a CRM Vendor That Offers Support

No two businesses CRM needs are the same and it’s important that you pick a vendor which can provide you with the support you’ll need. As Brent Leary told Small Business Trends:

“Choose the vendor that provides the kind of support you’ll need, it can be as important as the functions the software has”.

Consider the Set-Up Time and Ease of Use of the CRM

If you’re a CRM beginner, the last thing you want is to be faced with a complex CRM system that takes hours to install. Instead, opt for a CMR that is easy to use and requires little installation or set-up time.

Does the CRM Have Unique Features?

What features does the CRM app you are considering have? Are they unique and worth considering? Always look at the unique features of the CRM before you commit to a particular app, to make it worth considering.

Do a Needs Analysis Up Front

According to Brent Leary, the easiest part of using CRM is buying it. Businesses should carry out a needs analysis prior to purchasing a CRM. As Leary says:

“The most important part is doing a needs analysis up front to really detail what problems you are trying to solve, what processes you need to implement, defining what success looks like and how it’s measured.”

Grow with the Program

Rather than simply opting for a CRM package because it is free or doesn’t cost much, ensure you select a program that your business is unlikely to outgrow and you can effective grow with it.

Read Reviews on Different CRM Systems

Carry out important research on potential CRMs by reading reviews and testimonials on the platforms before you commit to a particular product. The more information you have on the different CRMs, the more informed choice you will be able to make.

Ask if the CRM Assists with the Find, Catch and Keep Lifecycle?

Brent Leary also pointed out the importance of making sure everyone has what they need to help customers at every phase of the lifecycle. When implementing a CRM platform in your small business, Brent advises to consider the “Find, Catch and Keep”:

You should, according to Brent Leary, consider:

“Finding prospects, catching them and turning prospects into customers, and keeping customers for the long haul by providing great services and experiences.”

Consider the Provider’s Customer Service Models

Another good CRM practice that Leary notes is to look at the provider’s own customer service models. A CRM isn’t a one-time purchase, you will need to have an ongoing relationship with your provider and therefore want a provider which offers quality customer care.

Avoid Opting Merely for the Biggest Names in CRM

It might be tempting to opt for the biggest names in CRM due to their reputation and credibility. However, as Brent Leary cautions, each firms’ CRM requirements are different so avoid merely opting for the ‘biggest names’ other companies use and recommend.

Eradicate Pain Points

Another effective CRM practice is to use a CRM system to eradicate ‘pain points’, things that frustrate your customers. By addressing and fixing negative customer experiences, businesses can build much better relationships with their customers.

Make It Mobile

With more and more people using mobile devices to get online and conduct consumer tasks, it is important to implement a CRM that can be accessed across multiple devices, including tablets and smartphones.

Go Beyond Features

In his Buyer’s Guide on choosing the right CRM tool, Brent Leary says businesses should “go beyond the features” and look at other important aspects of CRM integrations, such as pricing flexibility and data storage.

Ask Who is Responsible for Data Security, Backup and Recovery?

Small businesses can be irreversibly crippled if they fall victim of a security breach. It is therefore vital you consider the security of a CRM system and which party involved is responsible for data security, backup and recovery.

Think About the Customization of Communications

Businesses deal with customers who are at every stage of the purchasing process. Consequently, it is important your CRM enables you to customize communication strategies for different customers.

Seek Personalization

This ties in with personalization. Sending customers personalized emails and other methods of communication based on accurate customer data can significantly increase click-through rates. It is therefore important that your CRM system can provide the personalization that modern consumers crave.

Check Policy for Regulatory and Compliance Requirements

Another best practice for CRMs mapped out in Brent Leary’s CRM Buyer’s Guide, is to make sure your CRM service provider’s data policies and contract guarantees are compliant in handling sensitive customer information.

Surface Insights to Make It Easier to Build Relationships

In an e-book by Introhive.com titled ‘Don’t Dump Your CRM’ in which Brent Leary participated in a survey for, the CRM expert spoke of the importance of ‘surface insights’ within a CRM system.

“Using a system that brings to your attention and surfaces an insight that is relevant to your customer today can help salespeople build a strong customer relationship,” advises Leary.

Ask if CRM Programs Can Be Automated?

Another CRM practice that could potentially save small business time, effort and money, is to have CRM program that is automated. Some CRMs enable automated communication with leads, providing salespeople with more time to focus on people who are ready to buy.

Ensure Customer Data is Up-To-Date and Reliable

Another best CRM practice that can often go overlooked is ensuring your customer data is up-to-date and reliable. A CRM platform is only as good as the information entered into it, so ensure all data put in the system is reliable and accurate.

Always Follow Up

Use a CRM that automates customer follow-ups to build on your relationships with customers. This will give you more time to focus on other elements of running your business.

Focus on Collaboration

Many CRM platforms comprise of features that allow teams to collaborate with one another. Having the ability to collaborate should be a leading priority when choosing an appropriate CRM for your business.

Consider Your Business Goals?

Always look at the broader picture. Will and how will your CRM help you achieve the goals you have in place for your small business?

Think About Response Times

In his Buyer’s Guide to choosing the right CRM, Brent Leary highlights the importance of response times within a customer service perspective.

“It’s imperative,” notes Leary, “that systems route customer issues to the right agent, automatically escalate the issue as needed and track service-level agreements to ensure compliance.”

Consider API Calls

Are you planning on integrating customer applications with a CRM product? If so, Leary advises that you make the effort to understand limits on API calls into the platform.

Look to the Future

Another key point highlighted in Brent Leary’s CRM Buyer’s Guide is for businesses to look to the future. Knowing the future direction of your company, says Leary will:

“Focus traditional technology areas as a core competency or perhaps focus more on developing and refining the business model as the core competency as well as leveraging the right technology pieces and partners.”

Did we miss any CRM best practices? If you have experience in successfully implement CRM platforms into your small business, we’d love to hear all about it.

CRM Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "25 CRM Best Practices for Beginners" was first published on Small Business Trends

Billion Dollar Fitness Mogul Shares 10 Tips for Building a Brand Around a Mission

Does your business have a mission, which goes above and beyond making money and profit? The savviest of companies use their mission to build their brand. They never falter in their unwavering commitment to develop their brand around their unique mission.

One highly reputable business magnate who has successfully built a brand around a mission, is Carl Daikeler, CEO and co-founder of Beachbody.

Daikeler and his co-founder Jon Congdon created Beachbody is 1998. Congdon is now President and Chief Marketing Officer of Beachbody and helps drive the company’s mission to help people achieve their goals and enjoy a healthy, fulfilling life.

The California-based company has gone on to be a leading resource of home fitness and nutrition tools, providing top weight-loss solutions, such as P9OX, Insanity and 21 Day Fix.

Through the Team Beachbody Coach Network, it is Daikeler’s aspiration to generate the largest community of peer support related to health and fitness in the world.

Beachbody’s approach to fitness and its mission to help people achieve their fitness goals, has meant it has attracted the support of millions of satisfied customers.

Building a Brand Around a Mission

Small Business Trends caught up with Daikeler, who provided 10 inspiring tips for building a brand around a mission.

Make It About the Results

According to Daikeler, it’s not about the brand, it’s about the results.

“I’ve often seen charities — which should be the MOST mission-driven organizations — be more about their brand than they are about the RESULTS of their efforts. Such a waste,” said Daikeler.

Beachbody is helping people get healthy and fit and its co-founder and CEO says the brand doesn’t matter unless people are getting better results with the company’s combination of fitness, nutrition and peer support than any other solution.

Align Staff and Management on the Mission

Daikeler also advises businesses building their brand around a mission to ensure staff and management are aligned to the mission. Though the successful fitness mogul warns it’s not always easy to do this:

“Keeping the finance and operations department aligned on the mission isn’t easy. They hear about the mission and think ‘Yeah, right. So about the profits.’  You need to make sure decisions are made that do not contradict the mission in every area of the business.”

Train Salespeople Not to Sell but to Solve Problems

Daikeler advises businesses to think in the longer term, about the relationship they are starting with the customer and stand behind what they promise. At Beachbody, the company aggressively trains people not to sell, but to help solve a problem.

“’I’m not here to convince you. I’m here to help you.’ Salesmanship cannot be about the numbers,” warns Daikeler.

Commit and Deliver on Your Promises

The Beachbody co-founder and CEO says when building a brand around a mission, businesses should commit and deliver on their promises.

“We promise to help people get healthier and lose weight in a specific period of time. If we don’t achieve the promise, we either give people their money back, or preferably find a way to better serve them on what we promised,” says Daikeler, advising other businesses to stick to their mission’s promises.

Know That It Will Be Hard

“Everything is hard and there’s always competition,” Daikeler says. But Beachbody knew creating solutions to get people results would force them to actually workout with intensity, and it would require them to admit “cheap nutritional supplements” are worthless.

Other businesses should know it will be hard but realize that quality matters.

“But it’s hard to sell the real thing in a sea of charlatans. It’s hard. But we handle it,” the health and fitness mogul commented.

Treat People with Respect and Be Courageously Forthright

Another point Daikeler shared in his tips on building a brand around a mission, is to always treat people with respect and be “courageously forthright.”

Daikeler cautions a mission to solve a problem plaguing society for so long — like weight loss — will come with pitfalls. There is no template for success, which is why the problem still exists.

Daikeler advises businesses to admit mistakes, treat customers with respect and make it right “100 percent of the time.”

Improve Everything

Daikeler also recommends businesses should keep improving and stay committed to serving the mission.

“As we peel back the layers of the onion, we see that there is no silver bullet. There’s always a next best thing,” says Daikeler.

Beachbody breaks successful business models — when necessary — to better serve the mission. That’s why, for example, the company created Beachbody On Demand, recognizing that DVDs are dead.

Observe What Works

According to Daikeler, other successful businesses leave clues on how to promote and influence with less mission-oriented initiatives. While the missions may be different, the strategies and tactics can be similar, and businesses should pay attention to everything, observing what works.

Work with Passion and Enthusiasm

“If your passion to live up to the promise of your mission doesn’t burn hot, you will drift when the going gets tough (And it will get tough. Guaranteed),” Daikeler warns.

Businesses should find a way to “keep their fire stoked.” In order to achieve this, Daikeler says he listens to customer success stories and hunts for Beachbody’s own weaknesses — a process he never stops!

Care

Finally, all businesses need to care, Daikeler advises.

“Our mission to help people achieve their health and fitness goals strikes a very sensitive nerve for many people. Throughout the company we make it a point, whether they are staff, management, vendors, reps, or customers, we care about their experience when it comes to our company,” Daikeler told Small Business Trends.

Other businesses should do the same, he says, as caring is all part of the mission.

If you have any experiences or success stories on building a brand around a mission, feel free to share them with us.

Image: Carl Daikeler

This article, "Billion Dollar Fitness Mogul Shares 10 Tips for Building a Brand Around a Mission" was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Reduce Employee Turnover

The salon industry is well known for its poor staff retention and high employee turnover. Salon owners are met with the challenge of how to improve retention rates amongst salon workers.

Effective leadership and business practices can help turn a small business into a profitable venture, including salons.

Small Business Trends caught up with Kay Hirai, founder of the award-winning salon, Studio 904 Hair Design, which has been operating for 40 years.

Hirai is also author of Sheer Determination: Swimming Upstream in a Downstream World, about here experiences as a pioneering entrepreneur in the Pacific Northwest.

How to Reduce Employee Turnover

Hirai shared the following tips about how to reduce employee turnover in her industry. Perhaps it could help in your business too.

Establish Your Vision, Mission, and Core Philosophies

According to Hirai, these philosophies are the underpinnings of your business. They spell out the grand vision for where you want to take your business, how you are going to take it there, and what you will do to stay continually focused on your core values and belief systems.

“If you value the people who work for you, you must clearly spell it out to them,” Hirai said.

Transparency, Hirai added, is key if you want your employees totally on board with you to accomplish your business goals. The more transparent you are in explaining the inner workings of your company, the more employees feel like they are a part of the business.

“I try to be a positive role model by setting good examples and asking employees for their input on matters that affect the salon,” Hirai told Small Business Trends.

One of the things the successful salon owner does to be a positive role model for her employees is to make sure she pays for the stamps when she sends out personal mail from her business.

“It would be very easy to rationalize and say to myself, “I can take these stamps; they are only few cents,” Hirai said.

Hirai said it is important to show others that it does not matter how small the amount is, each one of us has to be honest and not take anything from the business.

The salon business owner and author also holds a staff meeting every three months to update staff on how well the salon is doing in terms of its finances.

“After I am done, I ask for their help in improving various parts of our business, whether it is customer service, client retention, or new client marketing programs,” said Hirai.

Set Clear Cut Career Paths

According to Hirai, it is absolutely critical that management walks side-by-side with their employees, offers regular evaluations, and shows them a career path for personal and professional growth.

“Every employee reports to work on their first day with aspirations of doing well and developing new skills on the job. Along the way, though, something always happens; their dreams suddenly diminish and they lose their way,” she said.

It is therefore vital, management offers feedback and guidance to personal and professional development.

Train Them Right

Hirai cannot underestimate the importance of the right training.

For her business, a successful hair stylist must possess a variety of skills in cutting, styling and coloring, problem-solving, consultation, team work, and more.

Hirai recommends small business owners refer to books on  “Kaizen”, a Japanese business philosophy that focuses on applying small, daily changes that result in major improvements over time.

“Our stylists go through a self-directed, skill-certification process to show that they are able to meet certain standards for all of the services offered in the salon. Matching new employees with a senior-level mentor helps to ease the stress level when they first start out. It makes them more comfortable when they can ask questions, voice concerns, or work alongside a supportive person while they are becoming acclimated in a new environment,” she said.

Uncover Their Gifts and Empower Them

Everyone has unique gifts to offer in the workplace. The successful salon owner says fellow owners of typical ‘revolving door’ industries should develop a discerning eye to uncover those gifts.

“Sometimes they are buried deep down inside. Most persons won’t even know what they are because no one has ever taken the energy or the time to bring them to the surface,” says Hirai.

Hirai gives a specific example of an incident of empowering employees through their ‘gifts’.

Hirai spoke of Debbie, a young woman with a shy personality, who was hired to run the salon’s front reception desk.

Early on, Debbie was having a difficult time connecting with the salon customers. Everyone wondered if she would be successful in her job. One day, Hirai was struggling to make a sales video for the salon. Debbie saw that Hirai was having a difficult time and stepped in to show her an easier way to record the video.

Hirai said she was quite surprised and asked her:

“Debbie, how did you learn what you just showed me?” She replied, “Oh, I learned that by working on social media. Technology apps are a lot of fun and all of this comes really easy to me.”

After hearing this, Hirai re-assigned Debbie to work with her for two days during the week instead of working full-time at the front desk.

“Now that she assists with the salon’s social media marketing, she appears to be more confident in all areas of her responsibilities at work,” says Hirai.

Put Your Employees’ Welfare Before Your Customers

Another top tip from the leading salon expert and author is to always put your employees’ welfare before your customers.

“Before you can have happy customers, you must have happy EMPLOYEES!” advises Hirai.

“I work hard to get to know each employee’s lifestyle as well as their wants and needs. Knowing that, I try to establish a work schedule and career ladder that will keep them living a fulfilling and happy life. I especially pay close attention to the needs of single mothers who are raising children.?To accommodate their complex, time schedule requirements, I work with each one to figure out a flexible schedule that will take care of their children’s needs,” Hirai explained.

This effort requires a lot of negotiation but something can usually be worked out to address both their personal needs and the needs of the business.

Studio 904 Hair Design is a prime example of what a small business can do to support its working women, so much so that the United States Women’s Bureau recently featured an article that illustrated how the salon supports working women.

Focus on Successful Entries and Kind Departures

According to Hirai, the two most important parts to developing a successful employee relationship are the initial interviewing session and the departing exit interview.

Hirai advises small business owners to conduct a ‘thorough and thoughtful interview process’, stating:

“The initial interview sessions are the most important part in the longevity cycle of employees in your business.”

She provides a quick checklist her team and herself fill out for each job applicant who enters our office:

First Impression Checklist:

  • Arrived early or on time
  • Friendly, with a smile on her/his face
  • Dress style is appropriate to our business
  • Hair and make-up (if applicable) is well-groomed and up-to-date
  • Body language is confident and inviting

If tthe applicant receives a favorable score, Hirai then conducts a more thorough interview to unveil other traits and skills they are looking for in a new hire.

Recycle Your Departing Employees

As Hirai writes in her book, ‘Sheer Determination’:

“Goodbyes are hard, but recognize that the only certainty in life is change. Everyone is traveling through life on their own journey. It is only when two roads meet and align that two people actually walk the road together. That road will inevitably part at some point in time when each person chooses a different direction toward their next destination. It will save you a lot of heartache if you accept the fact that no one will stay with you forever…”

The important thing the author wants to emphasize is that employers should never allow employees to depart on unfriendly terms.

“Burnt bridges can never be rebuilt; instead, leave the bridge intact, allowing people to cross it at another point in their lives if it is needed,” advises Hirai.

The salon owner told of a true story about what happened to her just a week ago.

Hirai received a call from Ami, a young woman who had previously worked for her. Ami was responding to a classified want-ad that Hirai had placed on a job posting site.

“I was surprised to find out that she was the same Ami that I had hired and trained eight years ago, using the same skill certification system that I mentioned above,” said Hirai.

Ami said she had opened her own business and went through several hardships after she left Hirai’s salon. She asked if Hirai would be willing to hire her back and Hirai replied that she would.

“Ami is a much-improved employee now that she has had a chance to mature and appreciate the opportunity that she has been given this second time around,” said Hirai.

The moral of the story: look after your employees, no matter what business you run, and they will look after you.

Salon Chairs Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Salon Expert Shares Tips to Prevent Turnover in a Revolving Door Industry" was first published on Small Business Trends