With prolonged lockdowns during the pandemic, many salon businesses are spiraling down to the “valley of death” that has over the last two years consumed many startups and SMEs. Owning or running a business during these uncertain times is both risky and scary. But you should be proud of yourself that you are still plowing through these tough times. And with vaccines proving to be effective, there is hope that the end to this horrible season is near. So, keep soldiering on. Keep tweaking your business plan, doing research, and adjusting your pricing in order to align your salon to the “new normal” trends. Most importantly, keep exploring new ways of improving the health of your salon business. The surest way of saving your boat during a storm is to keep rowing, after all. It is with this understanding that this article explores 6 ways of turning things around for your salon business and making it more successful going forward.
- Go back to the basics
What are the basics?
- Overhead costs
The viability of your business is entirely dependent on your daily profits. You, therefore, need to ensure that your little income isn’t burdened with unnecessary expenses and costs.
- Business plans
Review all your plans, from marketing, sales, operations, to the overall business plans. Are these plans realistic in the “new normal” business climate? Ask your employees to share their opinions and suggestions based on their expertise, and then use that knowledge to set a realistic future vision.
Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. This analysis will give you an accurate idea of how the pandemic affected your salon business. It will tell you, among other things, where your salon stands in the market, how competitive your pricing is, and the improvements needed in your operational processes.
- Target market and ideal client
Redefine your target market and ideal client. Clients’ needs and pain points have changed over the last two years. Many salons have closed down, so there is a sizable chunk of the market out there that’s up for grabs. Ensure that your salon is strategically positioned to win over these clients.
- Focus on the people
If your salon business has stagnated for a while now, you can bet that there are people-related issues that you need to straighten out. You need to reassess your team to confirm that you have all the talents you need for business success. Ensure that you all are sailing towards a common goal- success. Ensure, among other things:
- There is no disconnect between the policies you create and how employees interpret them. You will have an easier time creating a thriving, cohesive team if your policies and business culture is well understood and received by all staff members.
- Employees feel valued and supported to grow their careers, but don’t entertain entitlement, big ego, complacency, and laziness. Sometimes salon businesses fail because their owners tolerated an employee for far too long because he/she was talented, even when they knew he/she was a bad fit for the team.
- Every employee understands the reality of the “new normal” marketplace and is willing to learn how to act within that reality. It is unfortunate that the pandemic has taken a huge toll on your employees’ mental health, but the industry can be quite unforgiving. You have to make the tough decision of letting your talented employees go if they aren’t ready to readjust.
- You are open with people. Talk to people. Be empathetic. Show them you care. Give the “not-so-good” employees a fair chance to grow and get better. You will earn their respect that way, and they will be more determined to earn your trust.
- Reimagine your hiring process. There is no room for terrible services in this industry. That is why you should ensure that the people you hire are almost as good at what they do as you are good at what you do, if not better. Ensure that on top of being talented and skilled at hairstyling, they are also good with people and are passionate about hair and beauty.
Success will always be a pipedream for you if you keep wasting time on repetitive tasks. If you haven’t invested in salon software yet, now is the time to get one and automate all repetitive tasks that don’t require your constant input. Quality salon management software is an all-in-one solution for appointment booking, scheduling, payroll management, POS management, inventory tracking, online payment processing, feedback collection, cash flow management, and database management, among other functions. Your software will help you save lots of time and energy, consequently allowing you to spend more time strategizing for business growth. It will also help you set KPIs and gauge employee performance based on those KPIs, which then helps you streamline your team and boost team performance.
Automation also means integrating chatbots into your social media pages and website. That is assuming you already have a professional website for your salon and social media pages on all major platforms, notably Facebook and Instagram. Create these platforms if you haven’t already. Once they are in place, integrate chatbots into your website and Facebook page for purposes of 24/7 customer service. Chatbots enable you to answer questions from clients without even lifting a finger.
Lastly, on automation, be sure to get a digital salon app that clients can install on their smartphones and use to manage their appointments. You can also use the app to update prices, availability, loyalty programs, referral points, and staff information, among other key details that clients might find useful.
- Invest more in customer loyalty
According to multiple market studies, increasing client retention by 1% can increase your business revenue by up to 20%. It is also common knowledge that acquiring new clients is way harder than cultivating an existing relationship. These two factors make client loyalty programs a key pillar of your salon business growth. They help you strengthen your relationships with existing clients.
You should have at least these two loyalty programs:
- Point-system loyalty program: Clients earn points for spending in your salon or referring new clients to your salon, and then they can redeem those points for gifts and discounts.
- VIP memberships: Clients buy membership slots, which then unlock gifts and discounts for them. The more prestigious a membership tier is, the harder it is for clients to enter, and the higher the rewards. Membership makes clients feel like they are a part of an exclusive club. That prestige keeps them coming back.
- Revamp your salon
There are many ways of revamping a salon for increased growth.
- Start with the retail section.
- Based on previous retail sales, is your retail section stocked up with the products that clients value the most?
- Is there a product that could interest clients if they tried it, but then they don’t know it exists? Order such products and sell them at special discounts, give them out as gifts, and write blogs about their benefits. You will cut out a market for your salon by selling unique beauty products.
- Start your own range of retail products.
- Revamp your waiting lounge with interesting reading materials, install charging sockets, provide different charging adapters, and buy more comfortable couches. Provide decent and secure free Wi-Fi as well.
iii. Improve the salon atmosphere by redoing your interior design. Bring in houseplants to create a calming, relaxing, and peaceful environment.
- Ensure that your salon smells nice. You can do that by diffusing lavender fragrances into the air or lighting scented candles.
- Revamp your brand identity by improving your logo, brand colors, vision and mission statements, and brand personality.
- Improve your marketing
Among other marketing techniques:
- Leverage geo targeted Ads in order to make your marketing content more discoverable by people who can actually come to your salon.
- Offer flash sales on Twitter. You can, for example, start a marketing hashtag and then offer discounts to every Twitter user who tweets using your hashtag and gets a specified amount of engagements.
- Encourage user-generated content by rewarding social media users who tag your business.
- Allow online reservations.
- Pay beauty and fashion bloggers to market your salon.
- Leverage video marketing by making tutorial videos on hair and beauty, going live on Facebook, and posting video testimonials on your website.
- Don’t forget the offline marketing tricks that still work. For, example, share business cards, pamphlets, brochures, and flyers to reach out to more walk-in customers. Remember to print QR codes on these offline materials and then use those QR codes to link your offline marketing efforts to your online content.
- Leverage seasonal offers, e.g. Halloween or New Year offers, to win new clients.
- Optimize your website for SEO.
- Leverage local online directories to make your salon more visible in localized searches.
These tips will only help you set your salon business on a path of success. They are not silver bullets to success. What you need to do in order to benefit from them is be innovative and consistent in how you interpret and implement each one of them.
check relevant post