Running A Bridal Hair And Makeup Team: Is It The Next Logical Step For Your Business?
Why do you want to expand and grow a team? I want to do this mindset exercise with you. Because this is really going to be the biggest factor in determining whether this is right for your business. The answer to the question of “why” will determine whether or not you are ready to take that leap. It is way more than just hiring a bunch of artists. And if your answer is something like, “well I'm just tired of turning away business.” Girl, that ain't good enough! Trust me, as somebody who over a decade ago ran a team of seven artists. I had a business partner. We covered a full tri-state area. Like it is so much more than just being tired of turning away business. It's amazing that so many people want to work with you. You know what that tells me though? Right now you're not charging enough. If so many people are booking you, and you have to constantly be turning away so many, you are not charging enough.
There should be a sweet spot between people who love your work and being willing to pay for it. Your customers have to see the value in what you do. If you're undercharging, then they're just loving your work and they're filling up your books and you're getting to the point where you're not making enough money. So then you're like, well how can I make more money? I must have to build a team. But really it's just because you're not charging enough right at the outset. So there should be that balance, that fine line, between being booked and being overbooked and needing to duplicate yourself. Try just raising your prices first, and being more exclusive on who you work with. It'll do so much more for building your business, building your brand, and filling your bank account. It will increase your overall work-life balance. If you’ve done that and still feel like you’re just turning away too many, and you really just want to build a team, then you're ready to build a team. If it’s just about wanting or needing the money, a team is not going to be the answer to that.
When you do hire a team, the business culture and mission must support the needs of the entire group or people will leave you. If you are somebody right now that is running a team and you have a high turnover rate, I'm sorry but it's probably because you've become a toxic boss. You started a team for the wrong reasons and you are more concerned about the bottom line of your business and making you more money than supporting the needs of the entire group. So, the first thing to know is that you have to focus on your team as a unit rather than as individuals supporting your dream. Because why would somebody else want to work for you to build your dream when they could be building theirs? You’ve always got to make sure the grass is greener where they're standing than where they're looking. The way to do that is by making sure that their needs are supported. And that you are treating everybody like they’re all a vital part of an overall unit.
So, we've kind of started out with that mindset thing: why am I doing this? What do I want to get out of it? Because guess what, you're part of that group too. You need to think about your goals, what you want to get out of it, and what you are willing to put into it. Consider that every time you take on another team member, your workload and your administrative tasks get exponentially harder. That’s another person whose schedule you have to manage. The first thing you need to make sure of is that you have the right systems in place. If you can't properly manage and automate about 70% of your administrative work for your own weddings, and then be able to duplicate that for each additional team member, you're doing way too much admin. If this is the case, adding team members is just going to really overwhelm you and burn you out. Once you have a well-oiled machine, then you can start slowly adding people. The keyword being “slowly.” Don't try and grow too fast, because it is literally an exponential amount of work for you per person that you add on.
Episode 50: Do You Really Need a Team?
Back to the question of: what do you want to get out of this? You have to know where you're going so you can map out how to get there. In business, goal setting is really so much more important than people realize. So when you're building a business and you're building a team, you really do need to consider some key questions. How long do you need or want to work in the business? Do you want to keep doing the weddings yourself? Or is the purpose of building the team to eventually phase yourself out of doing the weddings in person? So knowing your finances and knowing your goals is super important. The next thing you want to have is a sustainable growth plan. You have to set these goals now and map out the actual plan. How many weddings you can handle at each staffing level? For example, say it's just you, and you can comfortably handle 40 weddings. And then you add another person and they take on 20 weddings. Okay, so that's 60 weddings worth of admin. What's realistic? How many weddings do you need to book for them to be able to give them enough money that they're not going to turn around and leave? What’s the minimum and the maximum? How much do you need to be able to book to guarantee them enough work without getting burnt out from the admin part of that?
Another thing people often fail to consider is what to do when your team members leave. You need to have systems in place for when they eventually leave. Remember, you can do the best job in the world finding the right staff and building a good culture, but sometimes people's lives are just going to change. They might have a spouse who has to move, or they have another child and they've decided to take time off, or whatever it may be. This person's no longer with us. How are we going to fill the gaps now? You need to have a system in place for that situation, because if you don’t, then you’re putting out fires in the moment. And if that’s happening, you're going to have unhappy team members who are picking up slack that they didn't expect. You're going to have unexpected administrative work, because you'll have to hire people last minute or ask other teams or artists to come in and help you out. It's so much easier and so much smoother as a business if you can have plans in place in advance. Basically, you really need to have good systems in place, and that is what's going to make or break whether you have a good team.
An important exercise is to map out as many worst case scenarios and potential situations as possible, and then put together a plan before you ever take on your first team member. You’ll need to put together a little employee handbook or what's called an S.O.P. (standard operating procedures) to map out like if X happens, then Y is the solution. You need to figure things out like putting together a contract. Many times I’ve seen in Facebook groups people being like, “I have this problem, this problem bride, blah blah blah…” and they're like explaining the situation and suddenly all the comments are filled out with, “well what does your contract say?” So, part of putting together these systems is having a contract. For example, if the bride decides that she's just not going to pay you, what is the outcome of that? Are you going to charge her a late fee? Are you not going to show up? Are you still going to show up and hope she pays you at the end? What if she writes you a check and you don't accept checks? You need to know these things and you need to have a plan for that doom scenario. You need to be able to identify what can go wrong and have a plan in place for when it does. It's not just about safety for you. It's safety for your team as well. And if you have your processes, and your team feels supported, your business will run smoothly and your people will stick around.
You might also really love my May 2023 Masterclass from my Masterclass Magic Series all about Team Building! This masterclass is dedicated to helping you build a team of dedicated artists and fostering a sense of community within your brand. Check out more on the masterclass and all the monthly topics here!