Have you ever had to do anything over again because you didn’t do it properly in the first place? Have you ever had to spend a lot of time cleaning up a mess that could have been avoided if you had just planned better?

Would you consider yourself a good manager? They say that the first function in management is planning. Planning is something I actually find very difficult – I don’t know what this says for my management skills …

Part of the reason I find it difficult is I always feel so busy with all the pressures of work that seem to almost be working against me to prevent me from planning (notice how I’m trying to make excuses). But I think there is some truth in this, life continually throws enough things our way to keep us busy for a number of lifetimes, we therefore have to be very deliberate about planning else it will never happen.

The flip side of why I find planning difficult is because if I do actually make any plans then I have to stick to them, which leads into the second, third and fourth functions of management namely activating your plan, coordinating your plan and finally maintaining your plan. If I don’t plan then I don’t have to do any of these other things and its more difficult to hold me accountable.

Im starting to wonder if this article is for your benefit or mine ..?

Types of planning

As I consider the different types of planning that you can do I realize I may be off the hook in some ways because I realize that for some types of things I do plan and for other types I don’t.

For example, I don’t plan my social life very well (probably why I don’t have much of a social life to speak of). I don’t plan holidays well either. However, when it comes to other things like certain projects at work where I have experienced what can go wrong when there isn’t a good plan in place I have been much better at planning.

How is it with you? Are you a planner by nature or do you only plan well for certain things or do you just live by the seat of your pants and rely on good instincts in the moment?

That little piece of paper

Believe it or not, this article is not an article on planning. Well, not in the general sense as I’ve alluded to above. Rather, as the title suggests, its more about being deliberate about certain small things that if done will save you time and hassle in the future. I guess this is a form of planning but its almost situational planning, ie to save you time and avoid mishaps in very specific areas.

My suggestions are not going to be anything mind-blowing but rather just some practical wisdom based on what I’ve observed over the years and how to avoid a lot of pain in certain of your business processes.

For this article I want to focus on just one thing, printing client receipts.

Print your receipts

Whenever you go to a reputable retail outlet you will notice that you always get issued a receipt once you have paid. This does not happen only when you request it, it happens automatically every time you make a purchase. When last did you have to request a receipt from the cashier at Woolworths or Pick n Pay? You’re more likely to try and refuse the receipt because its probably going to find its way into the nearest dustbin but you’ll never have to ask for one.

So, how does printing a receipt save you time and avoid pain? Well the first assumption is that you have some sort of computerized invoicing system and if you do then it means that you have a powerful tool at your disposal that should be enhancing your business processing capabilities in more ways than one. So, in order to print a receipt you need a computerized system (and by implication will get all the benefits that come with it).

However, just because you have a computerized system does not mean that you will print a receipt so go back to rule number one and ensure that you print a receipt. Lets look at the other benefits of doing this.

For owners

By printing a receipt it means that your reception staff have actually entered the sale onto the system. If they didn’t enter the sale onto the system then a number of things may go wrong, ie they may pocket the cash. If there is no record of a sales transaction then there may not be any record of cash being received. This will lead to pain in your cash flow!

For clients

Another outcome will be that the client themselves have proof that the transaction took place. The benefits to the client would be that they will be able to produce proof of purchase if they have to return a product at a later stage. This also keeps you in line with the Consumer Protection Act. Another benefit for clients will be if you have a client loyalty scheme, then the client will know that their purchase will contribute towards their loyalty balance.

For staff members

Because the sales have been entered onto the system and entered correctly then there is a higher chance that staff members will get their correct commission when salaries are paid.

Also, printing a receipt (AND GIVING IT TO THE CLIENT) means that the sale was entered into the system at the time it actually took place rather than at the end of the day after you have closed. It is disturbingly common for salons to not enter sales into their computerized systems as they happen but rather enter them all together at the end of the day. Doing it this way leaves much room for errors and manipulation. At the end of the day staff are eager to get finished and get home and having to work through cash up errors and deal with transactions that happened up to 8 hours prior can cause a lot of frustration and errors.

For accountants

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this yet but accountants are quite particular. They get their knickers in a knot if things don’t all balance or money cannot be accounted for. There’s quite a good reason for this, and this is because they know what kinds of questions will have to be answered if the “Eye of Sauron” (SARS) turns its focus onto your business. Believe it or not SARS does not like it when money can’t be accounted for and so if printing receipts for every client is a way that guarantees that every sales transaction is entered into your system and matches the money that you have in your safe or your bank then your accountant tends to be a little less condescending about how you run your business and the general state of your affairs.


There are many more benefits not mentioned above that are the result of simply printing a receipt like accurate reporting and analytics, targeted marketing campaigns and stock control to mention a few. Who would have thought that the little piece of paper that so often goes straight into the bin could have such a profound influence over the successful management of your salon?

If you are not currently doing this start today, ensure that every client who visits your salon walks out with a printed receipt for their purchase. Ensure all your correct details are on the receipt. Ensure that your software autoprints a receipt and also a second copy that you can keep in the salon for your own records.

It may seem like more work to have to enter the sale into your system as it happens but as the saying goes a stitch in time … well you know the rest.