When you decide to do something different to change your life for the better, you are said to be turning over a new leaf. It means taking the decision to make the changes necessary to turn around some aspect of your life that you are not happy with and want to improve. With the economic climate being what it is, there will never be a better time than right now to review your business, discard what is no longer working well for you, and find new and better ways to make your salon more profitable. To do this, it just takes a little time out from working in your business and using that time to plan for a more profitable future. That’s it! No great secret. It’s a mistake to make important decisions about your business while you are trying to do a dozen other things at the same time. You need quality time to plan for your success as opposed to simply sticking your head in the sand, doing what you have always done, and hoping things will improve by themselves. A good business plan simply requires that you get started. Once you let your thought genie out of the bottle, you will be amazed at just how many great ideas you can generate. Start by making a list of what you know needs to be changed or improved. What have you been putting off doing for too long, and what is not working well for you anymore? Once you have your list, you can begin to create actions around each of the items so that you will get the results you are seeking. Here at ten tried and tested strategies for you to consider, that will help you to turn over a new leaf and grow your salon profits.

Strategy #1. Create some realistic goals for your salon.

Too often, we set unachievable goals for ourselves both personally and in business. When we don’t achieve these goals, we frequently get disillusioned and give up on them entirely. Goal setting is easy and delivers great results when you know how to do it. Don’t set yourself up for failure with your goal setting by creating goals you are not likely to achieve. Instead of letting this happen to you, try looking for various small improvements you can make across a range of areas in your salon. You can leverage incredible improvements buy simply making small, but positive changes, across various sections of your business. Just think what a meagre five percent increase in your client numbers, your pricing and your re-booking rate could end up generating in real profits for you. Do the sums, you’ll be thrilled at just how much extra money you can produce with these seemingly tiny changes. The synergy of multiple small improvements can make a huge impact on your bottom line.

Strategy #2. Stop hogging all the responsibility and start delegating!

Why is it that most salon owners believe that they are the only ones who can tackle every job and do it successfully? If this sounds like you, it might be time to learn the art of good delegation, and find ways to use it every day. To get started, 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 social media for you or someone who could be presenting at your local networking events. What about training new team members, do you have someone who could help with this role? 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. I’m not suggesting you just throw someone into a new role without any training; that would be a recipe for disaster. Instead, choose the person for the role carefully, train them well and explain clearly what you want the outcome to be. When you master this, you will not only free up your valuable time for the more important role of business planning, but you will be giving your team members the opportunity to grow professionally and personally as well.

Strategy #3. Develop low-cost client attraction strategies.

Quality marketing is essential for all salons so that they will continue to grow. Clients don’t just magically appear on your doorstep, so begin to think about how you are going to market your business to gain new clients and make more profit. Client attraction strategies don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Why not try an active referral program where you use your existing clients to introduce their friends to your salon or a cross promotion with another business who has the kind of clients you would like to attract? Put on your thinking cap and come up with innovative ways to get new people through your door.

Strategy #4. Start networking in your local area.

Is it time for you to leave the nest and meet new people? Every community has groups and associations that are looking for guest speakers. Develop a short educational talk about the services you offer. Keep it free of the sales pitch, deliver something worthwhile to your audience and make sure your information is relevant to their needs. Don’t forget to provide a special offer for your audience and make sure you take along lots of business cards to give out on the day. This is a fantastic opportunity to start a relationship with potential clients. Once people meet you and trust you, you have overcome the fear factor that may have been keeping them away from your salon. If you are 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 best clients.

Strategy #5. 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 in which to 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. Throw away the excuse “I don’t have the time”. It’s important to your ongoing financial success that you find the time necessary to look after the business of being in business.

Strategy #6. Create new and innovative services for your salon.

What do your clients want from you that they are 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 are not staying up to date. Once you have these new services in place, make sure you let your clients know that they are available. Clients want to do business with people they believe are current with their professional knowledge and technology. Always look for ways to upgrade both your business and the professional development of your team. The only thing worse than having a trained team member leaving your employ, is an untrained one who stays.

Strategy #7. 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 are 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 become more appealing to both existing clients and passers-by.

Strategy #8. Promote the services that make you money.

There are sure to be some services you offer that generate much more profit for your salon than others, but until you have calculated the cost to provide each service, you really don’t have a clue about which ones they are. Suppliers will often offer an estimate of how much a service should be costing you to deliver, but employees are notorious for using double the product quantity recommended and flushing the leftovers down the drain. This will affect your costs and therefore also your profits. When calculating your service costs, take into account the true cost of products used, as well as consumables and labour costs to reach your final figure. Armed with this information, you will know which services are in reality generating good profits. These are the services to promote in your salon. For those services that are not making you enough profit, it might be time to consider either replacing them or increasing their price.

Strategy #9. Plan a holiday.

Yes, that’s right; I am recommending that you plan your next holiday and then plan the one after that as well. Too often, major burnout of salon owners can occur because they fail to look after themselves, fearing the total collapse of their businesses 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 feel more refreshed and be able to think much more clearly 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. Last but not least……

Strategy #10. Invest in professional help.

No-one can be an expert in all things. If you try and 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 is far better to avoid the pitfalls of business than to try and climb out of the debt pit later. To quote Anthony Robbins, a world expert on performance, leadership, and change “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten”. Simply maintaining the status quo could be killing your business. Standing still in business simply does not exist. You must be either moving forward or you are actually moving backward, and backward is never the best direction! Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you love this article, share it with your friends. [starbox]