For reasons that will become obvious, we’re in no way identifying the victim in this report. I’ll call her Jenny. It’s a false name, but everything else you read here about her salon business happened exactly as described, in the latter half of 2016.
Jenny’s otherwise-successful beauty business has been brought to its knees – in real danger of going under – through theft, deception and outright lies by a ‘star’ staff member.
This employee was hired because of her reputation as a ‘gun’ saleswoman. And she was. Her retail sales and re-booking rates were through the roof. Products were flying off the shelves. New clients were coming through the door in rapidly-increasing numbers. It all looked good, on paper.
But Jenny was mystified. Where was the money?
To her absolute horror, Jenny discovered the awful truth. It was ALL a sham. The so-called star employee was ripping her off blind. Taking cash from clients and putting it straight into her purse. Stealing products.. Secretly contacting Jenny’s clients and offering them cheaper services from her home. Then came the last straw. The employee suddenly left after several months of covert larceny, walking out of the salon with Jenny’s entire database under her arm.
And Jenny can’t prove a thing. It’s her salon business, but it’s as though it had been hijacked.
A highly-developed sense of PARANOIA might have avoided much of the heartache.
There are risks in business at every turn. Competition. Changes in the market. Credit restrictions. Innovation and new technology. (Kodak? Ruined by digital photography. Video stores? The victim of Netflix and iTunes. The taxi industry? Crippled by Uber. It’s a long list.)
But it’s a much harder pill to swallow when the enemy comes from within.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
- Security cameras. They are cheap. And they can record everything. You can even view them from your tablet or phone remotely.
2. Database control. Any salon appointment software package worth its salt should be capable of producing logs showing who logged in, when they logged in, and what they did when they logged in. Your list of clients is THE most valuable asset you own. Protect it with every weapon you have at your disposal.
Inventory control. If you don’t rigorously reconcile – every day – product in with product out and money collected, then you’re allowing massive cracks to open up. Things will mysteriously fall through them, unnoticed.
3. Social media control. It’s all very well and lovely to have your clients interact with you via your social media channels. But who else has admin access to your Facebook and Instagram platforms? It’s all too easy to put trust in your staff to ‘run’ your social media for you. And it’s even easier for them to run amok inside those platforms, secretly contacting clients and ‘poaching’ them.
(Did you know that if somebody has NO admin rights to your FB business page, and you haven’t verified that page with Facebook, they can steal the page from you?)
4. Email & Website. Who has access to the business email account? It’s very easy, using email, to get access to your website logins, change the password, and suddenly, the website goes dark.
And they’re just the essentials. You can make a long list of your own.
Many owners in the ‘warm and fuzzy’ hair & beauty industry might find the above a little confronting, not wanting to appear to be Big Brother to their staff. But there is wisdom in that oft-quoted saying, “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”