Creating Positive Change for The New Year

Creating Positive Change for The New Year

With the New Year just around the corner, many small business owners are hoping for a better year both professionally and personally.

Generally when things improve on the business front that leads into a less stressful situation on the personal front, so it is very important to make sure that your business is in a position to achieve the best possible outcome that it can for the next year (and thereafter).

Many things can be done to improve your business but it will require you to step outside your role of ‘doer’ and into your role as “thinker and planner”.

To be able to step into this new role on a regular basis is vital for you to be able to keep developing your business and making changes quickly in response to the changing market.

It is of no use to you to keep on doing the same old, same old as this type of thinking will deliver even poorer results to you over the next 12 months than you have experienced over the past 12 months.

Now is the time to sit down and really think about what you can do to improve your business so that you are meeting the needs of your market.

You will need to be innovative and in some cases, even ruthless, but nothing changes or improves until you decide to drive it in that direction.

Your future success is very much up to you so it’s time to stop procrastinating about the things that need to be done and to get stuck in and DO IT!

13 Questions to Help You Keep More Clients

13 Questions to Help You Keep More Clients

Unless you’re the odd one out, your salon or spa is probably losing clients without even noticing them slip away.

Today, there is a great deal of competition for the same clients, and unfortunately, client loyalty is not what it used to be. This isn’t always because salons were better back in the day, but more likely because there were simply less salons to choose from, and therefore going somewhere else wasn’t always the best option when there was a service hiccup.

People are now more informed and less tolerant of poor quality treatments and customer service, and they’re not shy about telling other people about their experiences via social media and the internet.
This is why it’s essential that you’re on top of your quality control and know how to be (or become) the go-to salon in your area.

In this article, I’ll pose some questions to help you discover how to keep your VIP clients returning to your salon for the long-term.

 

1. Have you got your welcome right?

Believe it or not, getting new clients is the easy bit. The difficult part is getting them to return.

Statistics show us that in some salons as many as 3 out of 4 new clients visit just once, and never
come back. Now some salons do better than this of course, but the fact is that once a prospective client arrives in your salon, your sole goal should be to get them to come back.

A new client’s first impression of your salon should be the best you can possibly deliver. If you don’t look, smell or feel professional, you’re already off to a bad start.

Clients will make assumptions about their forthcoming treatment based on their first impressions.

Don’t let yourself down before you even have the chance to prove how good you really are.

 

2. Does your new client leave with a thorough understanding of everything you offer?

In most instances, clients know very little about your salon by the end of their first visit.

It’s your job to make sure your new client knows what you offer, and what makes you the best salon in the area.

And there’s never going to be a better time than at the first visit. Tell them about your services, your programs, and everything else that they’ll benefit from by being a client in your salon.

If you offer a Rewards Program, Referral Rewards, Special Birthday Offers, Monthly Promotions or anything else that makes you stand out from other salons, you need to make certain that your prospective client knows about it as soon as possible.

If you wait for the second visit, it may never happen.

 

3. Do you provide a financial incentive to return?

On the first visit, many clients leave unsure of whether they’ve found their perfect salon. You need to give these clients a worthwhile reason to return and give you another opportunity to shine.

Ensure your new client receives a voucher from your salon to entice them back. Most people will find a voucher irresistible, unless they were really unhappy with your treatments or service.

Once you get your new client back, the relationship phase is underway, and they’ll start to feel much more at home and comfortable in your salon.

This is then the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

 

4. Are you rewarding loyalty?

Clients are just like you and me. We all love to be rewarded!

By introducing a Loyalty Rewards Program you can reward your clients for spending their money with you, and they’ll love it.

If you’re computerised, it’s generally as easy as turning on the loyalty program option in your software and deciding how your reward points will be attained and spent. If you’re not yet computerised, the good old card system works just as well.

Just keep in mind that your reward must feel like a true reward. If it’s not meaningful for your clients, they won’t have any reason to return to your salon, instead of trying the one around the corner.

 

5. Are you being consistent?

Your clients love to know exactly what they are going to receive when they visit your salon or spa. Change is not always your friend; even if it’s sometimes in the client’s favour.

Be consistent in all things that affect your clients, especially in the treatments that they receive. Even a missed cup of coffee on arrival can make a client antsy sometimes.

This also means you must be cautious when providing freebies (discretionary services) to your clients.

While the clients do love getting that something extra on the day for no charge, it can backfire on you when those little extras are not provided at every visit. After all, if the client receives a little extra pampering once, she’s got every right to expect it’s a normal part of the treatment.

Create a protocol for all your services and ensure all team members stay rigidly within that protocol when delivering services. If you want to deliver a little extra pampering, add it to your protocol.

Nothing more and nothing less is then the best policy.

 

6. What are your re-booking skills like?

How frustrating is it when a good client rings your salon for an appointment and you just don’t have a single spot available for them? Naturally they become frustrated, and you’re left feeling stressed, because you know that there’s a good chance your client might try another salon for an appointment at a time that suits her.

Getting your client’s to re-book is a skill that needs to be perfected so this kind of scenario almost never happens to you. Once a client goes elsewhere, you run the risk of losing them permanently, and that can cost your business thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

Added to that is the massive impact regular appointments have on your profits.

When a 4 weekly client is left to her own devices, she’ll often extend her booking interval out to 6 weeks. What this means for you is over 4 visits less per year from that 1 client.

Do the sums. For most salons it can mean up to a $50,000 loss in revenue.

Can you afford to lose this amount of money each and every year?

Most likely not.

The only way to really make sure this doesn’t happen to you is to take control of the booking process, and ensure every client is offered a re-booking for their next appointment (or several) before they leave your salon.

When you re-book a client, you are actually helping her to get what she wants, when she wants it.

 

7. How are your communication skills?

Constant quality communication helps to build and maintain the rapport you have with your clients. If you’re not constantly top-of-mind, clients can be lured away quite easily.

Stay in touch with your clients regularly with informative newsletters that have content they want to read. Use SMS marketing to promote your special offers.

Don’t rely solely on Social Media to stay in touch unless you’re willing to use paid advertising. Without it, your message won’t reach many of your followers anymore.

 

8. Do you have a program for client referrals?

Did you know that if a client refers a friend to your salon, she’s far less likely to leave herself? Because she’s sung your praises to the person she’s referred, she’d feel a bit foolish going elsewhere without a very good reason.

Referrals are gold for your business and not just because they bring in new clients, but because they help to keep the ones you’ve already got.

 

9. Are you living up to your promises?

Think about it.

Do you promote yourself as a serene salon where clients come to relax and pamper themselves, but you also have a kid’s corner in your waiting area?

If this is the case then you’re not living up to the promises you’ve made in your marketing.

Get clear about what your salon style really is. If you promise total pampering, get rid of the kids corner, and ask clients to have their children looked after while they enjoy their treatments.

If however, you want to be known as family friendly, a kid’s corner is almost a must.

Whatever it is that you’re promising to be to your clients, don’t disappoint them with if you want them to return.

 

10. Is it time to let go of the silly rules?

Make your salon client friendly and get rid of silly and often offensive rules and signage that make the clients feel uncomfortable (you know the ones I mean….’Turn off your mobile phone or you will be shot and fed to the crocodiles!’)

Your goal should be to make each and every client feel like they’re being welcomed into a warm, friendly environment where they’re respected and valued for their patronage; not one step away from being in a prison camp.

Resist the temptation to punish every client for the sins of one or two who’ve done the wrong thing, and ditch the dictator-style signage that clients will find insulting.

Every salon needs to have some rules and policies, but learn how to phrase them in such a way that the clients feel like your rules and policies are there to make their life more enjoyable, not less.

 

11. What’s your Point of Difference?

Be unique. Stand out from the rest of the salons in your area by offering something that your clients simply can’t get somewhere else.

Many salon owners make the huge mistake of believing that being cheap is what their clients want. The truth is your clients want to receive value; not necessarily cheap services. I’ve experienced cheap and I’ve experienced value that isn’t cheap, and I can promise you that value will win out every time.

Every service you offer should stand out from what your competitors offer in some way. Given that you offer as good as your competitors do, then adding that something extra and unique will keep your clients returning to you, instead of meandering off to other salons.

 

12. Do you remember to celebrate your clients’ birthdays?

Birthdays are our special day (even if we share them with thousands of other strangers)!

Let me ask you, how many service providers have ever acknowledged your birthday? If you’re like most, the answer is very few, if any at all.

If you’re lucky enough to have had your birthday acknowledged, you’ll already know how it helps to develop a warmer relationship with the business that not only remembered your birthday, but also acknowledged it with a small gift.

You can easily acknowledge your client’s birthday with a small salon gift certificate.

It doesn’t have to cost an arm or a leg, but your clients really do love to be remembered on their special day.

 

13. Are you really an expert?

Would you consider yourself and your team members to be experts in all services provided?

Ongoing training and learning are a necessity in this ever-changing world of beauty. If you’re not the best at something, either stop doing it or become the best.

Invest in training for your team and remember training isn’t a once-off activity. It needs to be ongoing. It’s pointless spending a small fortune on that new piece of equipment, if your team members cannot deliver basic services expertly.

 

 

Focus on what you’re positive your clients want from your salon, and become the best provider of these services in your marketplace.

Now, while this is by no means an exhaustive list of how to improve your client retention, many of these simple and inexpensive tips will help you to keep your clients and therefore build your revenue.

And what’s even better is that you can start implementing these tried, tested and effective strategies immediately without spending a small fortune on expensive marketing programs.

Treat your clients like VIPs, reward their loyalty, invite them back, be consistent, and give them the very best service at every visit. After all, the cost to retain a client is only a tiny fraction of what it costs to gain a new one.

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day. Jim Rohn

How to Make the Internet Your #1 Business Partner

How to Make the Internet Your #1 Business Partner

It doesn’t seem so long ago that having a web presence was entirely optional. The long-standing and ever-ready Yellow Pages was still thriving and meeting a big portion of your client attraction requirements quite well.

However, all that’s changed dramatically.

Competition on the ground has increased, with more salons and spas popping up in most suburbs. And this means of course, there’s an even greater need to stand out among the crowd these days.

The once-optional web presence has now developed into an absolute essential for all businesses that want to be found by potential clients.

Your web presence can be broadly broken down into your website and various social media platforms; both important, but often serving different needs.

 

Website

Your website forms an important part of your business brand, and is in fact, the primary client attraction tool for your salon or spa. It provides your prospective clients with a sneak peek of your salon, which in turn allows them to feel confident enough to make that initial appointment.

But not all websites are equal in terms of their ability to help prospects find you in the first place.

The truth is that a visually appealing website, while lovely to look at once found, may not necessarily be helping you to get discovered by those prospective clients looking to do business.

Here are a few points to consider when optimising your website for client attraction purposes.

SEO: Improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO for short) helps search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo (plus all the others) find your website when a prospective client types key words into her search bar. If you’re responsible for your own website maintenance, then take the time to learn more about how S.E.O. works, and then keep your website updated with the necessary changes.

If you’re not technically minded, do some research and find a reputable company to help you improve your search rankings. It’s well worth it, given that the internet is now the number 1 place people go to find a new service provider and most people seldom scroll past the first page of search results to find what they’re looking for. It really does pay to be on page 1 of those search results.

 

Blog: An entertaining and informative blog on your website helps to accomplish several things.

First the fresh content supplied by adding a blog article will help improve your SEO. Search engines are constantly striving to find fresh, up-to-date and relevant content for their customers (you and me), and so interesting blog articles help them to achieve their goal, which in turn helps you to achieve yours (being found).

As well as improved SEO, a well-written article also offers you the chance to showcase your professional expertise to prospective clients who’ve found your website. Keeping this in mind, remember to write in a non-technical way so that your readers (who won’t be industry professionals) can easily understand what you’re trying to tell them.

For those of you who have video skills, adding a video makes your website very attractive to the search engines and you can add these to your blog also.

Whether you choose to write text articles or upload videos, do so regularly (at least twice a month) to maintain the need for fresh content.

 

User Friendliness: No matter how attractive your website may look, if your readers find it hard to navigate around, then there’s a better than average chance that they’ll click out and go elsewhere. Try testing your own website for this by asking yourself:
• Can my readers easily find the information that they’re most interested in?
• Is it structured in a way that allows them to drill down to find a specific treatment or category of treatments quickly and effortlessly?
• Is the information easy to understand and based on the benefits they will receive, rather than the technical aspect or the method of delivery?
• Have I included good photographs where appropriate, to help the client understand what I’m trying to say?
• If I were the prospective client who knows nothing about my business, have I provided enough information to encourage them to make a booking, or at least an enquiry?

Contact page: There is nothing more frustrating for a prospective client, who has taken the time to read through your information, than to send an enquiry and never receive a reply. If you have a contact page on your website (and you should), then ensure you’re checking your emails regularly every day, so that you don’t lose the chance of gaining a new client due to poor communication skills.

 

e-Store: In a previous article, I discussed how important it was to protect your retail sales from on-line competitors. One way you can do this is by having an e-store on your own website so that your current clients can re-purchase a product they’re currently using without going elsewhere.

With this option in place, clients are less likely to head off to other websites in search of their favourite product when they’re running low.

As well as retail product, your e-store can also provide the option to purchase profit-boosting gift vouchers.

This is a great convenience for purchasers who live outside your trading zone when they want to purchase a voucher for someone who lives close to your salon or spa. As with your contact page, you need to be aware of product orders, so be sure to keep a close eye on your emails where you’ll be notified of sales and payments.

If it’s been a while since you’ve actually visited your own website, make time to do so soon. Try to navigate through your site as if you were a new prospect looking for information.

Ask others to help you with this task by giving them a particular service or information to look for and then presenting you with their feedback. Make sure to ask them to time how long it took to find what they were looking for and most importantly, act on the information you receive.

 

Social Media

Social media platforms are often places where your existing clients will go to connect with your business and check out your latest promotional offers. This makes them, in most cases, more of a client retention/sales tool.

There are so many social media options to choose from today, that it’s easy to get totally confused about which ones you should choose, as well as when and what you should post. You want to make sure that the valuable time you invest in posting on social media is going to provide a worthwhile return for your business.

The truth is that there’s no ‘one right social media option’. Your choice will depend on where your potential and existing clients like to visit.

For some it’s Facebook, others Instagram, maybe Twitter, or it could be any one of the dozens of choices now available.

The best advice I can give you is to find out where your clients like to hang out online and focus on 2 or 3 social media platforms at the most. Any more than that and you’re sure to be spending too much time online, leaving you not enough time to manage your business effectively.

To find out what the best sites for you are, consider asking your new clients where they first heard about you, and possibly survey your existing clients also. This should provide you with enough information to decide on where you should concentrate your online marketing.

 

Special tip: Many business owners make the mistake of bombarding their online readers and prospects with “why you should buy from me’ messages.  Readers soon get tired of these types of posts and tune out quick smart.

Whether it’s your blog articles or social media posts, the rule of thumb is generally about 80% of your posts should provide worthwhile and feel-good information for your readers, leaving 20% for promotional messages about your business and services.

Remember, you have to woo, romance and engage your readers before you have the right to ask for their hand in everlasting commitment.

How to Easily Get More Online Reviews (and more clients) for Your Salon or Spa

How to Easily Get More Online Reviews (and more clients) for Your Salon or Spa

If you’re in business and have never given online reviews much consideration, it’s definitely time to do so.

Generating positive client reviews on platforms such as Google and Facebook can have a major impact on your new client acquisition, with 85% of consumers trusting online reviews as if they were a personal recommendation!

With this astonishing statistic in mind, it’s definitely worth the investment of your time to ensure your businesses is generating regular and positive online reviews. 

And doing it is not as difficult or time-consuming as you might think. As long as you have happy customers with access to the internet, it can be as simple as a quick click and comment.

Now you might think that a happy client will always be inclined to leave your business a review without being prompted.  Unfortunately, this isn’t generally the case. 

As a matter of fact, most clients don’t even think about leaving a review unless it’s to complain about something, and that’s definitely not the kind of review you want. With this in mind, it’s imperative that you regularly ask satisfied clients to post a review.

So, how do you get your clients to leave that review? 

It’s pretty straightforward!

All you have to do to entice happy clients to leave a positive review is to remove any awkward or time-consuming barriers they might encounter, and you can do this by providing the direct links required to the review site.   Once there, the rest flows naturally.

 

Facebook

One thing to consider before you get underway is that you need to have ‘Recommendations’ (the new and improved (?) version of Facebook Reviews) turned on in your Facebook business page.  If you’re not sure how to do this, here’s a handy tutorial provided by Facebook:  Facebook link

 

Google

You will also need to verify your business with Google so that your clients can leave a review for your business there. Follow the link to find out how to do that: Google link

Now that you’ve done these things, you’re all ready to collect loads of client-attracting online reviews that will help you grow your business. 

Let’s move on to how to ask your clients for a glowing review or recommendation.

 

Ask your happy clients to leave you a review/recommendation after their service.

There is never a better time to ask your clients to leave a review than just after she has had an exceptional treatment at your salon/spa.  You don’t even have to actually ask her yourself, but instead use a follow-up text message, including a link to your preferred review site.

A nice message along with a polite request that she leave a review if she was happy with her service should get things happening for you. Once you’ve gathered up reviews and recommendations from your existing clients, you can automate this request by adding the appropriate links in your New Client Welcome email.

 

Include permanent links to review sites in your email footer when you send out your salon newsletter.

This is a great way to keep the idea of leaving a review in front of your clients.  It just sits there on the bottom of all your emails, wagging its tail like a friendly Labrador waiting to get a good head rub.

 

Reward clients to tempt them to leave a review or recommendation.

You’ve probably heard about the ‘What’s In It For Me’ mindset.  Basically, before any of us do anything for anyone, we ask ourselves ‘What’s in it for me to do this’.  With that being the case (and it is) when your clients ask themselves this question, the answer should be, ‘I’ll get a reward’.

It’s easy to monitor and reward clients as you are generally notified if someone has left a review or recommendation.  You can then invite that client to come into your salon and pick up a small salon voucher as their reward.

 

What happens after you actually get a review or recommendation?

Considering that someone has taken time out of their busy day to leave a nice comment about your business, it’s only polite to respond with a ‘thank you’ and a short message.  This shows other review readers that you value your reviews and are listening to what people have to say about your business.  Reviews without a response look very sad and lonely indeed.

 

What happens if you get a negative review?

Don’t be fearful of a negative review here and there.  I doubt there is a single business that has never received a not-so-fantastic review from an irate customer at some point. 

The way to deal with this kind of review is to treat it in the same way as you would a positive review.  Thank the reviewer and address the issue that has been mentioned. 

Show you are more than willing to fix any problem mentioned and then do so.

Whatever you do, don’t start an argument online or try to make excuses.  This does not look good and other readers will see you as not being customer service oriented. Simply show you are happy and willing to make things right for the client with the complaint.

Research shows that 95% of customers who have a complaint that is dealt with well will go on to become loyal fans of your business and will even refer other customers to you.

 

There you have it.  Getting reviews is much simpler than you probably thought it was going to be.  The secret to success is to make it easy for clients by providing them with the direct links to the places where you want your reviews to show up and many will happily leave you a glowing review that will help you gain many more new clients for your salon or spa.

 

What To Do BEFORE You Buy That New Piece of Salon Equipment

What To Do BEFORE You Buy That New Piece of Salon Equipment

 

Purchasing that new piece of equipment is a dream come true for many salon owners.

They’ve saved the money, done the research, read all the literature, talked to various manufacturers, checked out their competitor’s offerings and tested the equipment to ensure it works as promised – all the boxes have been ticked, and now they’re ready to sign on the dotted line and introduce the exciting  new technology into their salon

But hold on a minute.

Have they really ticked all the boxes?

Unfortunately, the answer is a BIG ‘NO’ because they’ve skipped over the most important step and that is…

Finding out if their clients want the new technology-based treatments and, more importantly, will pay for them.

Just because the salon owner really loves the results the new technology delivers, it usually comes at a pretty high price and that means a higher price point for the client treatments also.

Now, this might be perfectly fine in some salons where higher priced services are already being offered to clients and are selling well, however, in many lower price-point salons it can result in that shiny new piece of equipment ending up sitting in a corner gathering dust for most of the time instead of returning that amazing revenue that the equipment suppliers promised it would.

 

So, what should you do before you commit to buy?

In a word – R.E.S.E.A.R.C.H.  You need to be 100% certain that your clients will pay the price to have these new high-end treatments.  This means surveying your clients in depth about any new and more expensive treatments you intend to introduce.

And it’s no good simply relying on the fact that the other salons in your trading zone offer these types of treatments because their shiny new piece of equipment might also be sitting in a corner gathering dust.

Ideally, ask if you can borrow the equipment for a week or two and then invite your key clients to experience a treatment. You can then survey them as to whether they would:

  1. Have this treatment on a regular basis, and most importantly
  2. Pay the required price to do so.

It’s also necessary to spend a little time doing your return on investment calculations.

You need to know how many treatments you have to deliver each day/week/month to, not only cover the cost of the equipment repayments but, also deliver a reasonable profit for that investment. 

And it’s also important to keep in mind that new technology is hitting the market place at a rapid rate and that means if you have to repay your equipment loan over a long period of time, chances are your equipment is going to become outdated and therefore the treatments will be much harder to sell to your clients.

So, no matter how desperately you want to offer the latest whizz-bang technology to your clients, you have to be realistic and honest with yourself about whether your clients want it enough to pay the required price.

And if it’s out of their price range, resist the urge to ‘risk it’ and look for an alternative salon treatment that is affordable and will sell.

Jazz Up Your Service Menu and Increase Your Sales

Jazz Up Your Service Menu and Increase Your Sales

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘You can’t sell a secret’? It’s worth remembering. After all, what point is there in having a beautifully appointed spa, with an amazing range of pampering and remedial treatments on offer, if no one knows anything about them? This is where a well-planned spa menu not only educates but also entices potential and existing clients to experience more of the treatments your spa has to offer. Your menu needs to be much more than simply a price list that contains every treatment you offer. Instead, it should be crafted with increasing sales in mind. There’s no question that a well-designed menu will help to generate additional revenue, but the amount of revenue it generates will be determined by the treatments you include, the description of each treatment, and the way the content is presented to the reader.

What goes out and what stays in…

Stays In

Naturally, your menu should include your most popular and profitable services. These are the services you know your target market is interested in having and the ones you know will return a healthy profit also. If you’re a start-up business without any information on past sales, then it’s important to do your market research on this topic before creating your first menu. Don’t blindly assume that your clients are going to want the treatments you want to provide, as this isn’t always the case. Your spa will also benefit from including some essential spa policies on your menu. This will help to overcome many exasperating issues spa owners deal with such as late arrivals, no-shows, last minute cancellations, inappropriate cell phone usage and bringing along their children to their spa appointment. And of course, you need to include all your contact information (including website), opening hours and location so that readers can easily make their booking.

Goes Out

To create a profit-generating menu, you need to begin by eliminating space-wasting treatments from your menu that are both unpopular and unprofitable. Don’t be tempted to include every single service your spa provides, as unless you have unlimited space, this isn’t practical and won’t help you to sell your top profit-makers. The same principle applies to your add-on treatment options. Include only those that will help to increase sales and profits. It’s pointless to use a valuable line of space on a $10 upgrade service when that space could have been used to promote a $100 facial or body treatment instead.

Menu Size – Is bigger really better?

The ultimate goal of your spa menu should be to help increase not only sales but more importantly, profits. This is not necessarily achieved by listing every service on offer as mentioned earlier. By eliminating the less popular or unprofitable services from your menu, you will often be able to stay with a standard DL tri-fold brochure, which means you will eliminate the additional cost involved in producing more expensive booklet-style menus. However, if your spa offers a wide range of higher-priced and exclusive services that require more descriptive text and images required to convince readers to buy, then a more lavish booklet-style brochure may be in order. Choose the style of menu that best fits in with your spa branding. An expensive day spa needs a higher quality menu, but a small regular spa may be well served by a tri-fold brochure. The important thing to remember is that you want to be able to freely hand out your menus to prospects and clients without worrying too much about the cost involved. If you are hesitant to hand out your menus because of the cost, then your menu is not able to do its job, which is to generate sales.

Service Descriptions – Should you focus on benefits or features?

Too often, I read service descriptions that are loaded with industry jargon or are a step-by-step outline of service inclusions. You may think this sounds professional and informative, but what your readers really want to know more about are the benefits they will receive from each treatment. This means, that instead of using words only other industry professionals understand, you need to use words that your readers will understand. If you’re not sure if you are focussing too much on service features and not enough on benefits in your service descriptions, consider whether your text delivers solutions to reader’s problems. As an example, does it tell the reader that her skin will be deeply hydrated (benefit) or does it say you include Hyaluronic Acid (feature)? Does it talk about diamond tips (feature) or tell the reader that her skin will be softer, smoother and more evenly toned (benefit)? When space is short, it’s always preferable to focus on the benefits clients will get from their treatment, rather than the delivery method and ingredients used.

Menu Layout – What goes where?

The layout of the services on your menu is also important to improve readability. You want to ensure that your readers see the most profit-generating and popular services first. With this in mind, consider your service category placement carefully. Your goal should be to make finding popular and profitable services an easy task for your readers. Don’t make them hunt for the services they want to know more about (and you want to sell). Keep these VIP services towards the beginning of your menu, and use the less obvious areas of the menu for the basics such as waxing and tinting (unless, of course, these are your specialist services). Also, consider how you can use service categories to help your readers find services more easily. As an example, you may want to consider breaking down your facials into various categories (depending on the style of spa you have). Some spas might break facials into Relaxation-style and Remedial. Others might use categories such as Facials, Skin Treatments and Peels. You might also want to break up your body treatments into Massage Therapy and Body Treatments to make it easier for your readers. Look for ways to segment your services so that readers can easily find what they may be interested in having, and avoid the temptation to lump as much as possible under a single category heading. Do your best to simplify your reader’s job of finding the service they want.

Menu Readability – If they can’t read it, they won’t buy it.

I’m an avid collector of spa menus. One thing that frequently stands out to me is the fact that these menus are often next to impossible to read. This is generally due to the use of a quirky font, tight line spacing and extra small text size due to trying to cram too much information into too small a space. If you want clients and prospects to actually read your menu, you must make it as easy as possible for them to do so. You can do this by choosing easy-to-read fonts for your text, increased line spacing so your text doesn’t look crammed in and, of course, making sure your font size is large enough to actually read with ease. By allowing some breathing room around your text, your service information will stand out more vividly.

Summary

The goal when creating your menu is to inform and tantalise your readers. It should show them clearly what benefits to expect and create an emotional response to that information. And finally, it should convert your readers into buyers by getting them to take the desired action of booking an appointment with your spa.
Blogging for Your Beauty Biz

Blogging for Your Beauty Biz

 

As a salon or spa owner, you probably think that blogging doesn’t belong in your world.

I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.

Blogging is about sharing your expertise and establishing yourself as the go-to industry expert in your field.

It’s also about helping your website’s search engine optimisation, and considering your website is the premium way to attract new clients, that makes it pretty important to your beauty business.

 

Where should your blog live?

If you have a website, your blog should be part of that website.  It’s generally a specialised page on your website where you can continually add interesting articles and images that will be read by your visitors and subscribers.

You can get subscribers to your blog by adding a sign-up form to capture their names and email address.  Some blogs also offer a RSS feed to your subscribers also. Both of these methods deliver the article directly to your readers via email without them having to visit your website to get the new information.

In this article, I’m going to share with you some key things you need to know about successful blogging, so you get a great return on your time investment.

 

  1. Write for your readers but keep Google in mind.

First and foremost, when you write a blog post, you should keep your reader’s needs and interest front-of-mind.

Look for topics to write about that you know your readers will be interested in, and if you don’t know as much as you should about that topic, do some research and become better informed before you write your article.

One you’ve written your blog article, go back and look for ways to introduce key words and phrases into your copy, but be sure they sound fluid and natural as part of your content – there’s nothing worse than reading copy that is obviously stuffed with too many key phrases with no thought given to readability.

Try to include key words and phrases into your blog titles and subtitles also where possible, as this is very good for your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

 

  1. What images are best?

A great image, that easily relates to the content of your blog, is a must.

If you have your own images, that’s fantastic, but if not, you can either access free stock images from places such as Pixabay.com or Pexels.com. or purchase them from the hundreds of stock photo sites on the internet.

Having said this, try to avoid the images you see constantly on the internet.  Be authentic with your images whenever possible.

Quick tip: Don’t be tempted to pirate images off the internet.  This is not good business practice.

 

  1. How often should you post?

Once upon a time, the answer to this question was about once per month.

Today, I think that you could easily up that number to once per fortnight or even week.

While Google may love longer articles, most readers don’t, so I suggest you make your blog articles short and sweet – around 300-400 words should be enough.

If you find that you’ve gone way past this number of words, be ruthless with your editing and cull out the waffle until your article is informative, interesting and concise.

By doing this, your readers are more likely to make it to the end of your article and get the full benefit of reading it.

 

  1. What should you write about in your blog articles?

This one is easy.

You have a massive amount of information about your chosen profession locked away in your brain, so simply write about what you know, combined with what your readers want to know more about.

Be topical and include information that is relevant to what is going on currently.

Blog articles give you the opportunity to share your specialised information, all while establishing your expertise. A total win-win for both you and your readers.

  1. What shouldn’t you write about in your blog articles?

Boring stuff.  Technical stuff. Jargon- filled stuff. Buy-me stuff.

While you hope that writing an informative and interesting blog article will lead to either gaining a new client or perhaps selling something to someone, it should not written like a sales page.  This is definitely not the platform for trying to make a direct sale.

Be generous with great information and your readers will be impressed.

 

  1. What kind of personality should your blog have?

Your blog articles should reflect your salon or spa personality.  If you’re super-trendy, that should be reflected in your blog.  If you’re all about relaxation, that should be reflected in your blog.  Let your business personality shine through your words.

Remember, you cannot be all things to all people, so don’t try.  Understand who you are trying to attract with your writing and write for them.

 

  1. Use hyperlinks (what the heck is a hyperlink I can hear you asking)

If you use hyperlinks in your blog articles, you can easily send your readers to other information anywhere on your website, or even to another website altogether (though this shouldn’t be your goal). Check out where the hyperlink in this paragraph takes you.

By using hyperlinks, you can send your readers to other articles in your own blog or pages on your website such as the booking page, contact page, or a page with some detailed information about a service you may want to promote.

The idea behind this is to keep readers on your website, and exposed to your information, for as long as possible.

Where possible, try to keep your hyperlinks in the top half of your blog article (in case your readers don’t read to the very end.)

 

  1. Poor grammar and spelling mistakes give a bad impression.

Check, double check and triple check your blog article before you hit that post button.

Poor grammar and spelling sends the wrong message to your readers.  It gives the impression that you’re a bit sloppy and slapdash and that’s definitely not the impression you want to make.

Make sure to get fresh eyes to read your article before posting as it’s easy to miss mistakes in articles that you’ve written yourself.

You can even get software such as Grammarly.com , which has a free starter version, to check things over for you.

Quick tip: ease up on the use of exclamation marks!!!  One here and there is fine for emphasis, but too many detracts from your writing.

Another tip: if you’re writing in English, pick one style and stick with it. Nothing is more annoying than UK English sprinkled with a healthy dose of US English.  Find out the difference and choose your style.

Finally, no-one starts off as a great writer.  Most of us are truly stinky writers in the beginning, but if you persevere and keep practicing, you will get better!



Are You Putting on Your Own Oxygen Mask First?

Are You Putting on Your Own Oxygen Mask First?

In this article, I want to delve into why many salon and spa owners struggle to become successful.

After all, the majority have the required technical skills, offer amazing customer service, and love what they do, so why aren’t they financially successful?

It also begs these questions,

Why aren’t they taking home a decent wage for themselves each week?

Why are they constantly living on the edge of burn-out, and

Why aren’t they getting all they deserve from their efforts?

All great questions, right?

You might have even asked yourself the very same questions once or twice.

Well, I’ve given it a great deal of thought, and I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the major issues holding them back from getting the outcome they really want is their unwillingness to put their own needs before others.

Many salon and spa owners feel guilty and selfish if they put their own business needs first, so instead, they spend their lives putting everyone else’s needs first.

Don’t get me wrong – that’s a very selfless and generous way to live, however, in business, all it will give you is burn-out.

Here’s an interesting analogy. If you’ve ever taken a plane flight, there’s a part of the safety demonstration where the stewardess drops down the oxygen mask and says, ‘Put your own oxygen mask on first, so you can then help others’.

Wow. Such simplicity, and yet, so important.

You need to look after your own needs first, and only then, are you in a position to help those around you. If you don’t, and pass out from lack of oxygen, then you can’t help anyone else.

So, by putting your own needs first, you are not being selfish or greedy. In fact, you are ensuring that you are able to look after the needs of others because you put yourself in a position to do so.

The same holds true when you’re in business. If you don’t look after your own business needs first, then you’ll never be able to look after those who depend on you.

Too often, I’ve coached salon and spa owners on how to improve their business, and too often I’ve have hit a brick wall because the sensible and practical things I asked them to do (put their business first), hit some pretty solid resistance.

At first, I struggled to understand why they couldn’t see that their resistance to do what was necessary for their business was hurting both themselves and other people who were dependant on the business.

I knew that if they would just do as I asked, they would see a great improvements, which would lessen their stress, decrease the likelihood of burnout, and keep them in their business for the long-term.

But, for some salon owners, they simply couldn’t come to grips with putting on their own oxygen mask first!

One important example of this revolves around service pricing. When I’ve told clients that it’s time to have a fair price increase (which was many years overdue), they felt that they simply couldn’t do it.

The reasons given ranged from, ‘But I can’t ask my long-term clients to pay more for their services than they did 7 years ago, when they first came to my salon’, to, ‘But if I increase my prices, all my clients will leave’, or ‘I feel greedy asking for more money’.

Clearly the clients were getting their oxygen masks first, but what was going to be the consequences of that for the business?

The fact is, it’s not greedy to ask your clients to pay a fair price for what they receive. Yes, there will always be clients who huff and puff and try to blow the house down, but in reality, they are in the tiny minority.

If these clients choose to move on, rather than pay you a fair price for your services, it’s probably a blessing for your business.

These are not the kind of clients who are going to help you grow a happy, healthy, sustainable business that will provide for your family, keep your staff employed and fulfil your dreams of owning your own business.

Other examples that come to mind are when clients are disrespectful of salon policies and there are no consequences.

This eventually leads to loads of no-shows, late cancellations and late arrivals.

When there are no consequences to poor behaviour by a client, that behaviour tends to worsen, rather than improve.

And of course, employee behaviour falls into the same category.

Changing client appointments without permission to suit their own schedules, not making any effort to reach realistic sales targets, taking time off during busy salon periods, enticing clients to come to their home salons and so much more.

All these behaviours escalate when the business owner does nothing to put the needs of her business first and enforce employment conditions.

When salon owners don’t put the needs of their business first, it will inevitably impact on many other people surrounding them also.

So, here’s what I tell my coaching clients now, when they choose not to put their business needs first…

~ When you refuse to increase your prices to a fair level, eventually your expenses will grow too big to be covered by your revenue. Overheads continue to increase and so does the cost of running your business.

~ When your employees and clients are making your life a misery, you will hit burn-out at a rapid rate.

~ When the day comes that you can no longer keep your doors open, or when you no longer want to keep your doors open, the following will happen:

  •  Your employees will be without a job. They will struggle to pay their own expenses until they can find other employment. They will go without because they no longer have a secure job working for you.
  • Your clients will feel disappointed for a minute or two, then get on the internet and find another salon to go to, where they will gladly pay the price for their services that you were too frightened to ask for.
  • Your suppliers will suffer because they have lost an important cog that keeps their business running profitably.
  • Your dreams will shatter. You will no longer have your own business to run the way you want to.

So, if looking after others is something you want to be able to continue to do in the future, be sure to put your own oxygen mask on first!

Making Time for Salon Management

Making Time for Salon Management

Over the years, I’ve had many salon owners come to me who want to improve their business. That’s great!

What’s not so great, is the fact they want this miraculous improvement to happen all by itself, with little or no additional management time invested into their business.

Let me share something important with you…

Achieving growth and change is not a realistic goal if there’s no extra time set aside to work on your business. It’s simply a  delicious dream. Purely wishful thinking on the part of salon owners who’re not facing the reality of owning and operating a business.

But, the good news is this – there is plenty of time available to you during the normal working week to work on your business management, and in this article, I’m going to talk about how to easily find the time you need, to run your business effectively – all without forgoing sleep or leisure time.

Let’s start by breaking the whole process down into Bite-Sized Chunks (my favourite way of tackling big tasks).

 

BSC #1 – Learn how delegate effectively. There’s definitely a skill involved in delegating well. It’s not simply a matter of giving all the work to others to do, sitting back, and enjoying the down-time.

Effective delegation means matching the right people to the right job so that, with a little bit of training and direction, you can be sure of achieving a great outcome.

It takes a little bit of set-up time to get it right, but once you’ve ensured your delegatees have everything they need to be successful, you will see great benefits and more time for yourself.

Your employees can do much more than a facial, manicure or bikini wax.

They came to you loaded with invaluable life experience and skills that you should tap into. Get to know your employee’s other skills, and you may well find that they can take some time-consuming tasks off your hands.

Be sure to arm them with all the information they need and the desired outcomes of their new tasks, and then monitor their work closely for a short while.

Once they have the hang of what you want from them, all you’ll need to do is a regular check-in with them to see how they’re performing.

 

BSC #2 – When you don’t have the skills to do a great job, consider outsourcing it. If you’re a terrible, boring and lack-lustre writer, but you know your newsletter needs to be done, or your website content needs updating, consider using the services of a professional copywriter.

Not only will she do a faster, more professional job that should get you superior results, but it also frees up your time to work on your business.

There’s sure to be many jobs that you struggle with that, with enough time invested, you do reasonably well, but could that time have been used more wisely working on other aspects of your business that only you can do?

Whether it’s writing your own copy, keeping your own books or managing your own website, consider whether it might be a great investment in freeing up your time to work on something more important to your business.

 

BSC #3 – Tighten up your client appointment schedule. If you’re still working with clients each day, learn how to tighten up your appointment schedule, and get rid of wasted chunks of time between clients.

15 mins here and 30 mins can add up to a huge amount of time each week, but on their own, they aren’t long enough periods of time to get stuck into something important, so they end up being simply a huge waste of your precious time.

Sure, you may need to leave a little tidy time between clients, but don’t leave any more than absolutely necessary.

Make sure your team members are working effectively to support one another in tidying up treatment rooms and prepping for incoming clients when they’re not busy themselves.  This will often eliminate the need for wasted time between clients.

Tip: If you’re working on 15-minute appointment blocks, try moving to 10 mins instead to reduce time wastage.

BSC #4 – Find at least 2 continuous hours per week for management activities. Once you’ve tightened up your appointment schedule, you’re going to find at least another 2 hours a week to devote to management. (4 x 15 minute breaks a day over 5 days ends up being 5 hrs in wasted time.)

The secret to getting loads done is to have a decent-sized block of uninterrupted, continuous time, so that you can focus on what needs to be done.

Trying to write a newsletter in 8 lots of 15-min time slots is most likely not doable, but doing a newsletter in a continuous 2-hour time-slot most definitely is.

Start by looking for the quietest day of your week – there is always one. Once you know when it is, identify the quietest time during that day.

Great, now mark out 2 hours (or more if it’s available to you) to work on business management issues.

This time to work on your business must be protected at all costs. It can’t be given up for a client appointment or some other activity. It’s when you’re working on growing your business such as creating fresh promotions and marketing ideas, delivering team training or a team meeting, reviewing reports, doing one-on-one meetings with your team members or something else, but whatever you use it for must be management based.

By freeing up larger chunks of more useful time, you’ll achieve more during your day, and find you have to take less work home with you; leaving you free to spend quality time with your family and friends.  Now that is something worth getting organised for!

 

BSC #5 – Write down what needs to be achieved. Set aside 15 mins every morning to write your list.

I recommend using a desk diary where you can list down all the jobs that require action.

Once you have your list, place an A, B or C beside each job – this is important. Your A jobs are those that must receive immediate attention and can’t be left – they are URGENT!

Your B jobs are those that are important, but can wait a few days to receive your attention.

And your C jobs are those that you have to attend to, but can wait a week or more to be actioned without any serious consequences.

Once you have done your prioritisation, don’t get tempted to veer away from your list and start doing jobs that are less important (but sometimes easier or quicker), or worse still, not on your list at all.

 

BSC #6 – Never lose another great idea. With most desk diaries, there is a section in the back where you can jot down notes. This is the perfect place to store your brilliant ideas before they get forgotten.

Loads of great ideas do get forgotten because they aren’t written down, and I’m sure this has happened to you in the past (it’s certainly happened to me).

Keep your diary with you wherever you are, and when a brilliant idea pops into your brain, grab a pen and write it down.

Once done, you’ll never forget a great idea again, and you can refer to your list whenever you’re looking for inspiration.

 

 

Remember, your business needs your attention if it’s to thrive and grow.

It’s a lot like establishing a thriving flower garden. Just planting the seeds won’t result in a beautiful garden. You must tend it, nurture it, fertilise it, water it, weed it, and give it your attention regularly.

This is how you achieve a beautiful flower garden, and exactly the same principles apply to your business.

 

Are You Running a Beauty Business or Simply Indulging in a Hobby?

Are You Running a Beauty Business or Simply Indulging in a Hobby?

Warning: This article may make you feel a bit uncomfortable! If you’re okay with that, keep reading.

Truthfully, how are you spending your 9 – 5s? Are you working on the management of your business; monitoring your figures, developing strategic plans for growth, training your teams, discovering ways to reduce unnecessary expenses, improving client acquisition and retention, creating your unique-point-of-difference,

or,

Are you doing lash tints, brow shapes and bikini waxes all day long with no time left over for businessy-type stuff?

Here’s the thing, you can do a little of both and still run a fairly successful business.

I did this in my last salon, and it delivered a fairly good return, but, if I’d spent more time on the management and less time on delivering client services, I’d have had a great business.

I only wish someone had told me then, what I’m telling you now. The more time you spend working on your business instead of in your business, the more successful you will be.

Out there, in the cyber-zone, you see a lot of feel-good graphics that tell you that to be successful, you only need to be good at what you do. Well, unless this means being good at business management, then you’re being lied to.

You may be the best facialist, waxer, brow designer or hairdresser in the city, but that is no guarantee of financial success.

If your idea of success is to have clients tell you how wonderful and how talented you are, then you’re probably achieving that already. Unfortunately, ‘wonderful’ and ‘talented’ doesn’t pay the mortgage; but money does.

For some reason, many of those who operate beauty businesses are not comfortable with the concept of making money. It feels dirty and slimy, and not at all attractive.

But, here’s the absolute truth of the matter – if your business can’t generate enough money to way wages, rent, general expenses AND still leave enough for you to make a decent living, then you are running a hobby business.

You are not a serious business owner because you are not doing all you can to be financial solvent.

Let me clear up this common misconception. Making money is not a dirty or slimy thing to do. It’s a beautiful thing, as long as it’s done with honesty and integrity.

And here’s why…

~ Money is what pays your employee’s wages each week, allowing them to do what they love and sustain their own families.

~ Money is what pays your suppliers for their goods allowing them to grow their businesses, supply your much-needed products and become more financially secure.

~ Money is what allows you to keep your business doors open, so you and your team can deliver your wonderful services to the clients who rely on you to do so.

~ And finally, money is what allows you provide a better life for yourself and your family.

So, as you can see, making money is a very positive and worthwhile thing to do – it’s what makes the world keep spinning, and as long as you do it with honesty and integrity, you need not stress ever again over the fact that it’s okay to make money.

Now that we’ve cleared up this success-blocking thought, it’s really time to get more serious about doing business the right way.

 

Here’s how I suggest you start:

#1. Stop telling yourself that you’re the only person who can do anything properly in your business. Instead, learn the art of good delegation, so you can free yourself from the mundane jobs in your life, and invest that time into running your business in a business-savvy way.

#2. Stop taking on every new client who walks in the door when you have perfectly good employees who can look after them instead. (They must be good, after all, you employed them.) If you’re worried that your employees are going to steal your clients when they leave, you may as well sack them all today, and just go back to being a solo-operator.

#3. Stop making excuses as to why you ‘can’t’ do what you know needs to be done, and start to find reasons why you ‘must’ do what is necessary to be more successful. Time to pull up those big-girl (or boy) panties and face the reality of being a business person.

#4. Treat being in business seriously. Devote at least part of your day to management only tasks that are results-oriented. (The bigger the part, the better). Stop weeding the gardens out the front, stop checking your social media every 5 minutes, stop dilly-dallying with time-wasting activities that will get you nowhere, and instead create a daily plan, and then work your list until everything that is important to your business growth gets done.

#5. Set some clear, measurable and achievable short-term goals for your business. Write them down and revisit them daily to keep you on-track. Once you’ve achieved them, create some more.

#6. Become a time-management terminator. Use your time wisely. You’ll never get back wasted time, so make every business minute count, so you don’t have to eat into your leisure/family time.

#7. Become a first-class communicator. Talk to your team on a regular basis, be transparent, ask for input. You’ll be surprised at how much knowledge they can offer you from digging into their past experiences. Get them involved in growing your business.

#8. Learn how to be business-minded. Invest in your business skills and not just your treatment skills. They will continue to improve your business permanently.

So, are you a real business or just really a hobby? Is it time to get serious about making real money and stop worrying about the future? It all comes down to you, your mind-set and, most importantly, the actions you take.