At the beginning of each year, most of us make a mighty dollop of personal New Year’s resolutions; get thinner, get fitter, stop smoking, drink less, or maybe it’s all of these and a few more for good measure.
However, when you own a business, you often need to extend those resolutions to include new and better strategies to help you to achieve a happier, more profitable and less stressful beauty business also.
At first, the thought of making loads of changes may seem a little daunting but I have a great kick-start list to help you get underway.
List-making is one of the best ways to get those thoughts and ideas that have been simmering away for some time out of your head and onto paper. Once it’s written down, you’re halfway to getting it done.
[bctt tweet=” Out with the old strategies that don’t work and in with fresh ideas to help your business grow.” username=”salonsavy”]
Start with a list.
To get your list underway and actioned, here’s what I suggest you do.
- Grab a big sheet of paper and your favourite coloured pens or textas (colours make it so much more fun and motivating).
- Write down all those things that you’ve been dilly-dallying over for ages, but never got around to doing. Keep going until it’s all down on paper. It doesn’t matter what order your list is in at this point.
- Next, go down your list and decide on the importance of each item and place a number beside it. The most *important job is #1 of course. Keep going until everything on your list is numbered. Now you have an action list.
Tip – The most *important job should be the one that is going to have the biggest positive effect on your salon’s profitability. Don’t be tempted to start with the easy stuff unless it’s also the most important.
Once you have your list written list, check out the 13 strategies included in this article to see if any of them should also be included.
- Give the 3 most important items on your list a completion date. This will hold you accountable to get things done in a reasonable amount of time. Make sure you’re realistic about this so you don’t lose motivation if it’s not completed by the due date.
Once you’ve done your first 3 jobs, come back to your list and repeat the process.
- Find people to help you get the jobs on your list done. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Write their names down beside the jobs they can help complete.
And there you have it. A realistic and actionable list of important strategies to drive your business to the next level of productivity and profits.
Now, let’s look at those 13 tried and tested strategies I’m putting forward that might need to be included on your list also.
Strategies to Increase Revenue
Strategy #1. Commit to setting some realistic business goals.
Goal setting is easy to do and delivers great results when you know how to do it, but don’t set yourself or your team members up for failure by creating goals that are impossible to achieve.
Unrealistic goals come about when we expect to achieve too much, too quickly, and when that doesn’t work out we give up and nothing changes.
Instead, try looking for the small improvements you can make in your salon or spa.
Just a tiny 5 percent increase in all of the following could produce a massive result –
- New clients.
- Client retention.
- Service pricing.
- Reduction of no-shows.
- Expense reduction
…among other things.
Remember to record your achievements so you can measure your successes and tweak the things that aren’t working as well as you want.
Suppliers will often provide an estimate of how much a service should cost you to deliver, but employees are notorious for using double (or more) the product quantity recommended and flushing the leftovers down the drain. This can double your product costs and therefore reduce your profits. Strategy #2. Stop guessing your cost price and start calculating it instead.
When calculating your service costs, take into account:
- the true cost of products used, as well as
- consumables, and
- labour costs
Armed with this information, you’ll know which services are generating good profits (and which ones aren’t).
For those services that aren’t making you enough profit, it might be time to consider either replacing them with ones less costly to deliver or increasing their price.
Strategy #3. Promote the services that make you money.
This seems like a no-brainer and yet many salons and spas still promote their slowest selling, low-profit services in the hope of selling more. Why? This strategy simply doesn’t work, so if you’ve been doing this, stop right now.
Instead, look for the services you offer that generate the highest profits. Don’t guess what these are. Make sure you’ve done the calculations to back up your choices (see strategy #2).
Strategy #4. Increase service prices
If you haven’t had a price increase for your services in 12 months or more, you’re due to have one …right now!
Costs are going up all around you and every time you absorb these costs without passing them on, you’re depleting your profits.
The best way to increase your prices is gradually throughout the year. Segment your menu items and put up one segment at a time. This way clients who enjoy multiple services from various segments are less likely to feel a huge impact when it comes time to pay for her treatments.
Strategy for Better Time Management
[bctt tweet=”If ‘time is money’ then the more your delegate, the more money you can make.” username=”salonsavy”]
Strategy #5. Delegate as much as you can, as often as you can.
Why is it that most business owners are guilty of believing that they’re the only ones who can do a job well?
If this sounds like you, it might be time to discover the art of effective delegation, and then find ways to use it in your business to free up your extremely valuable time.
To begin the delegation process, look for the strengths that each individual team member brings to your business and delegate work to those people who are capable of doing the job well.
You may have a computer savvy team member who could be handling your newsletters or social media for you or someone who could be presenting at your local networking events.
And what about training new team members? Do you have a super salesperson who could deliver sales training or a fantastic therapist who could undertake some of the skills training required?
Most people have more than a single talent, so why not tap into those additional talents that your team members have and get them working for you.
Now, I’m not suggesting you just throw someone into a new role without any training; that would be a recipe for disaster.
Instead, match the person to the role carefully, train them well and explain clearly what you want the outcome to be.
Follow up with them until you’re sure that they understand what is required and know how to achieve it, but don’t stifle their creative instincts along the way. They may actually be better at certain jobs than you are, so let them use their own creativity to achieve the desired results.
Once you’ve made this initial investment of your time to train someone, you’ll not only free up your valuable time for the more important role of business planning, but you’ll also give your team members the opportunity to grow professionally and personally as well.
Strategies for Client Attraction
Strategy #6. Develop more low-cost client attraction strategies.
New clients don’t just magically appear on your doorstep (bet you knew that already), so consider having a brainstorming session with your team about how you’re going to gain new, more profitable clients.
Your team can be invaluable in bringing new ideas to the table, especially if they’ve worked in other salons who’ve excelled in this area of their business.
Many client attraction strategies don’t cost you an arm and a leg. Why not try an active referral program where your existing clients are encouraged (and rewarded) to introduce their friends to your salon or a cross promotion with another business who has the kind of clients you’d like to attract?
Put on your thinking cap and come up with inexpensive and innovative ways to get new people through your door.
Strategy #7. Start networking in your local area.
Is it time for you to leave the nest and meet new people? The majority of your core clients will live within a 5-km radius of your salon or spa, so local networking is a valuable marketing strategy.
Every community has groups and associations that are looking for guest speakers, so tap into this opportunity by offer free educational talk and demonstrations about the services you offer.
To impress your attendees, remember to:
- Keep your actual presentation free of any sales pitch.
- Deliver worthwhile and relevant information to your audience.
- Include a demonstration.
- Provide a special offer for your audience at the end of your talk, and make sure you take along lots of business cards to give out also.
This is a fantastic opportunity to start a relationship with potential clients. Once people meet you and trust you, you’ll have overcome the fear of the unknown that may have been keeping them away from your salon.
If you’re not sure where to start, ask your clients what local groups they belong to and take the necessary steps to put yourself in front of your local community. These people are the ones who are most likely to become your loyal clients.
Strategy for Client Retention
Strategy #8. Introduce a loyalty program.
What are you currently doing to ensure that once you have a new client you keep them?
Long gone are the days of client loyalty when you simply expected your clients to return to you without even considering other service providers.
Today, there is a multitude of other salons or spas all trying to lure your clients away, and so it’s your job to ensure that they’re happy and don’t want to explore other options.
Naturally, everything begins with a first-class treatment coupled with outstanding customer service and great value. But once you’re sure you have all that in place, a loyalty program is a great way to reward clients for returning to you instead of going elsewhere.
Don’t be too stingy with your rewards either. A good loyal and repeat client is a valuable asset to your business, so treat them as such.
Strategy to Stay Current
Strategy #9. Update, repair and replace.
If it’s broken, inferior or tatty, get rid of it! If you have team members that also fall into any of these categories, the advice remains the same.
You simply can’t deliver first class services if you’re working with terrible staff, run down equipment, inferior product or outdated procedures.
Take time out to do a full salon audit and make a list of the changes you need to implement that will get your salon back on track and on equal footing with your competitors. As well as reviewing your services, also assess the physical appearance of your salon by looking at it through the eyes of your prospective clients.
Is it time for a freshen-up, some new signage, a fresh coat of paint, replacement linen or even some new cushions in your reception area? These are all low-cost ways to enhance your salon and make it more appealing to both existing clients and passers-by.
Strategy for a Better Work-Life Balance
[bctt tweet=”If you are the business and you fall apart, what happens then?” username=”salonsavy”]
Strategy #10. Plan a holiday and save your sanity.
Yes, that’s right; I’m recommending that you plan your next holiday and then plan the one after that as well.
Too often, major burnout of salon owners occurs because they fail to look after themselves, fearing the total collapse of their business if they were to take a few days off.
If your business really can’t manage without you for more than a few days at a time, then open your diary and plan a minimum of four small breaks with your family over the next twelve months.
Try and get away for at least four or five days at a time when you can. You’ll be amazed at how much clearer you can think when you have had a rest and time away from your salon.
If you don’t think this is possible, revisit the section of this article that talks about delegation.
Strategies for Better Business Results
Strategy #11. Spend more time working on, rather than in, your business.
This is often the biggest mistake many salon owners make in their business.
Start by blocking out four continuous hours per week so you can fully review your business performance. You can use this time to find innovative ways to attract more clients, keep existing clients, develop profitable promotions, review salon services, undertake marketing activities and much more.
You might even want to spend part of this time brainstorming ideas with your team about ways to increase sales and reduce expenses. The greater the time invested, the better the results you can expect. But use your time wisely and don’t get sidetracked by unimportant time-wasting tasks.
Throw away the excuse “I don’t have enough time” (remember the delegation strategy?). It’s important to your ongoing financial success that you find the time needed to invest in business planning.
Strategy #12. Create new and innovative services for your salon.
What do your clients want from you that they’re going to your competitors to get?
Perform a client survey, research your local competitors, ask your team what the clients are requesting and then take action.
Don’t lose your clients to your competitors because you’re not staying up to date with what your market wants from your business.
Once you have the new services in place, make sure to let your clients know that they’re available because you can’t sell a secret.
Strategy #13. Invest in professional help.
[bctt tweet=”The right help in your business is an investment, not an expense.” username=”salonsavy”]
No-one can be an expert in all things. If you try to do it all, your business will suffer and so will you.
Take advantage of the myriad of service providers who can help you keep your business on track. If you have a great accountant, see them regularly to monitor the performance of your business and keep it on course.
If you hate doing your books, consider a barter deal with a good bookkeeper to help you out.
Another option is to bring in an experienced and knowledgeable business coach who will work beside you to help you achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.
Getting the right help in your business is an investment and not an expense. It’s far better to avoid the pitfalls of business up front than to try and climb out of the debt pit later.
And finally, keep in mind this famous quote by Henry Ford –
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
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