You’ll never forget that sucker punch moment when your best stylist or therapist tells you that she’s leaving – and worse still, she’s going to set up her own salon down the road.

You mentored her, you nurtured her, you paid her a decent salary and helped her to build a busy column and now you’re scared she’s going to take all of her clients (the ones you helped her to generate) with her.

It’s enough to make the calmest, most agreeable, salon owner blow smoke out of their ears, scream, shout and enter into a price war.

But here’s the thing. Don’t get angry, GET CLEVER….

Whatever you do, don’t retaliate to anything and definitely don’t bad mouth them (even if you’d like to).

If she has anything about her, she’s likely to have an opening party, so you need to host a client indulgence evening really quickly to promote your brand and make your clients feel valued.

You also need to be brave and start reconnecting with her clients. Target everyone that has gone with your ex-employee and invite them in for a free service in exchange for a customer review.

This is your opportunity to introduce them to a new stylist or therapist, so bespoke the appointment around services that they have had before. If you’re confident in what you offer, then they will love it and you’ll win their custom back.

If the feedback isn’t so good, it’s time to be a little humble. Don’t just ask them to complete an online questionnaire, sit down and say to them ‘we understand we haven’t got it right all the time, so we’re inviting you back in to set our standards’.

By listening to these clients you will understand the areas that you can improve to regain your status as the go-to local salon.

When the star performer leaves, there’s a bit of a tendency to start handing out pay rises to everyone else to keep them happy. Don’t make that mistake. All you’re doing is creating a culture of kidnap and ransom.

But it is important to show them – and your clients – that they matter in other ways. Use social media and all of your marketing to sell their strengths and really focus on their USPs. If you have a new starter, give them a big introduction, telling everyone how fantastic they are and how much they are going to enjoy their skills.

And when the dust settles, don’t play the blame game. Perhaps your company policy was part of the problem, so it’s time to sit down and work out what went wrong and immediately start to rectify the situation.

This post was initially written to promote an inspirational presentation Penny was giving at Professional Beauty and a version has previously appeared on the Professional Beauty website. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where your best stylist or therapist has left, contact Penny on 07768383954 or email for more advice on how to best manage the situation.