I’ve got to say, I’m a big fan of making lists!

I have all kinds of lists in my life. Grocery lists, business lists, packing lists, to-do lists and the list goes on!

But seriously, making lists in your business can help you to grow in so many ways. Not only does writing something down generally ensure it doesn’t get forgotten, but it also helps to ensure that others do the things you want them to do, the way you want them to do it.

If you think making lists isn’t a sophisticated business tool, then think about those professions that wouldn’t think of not using a list to ensure a positive outcome.

  • Astronauts use a checklist before lift-off. Every dial and every switch has to be in the right place at the right time and what better way to ensure this happens than to have a checklist?
  • Pilots use a checklist before take-off just like the astronauts.
  • Theatre staff use lists to prepare for surgeries so that everything that goes in comes out again.

Do you see what I’m getting at?

Lists make difficult jobs easier and ensure a much higher rate of success, so let’s look at how a few lists could help you in your business too.

Procedure List

You might also refer to these as treatment protocols, but regardless of what you call them, they are just a glorified list. Like a good menu, this list lays out what has to be included in your treatments.  One of the most important outcomes of using a procedure list is consistency.

Consistency in the delivery of your treatments equates to happy clients and this is because every time they return to your salon or spa, they’re going to get the exactly the same inclusions in their treatment as the time before – nothing more and nothing less.

Clients love consistency, even more than they love extras, and when they don’t receive it, they get cranky. So cranky, in fact, that they often leave and go elsewhere. And all because they never received the same treatment, delivered the same way, twice.

Many salons and spas make the big mistake of providing discretionary services. These discretionary services are the little extras that aren’t generally included but are sometimes provided on a whim. And while the client loves receiving these extra bits of pampering at the time, they don’t love it when they don’t get included next time they have the same service. As a matter of fact, they feel quite cheated and that can lead to all kinds of unwanted trouble.

So, to avoid this happening in your business, make a list that employees use when delivering services and make sure that everyone sticks by it. No more and no less at every visit will keep your clients happy and returning.

Delegation List

Delegation is any boss’s best friend. When done well, it can free up many valuable hours each week for more important activities. However, there is definitely a good way and a not-so-good way to delegate to employees.

The not-so-good way is to simply verbally tell your employee what you want them to do. This technique generally results in a disastrous outcome because not enough information is relayed in a written format

For delegation to be effective, employees have to understand clearly what they need to do to get the job done well. This involves, you guessed it, making a list.

By breaking a new job down into bite-sized pieces on a list, employees can generally tackle jobs that they may never have done previously and do it reasonably well. The devil is always in the detail, so make your list as detailed as necessary so that an employee knows exactly what to do to get the job done to your satisfaction.

Time Management List

This is one of my favourite lists. It’s my daily to-do list and when I use it, I get much more of the important stuff done each day instead of pottering about doing the easy jobs that could have waited. It’s human nature to put off doing the hard stuff first, but if you want to fit more of the important stuff into your day, start with a list.

The secret of an effective to-do list is prioritising the items on it so the important jobs get done first. Without this, human nature kicks in and you spend the time being busy but not being effective.

Recruitment List

If you’ve ever had to hire a team member, you know that it can be a bit stressful to say the least. If you stuff it up and hire the wrong person, it will definitely impact on your business and so you want to avoid that at all costs.

One way to ensure you hire the right person for the job is to have a recruitment list. This list needs to include all the must-have skills or qualities that the successful applicant must have as well as the desirable skills and qualities that would come as a bonus.

If you make and use a recruitment list, you’re much less likely to get swayed by other factors during the process which could result in employing someone you like instead of someone you need.

Cleaning List

I love cleaning lists for salons and spas. A good cleaning list ensures that all the less-than-fun jobs get shared out evenly.

As a previous salon owner, I know how frustrating it is when employees leave at the end of the day and the salon is left dirty or untidy. Particularly when it was left up to me to clean it.

It didn’t take me long to figure out I needed a list that would cover all the cleaning jobs that had to be done before everybody took off for the day.

If you don’t like the idea of having ‘Cleaning Lists’ try calling them ‘Accomplishments Charts’ – they’re really the same thing but with a more positive spin.

All these lists have worked wonders for my sanity over the years. I recommend you try making lists in your business. Not only will you get more of the important jobs done, but you’ll be much less stressed from worrying over the little things that often get forgotten.