The One Thing!

For a long time in my own home I had the feeling that no matter how hard my wife and I worked we could just not keep our house clean. Even on days when the housekeeper had worked the house somehow still felt messy – and it drove me crazy!

Then, one day, I finally realized what it was – PAPER! There would always be piles of paper stacked in one or more places in the house. The piles of paper were made of anything from monthly bills to random shopping receipts, to forms that need to be filled in for some or other subscription service, and everything in-between.

At the heart of the problem lay the fact that I did not have a good system to deal with the amount of paper that we accumulated in our house. Now, you may ask why we would want to keep any paper at all, but because of the fact that we needed to keep records for tax returns and other financial reasons we couldn’t just recycle all of our records and try as you may you it is not always possible to get emailed versions of statements and invoices.

That being said I determined that I would deal with this issue once and for all. I promptly went out and spent a reasonable sum of money on three Buddi Draw systems and proceeded to label every draw into a relevant category. Every piece of paper was assigned a place and every new piece of paper that enters our house either goes straight into its relevant draw or to recycling if it is junkmail (which will be my next conquest).  I am proud to say that paper is a problem of the past for us and now when the house is cleaned it looks clean and stays clean longer, well that is until my two little boys wake up in the morning but that is another issue altogether – not sure if Buddi Drawers will work for that problem.

Now, as is often the case with my articles, you may be asking yourself what on earth this has to do with anything in your own salon? Let me say firstly that it has very little to do with keeping your salon clean (unless this is a particular problem for you). The point I’d like to highlight from my own personal example above is that the paper was the “one thing” that, if I focused on it and dealt with it effectively would be the key that unlocked bigger things for me. To put it another way, the key to keeping my house clean was not cleaning my house (which is a given) but rather the key was dealing with a core issue that was preventing me from cleaning and keeping my house clean. The house is easier to clean, the result is that the house looks cleaner and more importantly my paperwork is more organized and puts me in a better position to file tax returns and manage other parts of my household.

Your one thing

So the question to you is, “What is the one thing that you could focus on that will make the biggest difference in your own business?”

This is actually a tricky question because most of the time we are so focused on the outcomes that we wish to achieve that we do not look for the keys that will unlock the gate to those outcomes. That is why we may answer things like, retain clients, win new clients, get clients to visit more frequently and spend more money each time they visit. However, I would argue that these are the outcomes that we wish to achieve in much the same way that a clean house is the outcome I was trying to achieve. What we are looking for is, what is the single biggest factor that prevents us from achieving our desired outcomes, or put another way, what is the key to unlocking the gate to success in these areas?

Retain your staff

In the BBC television series “The Office” an outside consultant is hired to do staff training for the day. One of the questions in a training video they watch was who are the most important people in any business? David Brent (the boss) quickly answers “the staff”, when in actual fact that correct answer was the clients, leaving him exposed as the less than adequate boss he was.

Now, the reason for inserting the above extract is to highlight that clients are key to your business. Without them you have no business. However, in David Brent’s defence the staff members are the key to unlocking the potential that clients offer and in my article I would like to suggest that in most cases staff members are the one thing that you can focus on in order to unlock the gate to the results that you require.

If you think about it your staff members are involved in just about every part of your business that influence the outcomes that you desire. Therefore to focus on your staff members effectively should unlock results in most areas of your business. Don’t get me wrong, there are other “one things” that you could focus on but not many could argue that by focusing on your staff and building a superstar team you are going to open the gate with the most treasure behind it.

Hire the right staff

Look at your hiring criteria and ensure that you are hiring the right staff members for your business. Not only should they have the required abilities but they must fit in with the culture of your business. If they are not going to fit in to the culture of your business then either they will end up leaving or causing other staff to leave. Seek help in improving your hiring process so that you end up hiring people that will be most suitable to your business.

Keep the right staff

This is key. You need continuity with your staff. If staff are leaving every 3 to 6 months then it will impact your business negatively. Clients will feel it, other staff members will feel it and you will always be fighting an uphill battle in trying achieve the outcomes that you require.

Motivate your staff

You need to keep your staff on the move within your business so that they do not move outside your business. What I mean by this is that they need to feel they are progressing within your business. This will be the right combination of routine, status, reward, and lifestyle benefits. You are best positioned to work out the best balance of all of these in your own business. In return you must demand that staff members unlock the gates to the results that you require.


Staff members need to be educated about your desired results so that they can deliver them. This will include everything from your culture and business philosophy to the small details like re-booking a client or the process of selling retail.


Staff members need to be held accountable so that your progress can be measured and quality controlled.

Get rid of the wrong staff

The goal of all of the above is so that you do not lose good staff members, but there may be times when you need to let staff members go. It is best to do this sooner rather than later but it so that your business is not adversely affected by the wrong people. Always council your staff and give them the opportunity to improve or change but be clear on your requirements.


There many things in our businesses that need attention, however, we often don’t have the time and the resources to attend to each of these things. Therefore, we need to be smart about tackling all of the challenges we face in such a way that we get the best outcomes possible. At the heart of all our problems we will most often find our staff members. They may not be the problems themselves but they will be influencing the outcomes one way or another and by focusing in on staff members and investing in them in order to retain and grow them you stand a good chance of dealing with a number of other problems in your own business. Be clear about the outcomes you wish to achieve and then be very deliberate in focusing on your team so that they unlock these outcomes. Again, be clear on the outcomes you wish to achieve so that all your efforts on retaining staff have a clear purpose.