The holiday season is upon us! Of course, it’s been upon us for a while, given how it’s easy enough to find Christmas décor lurking among the bats and pumpkins come Halloween, but now that the year’s turkeys have been made into turkey sandwiches and it’s the end of November, we all really have to start thinking about “the most wonderful time of the year.”
This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 2, and Christmastime seems to already be in full swing, given the musical selections in most stores and the number of red and green decorations all over the place. Kwanzaa begins on December 26 and lasts until New Year’s Day. Wintertime holidays are traditionally marked by the lighting of lights and the giving of gifts, as both brighten up the darkest months of the year. And don’t forget, while you’re bringing some warmth and light into the lives of your friends and your families, it’s nice to do the same for your professional acquaintances, such as your hair stylist at your favorite salon in Lawton.
Giving a little something to the people who provide you with crucial services such as great hair, professional-looking nails, or great massages is a holiday tradition. Whatever your faith, the end of the year is a time to make the people in your life feel appreciated, and a “little something” always goes a long way in that regard.
But it can be confusing to know what to give your hair stylist. You don’t want to give too much or too little. Let’s face it, unless your stylist is also a close friend outside the salon, you don’t want to give something too intimate. At the same time, you don’t want to give anything that seems too impersonal, like the holiday candle Janice from Accounting gave you last year at the office gift exchange.
Our gift to you today is a list of “stylist approved” seasonal gift ideas for that special someone who keeps you looking your very best all year long, but especially through the holidays. Just think of all those smart holiday parties, office gift exchanges, and family gatherings ahead of you. The person who makes you sparkle and shine deserves a little bit of appreciation, don’t you think?
Cash and Gift Cards
Everyone knows that it’s a tradition to tip your hair stylist a little extra during the holidays, but how much should you add? Most experts agree that doubling your usual, typical 15- to 20-percent tip is a good baseline for what might be seasonally appropriate. If nothing else you can hand your stylist a little envelope containing a nice holiday card and a little “fun money” stashed beside your usual tip.
If you want to go the extra mile, gift cards are also always warmly welcomed. If you know something about your stylist, such as what they like to eat or do, go for that! But you can always pick up a gift card for a nice local restaurant, a retail store, the movie theater, an online retailer, a book store, or a coffee house. If it’s in the area where your stylist works, that’s even better! It’ll be a convenient treat. But don’t fret over it. Pretty much everyone needs things from places like Target, so if you’re stumped, go for that!
Booze and Food
The end of the year is the season of eating and drinking. Nobody will turn away gifts of food and drink. Tins of holiday cookies or chocolates? Sure. A bottle of wine or two? No problem. A cheese sampler? Girl, you know it. Jams and jellies? Happy to take ’em. Basically, anything someone will need to work off as part of their New Year’s resolutions is usually warmly welcomed. And if they’re homemade, so much the better! Homemade goodies always come with a bit of personal touch.
If you know your stylist particularly well or have had an ongoing relationship for years, something handmade can be a really thoughtful and special gift. A hand-knitted scarf. Handmade soaps or bath bombs. Scented oils for the bath. Rosemary oil for her kitchen. Whatever you make, especially if it’s a hobby you’ve discussed with your stylist, makes a great gift!
Who doesn’t love an unusual décor item that immediately brings a smile to the face? Amusing mugs, clever tea towels, salon-friendly artwork, or humorous notepads are all nice gifts this time of year, especially if they relate back to something your stylist may have told you about himself or herself. Gifts like these may feel impersonal, but hey, if your stylist is always sipping on a cup of coffee, why not give her post-it notes that say something like, “This is one of those mornings where my coffee needs coffee.” While post-it notes aren’t the most intimate of gifts, they do show you’re thinking about her!
Personal Pampering Gifts
Even though your stylist may work in a full-service salon, he or she can still take the occasional “spa day” to de-stress and reset. You could get your stylist a gift certificate for a massage, a facial, a mani-pedi, or a whole-body treatment. Better yet, you can put together a basket of DIY at-home pampering gifts, including scented candles, lotions, bath salts, a mud mask, or those mitts you can heat up in the microwave. Those are perfect for tired hands!
If you’re not seeing anything that you think your stylist will like, turn to the gift pros. Google “gifts for stylists” or check Amazon. Amazon usually publishes numerous lists of gift ideas for everyone of every age. You can certainly find some suggestions there! And as we said before, letting people buy their own gifts is never a bad idea. A gift card or a little extra cash are things everyone appreciates this time of year!
Remember when the only “viral” things we had to deal with were diseases? Well, in the age of social media, any event or experience has the potential to spread across the internet like, well, a virus. Sometimes that’s good, because it means we see more cats getting into hilarious scrapes or memes featuring those American Chopper guys, but it can also mean that any client interaction that goes disastrously wrong can become extremely public extremely quickly. Think of how many times you’ve seen social media stories relating to incidents at airlines, restaurants, or hotels. You can probably even think of a few juicy incidents involving small businesses!
While those accounts and the ensuing “epic” reviews can be good for a giggle, it’s important to remember that the same thing could very easily happen to anyone with a salon in Lawton, or to anyone who owns a small business of any type. And it’s also important to remember that there are often two sides to every story, and real people suffer when things go public. If you’ve ever had a referral or seen a review that affected your shopping and buying decisions, you’ll understand.
We’ve talked a lot about social media and direct advertising to get the word out about your beauty industry business, but the truth is, word of mouth is still the most effective form of advertising, good or bad. And that’s why this month we’re talking about client experiences and getting those crucial referrals!
First, Why You Should Be Seeking More Referrals
Do you think of referrals as being “word-of-mouth” advertising? Well, they are! People trust referrals from their friends and family. We all know that beauty industry services such as haircuts, hair coloring, manicures, or massages can all be great or not so great. People trust referrals because they wish to have a good experience and minimize risk.
The same impulse leads us to check online ratings on products we buy from Amazon or to read Yelp reviews of restaurants. People trust personal reviews, and they trust individual experience. Statistics bear this out. People are four times more likely to choose a service such as your salon in Lawton when referred there by a friend. And those referrals, if you impress them, are valuable. The lifetime value for a client referred to your salon is close to 20% higher than the lifetime value of a client who wasn’t referred by a friend. And if that’s not enough to convince you, 83% of clients are willing to refer others after they’ve had a positive experience. Simply by providing the best service possible and encouraging referrals (we’ll get to that later) you can really make your business grow!
Define Your Salon Client Experience
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of a little brand called Apple, once said, “We have to start with the customer experience we want to provide and then work our way back.” While he was talking about technology and not the salon and beauty industry, the idea is a sound one for all businesses and has proven to be true. After all, you probably have or have owned an Apple product or two, right?
While the adage “the customer is always right” came about long before the visible nature of internet review culture, customer service is a priority for all businesses, your salon in Lawton included. Client experience is where the real battles are fought, for better or for worse. Because of the ease of checking personal reviews on sites such as Yelp, providing good service isn’t enough. Everyone’s trying to provide good service! You need to figure out the distinct and unique experience you want your clients to have at your salon.
You want your salon to be the place clients come when they want professional beauty services, but what else do you want to focus on? Perhaps it’s sales of additional products and services, a listening ear, or gentle hands? Think of it this way: How do you want your clients to rave to their friends about you? “Oh, so-and-so is the best. Her cuts are solid, and her recommendations for hair care products are always on point.” “She’s so good not just at doing nail art, but at really listening and giving advice.” Work backwards from the experience you want them to have, and make it happen! The referrals will come in, trust us. And they’ll be the sorts of referrals you want.
Simplify Things for Your Salon Clients
It’s the internet age. We all know how frustrating it can be when a consumer experience has way too many hoops to jump through. Make it easy on your clients. Think about it this way: How busy are you as a small business owner? We bet you use a ton of apps to keep organized and keep things simple. Think about the touch screen device in your fridge that allows you to order through Amazon Prime. That is probably one of the best examples of how a service provider and retailer has simplified a process for customers. Need more laundry detergent? Punch the button. It shows up from Amazon on your doorstep in two days. When you’re considering ways to define and improve your clients’ salon experience, reflect on how to make it easy for them to come to you. Since we’re talking about old sayings, here’s another one: “Never make it difficult for customers to give you their money.” What are the things you can do to simplify your clients’ lives, as well as give them superior service?
Turning Bad Experiences into Future Wins
Things don’t always go right, whether you’re a veteran health and beauty pro or if you’re new to salon life. It doesn’t matter if you’re renting a chair at a salon in the mall or leasing a mini salon suite. Every day will teach you something about customer service. Keep in mind that failures are not necessarily losses. Your most unhappy customers can provide a fantastic learning opportunity. When you receive complaints about your services or your salon in Lawton, turn them into action items and seek to redress them when defining your client experience!
Anyone in customer service knows all too well what it’s like when a client comes in with unreasonable demands and expectations. They usually have an attitude to match. Dealing with difficult people is all just part of the business, but even the most seasoned veteran can find certain people or situations very challenging. Whether it’s a walk-in you hope never darkens your door again or a zany regular who is just one of those facts of life, we all must deal with a client who wants us to do the impossible. At the end of the day, their hair is in your care. If they want a breakup makeover that you know will leave them in tears or a chemical treatment that will damage their hair, you owe it to them to encourage better choices. And if what they want is for you to treat them like they’re royalty and you’re a peasant, well, you can’t let that happen, either.
Even at times like those, however, it’s important to be professional and do your best to meet their needs, especially in the era of social media and online business review sites. But it can be hard to walk the line of giving people what they want when they want the moon and still providing customer service that satisfies them and leaves you with your self-respect.
A little preparation for those sorts of situations can really help, however, so check out our list of five tips for handling unreasonable clients below. Once you’re prepared for the worst, you can keep your cool when the worst shows up. Once you’ve handled it, you’ll have a great story you can tell over drinks with your friends who also work in salons in Lawton!
It may seem obvious, but it can be hard to remember to keep your cool when you’re in the moment. When a customer is being truly irrational, remind yourself to remain calm and professional at all times. Breathe in, breathe out and keep the conversation going. Use whatever techniques you need to keep yourself from wigging out at your client.
Appeal to their reason with your expertise if they’re demanding a style or treatment that won’t work for their hair. Don’t forget that you can appeal to their higher sense of decency, too, if they’re just being rude or arbitrary. Staying in control of yourself and refusing to show your anger means you’ll be coming from a position of strength when dealing with customers.
They say “the customer is always right” but we all know that’s not true. And remember, while that saying might have been the policy at the place you used to work, you now own your own mini salon suite in Lawton. You make the rules, and you can decide exactly how much you care to put up with in a client!
Understand Your Client’s Point of View
Let’s say you’re dealing with an unreasonable request. A client with really curly hair wants a shaggy short cut that won’t look anything like she’s imagining or a man with thin hair wants a style he can’t sustain. We’re all familiar with tons of examples like these. It can be hard to dash their dreams in the cold water of reality, but as a salon professional, part of your job is helping your clients make good choices. The best possible way to handle this situation is to understand your client’s point of view. Go on a “customer needs discovery” with them. Ask questions. Get to the bottom of what they’re trying to achieve, stylistically speaking. This will help you give them a haircut they love, even if it’s not the haircut they demanded when they first walked in the door.
Help Them Understand the Consequences
When a client comes in with some gonzo request, take a few minutes to talk them through the reality of their decision, as we discussed above. Most times you’ll be able to get them to see reason, but when nothing else will do, you can try one final thing: telling them in no uncertain terms what the results of their choice will be. Maybe your customer doesn’t realize the gravity of the situation, but with your help, she may be able to understand better what will happen if she demands you carry out her requests. Just remember, if you find the right way to say things, people will be more inclined to listen. “I hate to disappoint you, but in my professional opinion,” when said in a calm but firm tone, can really turn the tide of a conversation with a difficult client.
Try Exploring the Alternatives
As we mentioned above, offering alternatives can be a good solution to serving a client who wants an impossible cut, color, or style. We live in a golden age of fashion and of technology. Apps can help you show a client what a different hairstyle might look on him or her. A temporary product can offer a preview of a bold color change without the commitment. Find a way to help them visualize what they want before committing fully to a radical style departure!
… or Refuse Politely
Sometimes you just know that the style, cut, or color your customer is demanding going to be a complete and total disaster. Whether it’s something that’s beyond the skill or scope of your talents or if you just know it’ll be hideous or unsafe and they’ll be disappointed or angry, the only thing you can do is be honest and then refuse if the client won’t change her mind. Doing something terrible to your client won’t help them any, and frankly, it won’t work out well for you, either. Don’t invite the conflict. It’s better to send away a customer who’s angry with you personally for denying them a service than to perform a service on a customer who’s angry with you for destroying her hair.
Cut Them Loose?
No one wants to send away a client, but in some very rare cases it may be worth your sanity to do so. Regular readers of this blog will know that every single one of your clients can be estimated to bring in about $1,500 in annual revenue, so it’s good in some cases to just grin and bear it. But in other cases, you’ll be happier if you make room in your schedule for new clients who appreciate you and listen to your expertise.
Salons de Beauté is a great place for salon workers who want to determine who they want to work with and what they do. Contact us today and enjoy the freedom that comes with determining your hours, clients, and services!
Being a small-business owner is not for the faint of heart. The buck stops with you, which is enough responsibility to make most people decide business ownership just isn’t for them. But you’re different. You want to run your own place, build your own brand, and run your own business! Your heart is not faint; your heart is bold!
But that doesn’t mean you’re not smart. You’re going into this with your eyes open. You know the risks. You know the challenges. You know what to expect (or at least you know to always expect the unexpected). While it’s true that every business owner’s business is different, there are always areas of overlap, especially among those in the same industry.
Salon owners are faced with unique challenges on a day-to-day basis. That’s not news to anyone who works in the salon industry, either as an owner, a manager, or a worker. The good news is, in spite of what you might think, the work doesn’t triple when you become an owner. In fact, a good number of problems and challenges disappear or become easier to cope with once you’re in control of every part of your business.
For first-time salon business owners, it can really feel overwhelming to get the ball rolling and start your own place. A smaller space can be a big benefit to anyone just starting out, but whether you’re opening a giant salon with sixteen chairs or your own mini salon suite in Lawton, forewarned is forearmed. Let’s take a look at a handful of the top challenges faced by salon industry professionals and discuss how to address them effectively and easily.
Letting the Day-to-Day Fees Get You Down
Fees. Any business owner knows just how quickly fees add up. As time goes on, it seems like every bit of money you earn goes right back into the business to pay for something. There’s a reason the phrase “that’s just the cost of doing business” exists. It costs money to do business!
Salon owners who run their salons out of a mini salon suite have a bit of an easier time in that regard. Think about business maintenance, for example. Just the cost of doing regular, important maintenance on your chairs can really add up, no matter how large your salon is. But you won’t have those costs if you lease a mini salon suite from Salons de Beauté. With Salons de Beauté, maintenance is included! It’s the same with having state-of-the-art equipment. Leasing equipment can add up over time, but at Salons de Beauté, we’ve already bought everything you need, including top-of-the-line laundry facilities. With all that included in your monthly costs, you know what to expect when you lease a mini salon suite. There’s no after-the-fact sticker shock to worry about!
Letting the Work Schedule Own You
Flexible scheduling is something every salon worker wants. In larger salons, salon owners are constantly scrambling to create schedules that meet the needs of those who work for them. It’s also good for clients when salon owners are flexible. Flexibility lets workers build a better following by letting them schedule return customers when they need it. It can be a hassle, however, to always keep everyone’s schedules in mind when you’re filling up weeks!
When you own your own business in a mini salon suite at Salons de Beauté, you don’t have to worry about all that. You set your hours, and you schedule who you want, when you want them. Are you a night owl? Schedule clients as late as you’d like! More of a morning person? You can be done in time for a glass of wine at 5 o’clock every day of your life. Do you always need Wednesday mornings or Sunday afternoons off? You’ll never battle for your personal time ever again when you schedule yourself! You’ll also set your own holiday hours!
Struggling with Competition and Client Management Problems
Everyone in the beauty industry knows it’s all about competition. There are a million massage therapists, hair stylists, expert colorists, nail techs, and aromatherapists out there. You have to make yourself distinctive. Even the best stylist can get lost when she’s working in a big salon with dozens of stylists and chairs. The same is true if you’re one of many massage therapists.
But when you own your own mini salon suite, you shine on your own. You’ll have no politics with the front desk, no issues with the management about the direction of the salon, and no competition for the best chair. You manage your bookings for your regulars and all their friends. Happy clients, happy salon suite owner, happy bank account!
Having to Help Build a Business for Someone Else
In real estate, they say it’s better to buy than to rent because you’re paying yourself. The same goes for business. Working for someone else means you’re building their brand, their business. Their interests are at stake. And sure, the buck stops with them, but you’re pouring your heart and soul into something that at the end of the day isn’t yours.
When you take the plunge and go into business for yourself, however, you’ll be in charge. You won’t have to upsell your clients on services you think aren’t great or products you think are sub-par. You’ll build your own brand, do what you love, and sell what you believe in.
Feeling Unsure if You Can Be a Creative Professional and a Businessperson
Sure, if you’ve only ever worked in a salon, taking the leap to being a business owner seems huge. But the jump isn’t so big if you’re looking at a mini salon suite. It’s still your chair, your table, or your studio space. You’re not only a creative person; you’re a creative professional. You’ll make it work. You know how to combine artistry with professionalism. And hey, if there’s some aspect of business ownership that terrifies you such as bookkeeping or a certain kind of service, well, that’s okay! You can find a solution to any problem. And once you do, you’ll be so happy! Most of the biggest problems in the salon and beauty industry will just evaporate!
Salons de Beauté is the answer to many questions salon workers just like you ask themselves on a daily basis. Contact us today and find out how we can solve the problem of getting you into your first mini salon suite!
What comes to mind when you think about creating a marketing plan for your salon in Lawton? Do you have an idea of how best to market your salon and yourself, or do you break out in a cold sweat at the idea of “marketing” yourself and have no idea why you might even need to?
Whether you’re at one extreme or the other or somewhere in the middle, there’s no time like the present to work on your marketing plan. Whether you’re starting from scratch or fine-tuning a plan you’ve had for a while, implementing and using a marketing plan is essential. Without a marketing plan, you’re not growing your clientele or your business.
Every salon professional knows that clients come and go. Very few clients stay year after year, decade after decade. Therefore, if you’re not doing things to attract new clients, new business, new opportunities, you may see your business shrinking instead of growing. No one wants that!
When you’re first starting out, a marketing plan may seem like something that will require spreadsheets and graphs and money. Maybe you think about movies where a bunch of men and women in suits angrily shout at one another in a board meeting. But that’s not the case. We’re talking about a list of ideas, a calendar, and, most important, a marketing budget. Other than that, even marketing pros can’t agree on what’s really best. For example, some experienced marketing professionals will suggest dedicating a portion of your gross revenue every month or quarter to marketing; others think it’s okay to just do what feels right (up to a point). First things first: Figure out what your annual marketing efforts will cost and budget for them in the same way you budget for other expenses associated with running your mini salon suite in Lawton.
Tools You’ll Need to Create a Salon Marketing Plan
Put away the hammers and screwdriver (unless you’re one of those super-crafty HGTV types). Creating a marketing plan and a marketing budget doesn’t take much. If you’re comfortable with Excel or other spreadsheet technologies, go for it—otherwise, a notebook and a pen will do just fine. Whatever medium you choose, make a list of all your marketing ideas. Then, price them out, and sum up the costs. Look at the whole year first—most salons have busy seasons and slumps, so make sure to take that into account. Then you can break those activities and related costs into months, quarters, or whatever fits your needs best!
Auditing Your Salon Marketing Work
What are you already doing to market yourself? Don’t sell yourself short. If you’re a regular reader of the Salons de Beauté blog, you probably already have a social media following, based on our advice to promote your salon in Lawton via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and elsewhere. Those sites are free, sure, but promoted posts can really help your marketing—and those cost money. You have to factor in the economic impact of offering coupons or incentives, as well. List everything out, and estimate the costs. Did you get business cards? Put that down! Flyers? Mark down that receipt! And if you order several times a year, make sure that’s the number you put down at the bottom of your “annual costs” column. Software, subscriptions, consulting fees… heck, did you get t-shirts printed? What about the art on the T-shirt that you commissioned from your artist friend?
Maybe you don’t think you have a plan, but you’ve definitely done things to promote your business. Don’t sell yourself short—just document it all and make it into a plan. You’ll never know what your efforts are costing you in money (or time) until you’ve written it all down!
Identify Your Salon Marketing Goals
So often we only think about what customers want from a salon—but what does your salon want in terms of customers? Is your clientele what you wish it was, in terms of demographic? Keep that in mind as you target your audience via marketing. Do you want to serve hip, trendy women or older men, with a focus on veterans? Do you like doing cuts and colors? Do you like selling salon products? If you’re a different sort of pro, what sorts of mani/pedis do you like giving? What sorts of massages? Attracting your ideal clientele should be the point of your marketing. And trust your gut: If you know your future salon prospects will be online, on Facebook or Twitter, well, focus your efforts there! If you think it’d be better to put an ad in the newspaper, then maybe that should be your focus.
Define Your Salon Marketing Reach… And Then Reach Further
So you’re reaching out to the channels you think will be most effective for attracting your most desired clientele using what you have available to you. Great! But if you want to extend that reach, look at what you’re not doing. Can you do a little more? If you’re on Facebook, should you be using Twitter, too? If you’re on Pinterest, have you considered Instagram? What about other online resources, such as pay-per-click ads or a blog that uses targeted keywords to attract local clients? And look beyond the internet: What about local newspapers, industry periodicals, or media mail? A newsletter could also bring in new customers—you never know until you try!
Great job! You’ve come up with a list and a budget. Now you can move on to creating a calendar of marketing efforts for yourself! If that sounds too easy, that’s because it is easy. Look at everything you want to do and spread it out across the year. Prioritize based on cost and your estimated effectiveness of the campaign. (For example, shirts are swell and may sell great, but that’s a lot of money to put into a marketing item that may not provide a return on your investment. But this calendar can help you in other ways, too. You can use it to track costs as well as successes and failures! That way, you’ll be prepared when it comes time to make next year’s budget!
It’s sad but true: No matter how hard you work to make people happy and satisfied with the services you provide in your mini salon suite, at some point you’re going to get a negative review. Most likely, you’ll hear about it secondhand. Studies have shown that only 1 in 25 unhappy clients will complain directly to a professional who displeased them. Whether you hear from someone directly, a customer leaves a negative review online, or someone starts spreading negative word-of-mouth to their friends and family, sooner or later you’ll have to deal with it.
What do you do? Well, there are a few tried-and-true strategies for dealing with negativity toward your services or your salon. We’ll walk you through them below, but the first thing you should do is be prepared, especially if you’re new to business ownership. Part of owning a business these days is monitoring the social media pages you’ve set up for your salon, but you won’t just find opinions there. That’s why it’s best to set up a Google Alert for your business or your name. If that seems a bit self-absorbed, don’t worry—it’s not! You can’t respond to complaints and reviews you don’t see.
Once you’ve set up your Google Alert, gird up your loins! It’s time to talk about how to deal with negativity in realistic, meaningful ways.
How to Approach the Response to Negative Reviews
Speaking of girding your loins, you have to know how to pick your battles. Some reviews won’t be worth a response because they’ll obviously be from people who have personal problems or who are looking to pick fights. We guarantee you’ll know these reviews when you see them, and the best thing to do when you recognize them is to leave them be. Laugh about them, cry about them, do what you gotta do, but don’t interact with them.
When you come across negative reviews that are genuine, however, the first thing to do is to take a deep breath. Your ability to keep your cool and act (rather than react) is crucial. Don’t go on the defensive or attack the credibility of the reviewer. Wait until you’re calm to respond, but you’ll need to respond… and quickly. You can’t just ignore negative reviews hoping they’ll go away or go unnoticed. The truth is, neither of those things will happen, because…
Negative Reviews on Social Media
Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. And not only is it staying, it’s extremely public.
As much as you might want to fire back at a negative review, social media is where you need to be your most professional. Don’t panic, and don’t get angry—at least not publicly so. If you’ve done the work of courting good reviews on social media from your regulars and your satisfied customers, the majority will be positive. Remember that one or two negative reviews won’t break you financially, but there’s something to be said for showing how you deal with customers who leave less than satisfied. It can be hard to keep your cool, but follow these steps every time and you’ll do just fine:
- Apologize sincerely that the person left unhappy.
- Get the conversation private. Ask them to message you directly, in private, to resolve the complaint.
- Ask for a second chance. You can offer them a coupon, voucher, replacement product, or service, but do keep in mind that free stuff shouldn’t be your default response. Use it when appropriate, but remember that people will try to take advantage of you. It’s sad but true.
Review Sites and Negative Reviews
Yelp, Google Local, City Search… you’ve seen them before, and likely you’ve used them to see if that hip new restaurant or concert venue is living up to the hype. Review sites allow customers to see what people think of you, which can be good and bad. They’re powerful ways to attract or repel customers, so if you get a review on Google Local or Yelp, the two most frequented review sites, the best thing to do is issue a quick response before too many people can see it go unaddressed.
While you can control your personal and professional social media feeds to a point, it’s almost impossible to get negative reviews taken off of review sites. Unless it’s indisputably obvious that the reviewer has a personal vendetta against you, it’ll stay up once it goes up. Don’t panic: About a third of bad reviews on review sites can be turned positive if you respond to the customer and make him or her feel heard. You can deal with these negative reviews just as you would with the ones on your social feed: connect, ask for a second chance, and offer to make it worth their while.
Negative Word of Mouth
As we said above, a small percentage of unhappy clients will talk to you about it face-to-face. When it happens, try not to take it personally! That’s easier said than done, we know. It can be very hard to hear a negative comment that’s made to your face. And if you hear it through a third party, that can sometimes be even harder! You’ll want to defend yourself, we know, but it’s better to swallow your pride, gather all the facts, and respond exactly how you would online.
Taking Ownership of Negative Reviews When It’s Warranted
It’s hard to take criticism, and it’s even harder when the criticism is valid. Some negative reviews can be a scary reflection of yourself, your business, and your general practices. At those times, it’s important to take a long look in the mirror and decide if you truly like what you see. If you can understand the merits of what someone has said to you, respond with integrity. Acknowledge the issue and apologize. Be genuine and sincere. Most people who have had a disappointing experience at a salon just want to feel heard and be taken seriously. When you get negative feedback, use it as a teachable moment and find a solution that pleases both you and the customer, and follow up with him or her after. As we stated last month, every one of your clients can be said to be worth $1,500 in annual revenue, so making things right will be worth your time.
Make an Impact on Every Salon Client
As the owner (or future owner!) of a mini salon suite in Lawton, every aspect of your business should deliver that extra special touch that can’t be achieved through big corporate experiences. That holds true whether it’s during the service or afterward, when you’re hearing feedback. Keep that in mind when dealing with negative reviews, and you can’t go wrong!
Salons de Beauté is a place for Lawton, Oklahoma salon owners to make their clients feel special and offer a unique experience. Contact us today to hear about our reasonably priced opportunities to lease your own mini salon suite in Lawton!
Moving is never easy, whether you’re moving house or moving jobs. Any time you’re relocating your private living space or your professional life, there’s so much to be done, and it can be extremely stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. It also can be unavoidable. These days, health and beauty professionals change jobs and/or locations every few years. Sometimes it’s for better pay. Sometimes it’s because a better location opens up, with a better clientele. Sometimes you just need a fresh start due to poor management or a rent increase. And sometimes it’s because you’re ready to make the jump from salon employee to salon business owner at your own mini salon suite in Lawton.
Whatever your reason for moving, moves happen, and you’re not the first health or beauty professional to do so! When you choose to move, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure the move doesn’t negatively affect your business. There’s no way to eliminate the stress of actually picking up and moving, but with a little foresight and planning you can move without the stress of worrying you’ll see a downturn in your income.
Maintaining Your Business During a Move
We’ve all lost things during a move (and we’ve also “lost” things, like those ugly curtain rods you got three Christmases ago from your aunt). While (sometimes) it’s regrettable when an item goes missing, things are easily replaced.
But when you work in the health and beauty industry, your business is about people, not things. You can’t pack your clients into a box like you can your hair dryers, shears, razors, massage lotions, or samples of great beauty products. Customers are hard to replace, but the thing is… you’re a rock star. You give great cuts, massages, or facials. You’re on time, personally motivated, and you’re fun and engaging and talented. Along with great service you give great advice for all the weird life problems your clients tell you about. People love you and your treasure trove of hair color and styling products. Your clients will stick with you—well, most of them will. But you’ll have to work for it.
It’s said by salon industry experts that you can expect to lose twenty to thirty percent of your clients when you shift locations. Some loss is inevitable, but you’re more likely to keep that number on the low side if you manage your move well.
Give Verbal Notice. Like, a LOT of Notice.
While it’s understandable to want to keep a move quiet while you’re still in the planning stages, you will have to give your clients quite a bit of notice if you want to retain them as you move. Did you know that salespeople say you have to tell a person something three times to get it to sink in? Whether or not you can see your clients three times before you move, telling them as early and as often as possible that you’re relocating will help as many of your customers make the jump with you. Drop them a line on social media as well as telling them in person. And when it’s really happening, try to get them to pre-book at your new location. That way, they’ll be in the door almost as quickly as you’ll be! People need the services you provide, so the sooner you’re up and running and getting them in the chair, the better.
Flood Them with Notifications…
Telling your clients in person is great, but you also have other options—especially if you’re in a difficult situation leaving your old location and starting at a new one, and you don’t want to advertise your move until it’s time to make it. Try some of the following…
- The US Mail: Send cards or letters to their home addresses, if you have them.
- Social Media Updates: If your clients follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can lock down your profiles so that only certain people can see them. Then you’re free to post alerts to your clients.
- Emails: A targeted email blast can do wonders for your client retention rate when you move.
- Text/Phone Call/Voice Mail: You have their phone numbers. Use them!
Maybe this seems like a lot of work, but it’s more work to build a new clientele from nothing. Every client you have is probably worth $1,500 or thereabouts in annual revenue (a number we based on a client getting a cut and color ten times a year). Add to that the occasional $25 bottle of shampoo, conditioner, or other styling products and the value goes up. And this number might be even higher once you start running your own mini salon suite in Lawton and can retain more of your money and keep more of the markup on product sales. When you add in 20% in tips, your hard work will pay off in the end.
It might help to offer a discount to clients who follow you to your new place, and it’s often worth it to ask your existing clients to tell their friends. But don’t overdo it! Not all of your clients will follow you, and you’ll have to let them go or risk seeming obnoxious or spammy.
Host a New Salon Launch Event
Launch parties are fun—and hosting one can generate some additional buzz for your new location. You can hand out gift certificates for discounts and show off your killer décor. Most of all, it’ll show them all where you are. Get a few snacks and a few drinks and people will come.
And Maybe Don’t Talk About the Old Salon
Your clients will ask what happened. While it’s acceptable to cite differences of opinion or a rent increase, it’s important not to badmouth your old location and more importantly, the people there. The salon industry is a tightly-knit group; word gets around. Stay positive, talk about how much you’re loving your new space or business, and leave out any bad feelings you might have.
You Know You’re Going to Make the Move…
The only constant in the universe is change. You have to be prepared! You’ll move, for better or for worse. Why not be proactive about your dreams? Make lemonade out of the lemons of life! As painful as it might be to cut ties or as inconvenient as moving might be, you’ll love working for yourself in your own mini salon suite in Lawton!
Salons de Beauté in Lawton is leasing mini salon suites to stylists looking to move into a great, upscale location where they can be their own bosses. Contact us today and find out about our reasonable rates and great location!
When you’re still learning your trade as a salon or beauty industry professional, it’s easy to dream about your future—what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be working, how your own space will look one day. But then you finish your coursework, get your diploma, and “one day” becomes “right now.”
Those first moments as a recent grad and a new beauty industry professional can feel intimidating, but just like anything else, forewarned is forearmed. The truth is, you should be excited—you made it through school and you’re going to apply everything you’ve learned to the real world now! So, by reading up on the challenges faced by professionals who are just starting out in the industry, you can come at any new situation with confidence that you can rise to the challenge. Here are nine things all beauty industry hopefuls should know before making the leap from student to professional!
- You’ll Never Stop Learning
For better or for worse, the learning doesn’t stop once you graduate! Everything changes in this industry, and the best professionals keep up with the times. Makeup trends change with the seasons, hairstyles come and go, massage therapy techniques alter as new studies are done, and new tools come out to aid cosmetologists. Sure, you’ll always have those things you do best, and you’ll settle into certain timeless styles and popular techniques that suit you and your clientele, but there are always going to be opportunities for you to improve and grow and change. Get used to the idea that you’ll always be a student!
- You’ll Tap into Creativity You Didn’t Know You Had
The stereotype of students being lazy party animals doesn’t ring true to dedicated learners who are there to fulfill the requirements necessary to get out in the world and achieve their dreams. For those sorts of future professionals, school can be hard, exhausting work! Once you leave the classroom and you’re out in the real world of professional life, you’ll finally have the chance to explore your personal style and develop your creative impulses in ways you couldn’t have imagined when you were in school. You can take what you learned in cosmetology school and do truly amazing things with those skills, take what you learned about the human body in massage therapy school and make people feel better. Pros who have “been there” predict that once you’re working full-time, you’ll come up with all sorts of ideas, and they’ll keep on coming every time you open a magazine, talk to a new client, or watch a new TV show. So, why not buy yourself a notebook as a congratulatory gift for graduating and jot those new ideas down in style?
- Instagram and Pinterest Can Be Deceiving
Above, we talked about finding inspiration everywhere. That can be an amazing thing, but it can also lead to negative feelings, especially when it comes to seeing what your peers are doing on social media. Studies have shown that social media is a double-edged sword. Yes, it can perk us up, make us laugh, keep us connected… but it can also foster feelings of inadequacy when we see what our friends in the industry are up to. When you see the amazing haircuts or great nail jobs or excellent reviews of your colleagues, if you don’t feel your work is at the same level, it can really make you feel a bit envious. So, just remember… we tend to put the “greatest hits” of our life on social media. You only post selfies when you look good, right? So why would your contemporaries post their bad cuts or the terrible reviews they receive at their salons in Lawton? When you see their work, don’t be discouraged. You’ll get where they are… and remember that they’re probably feeling similarly about seeing only your best work, too!
- You Can Make Lifelong Clients and Friends
The health and beauty industry is a people-focused industry. You’ll be dealing with people every single day, whether they’re your clients or other pros! This means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to forge the sorts of relationships that will last you a lifetime, whether with other professionals or your clients. The people you went to school with, the people you see in the chair month after month: they’ll be with you for years to come!
- It’s More Than Beauty Therapy
The beauty industry is a service industry, it’s true… you’re providing haircuts and color, nail jobs or facials, but you’re also providing something intangible. You’re providing attention, sympathy, and a listening ear. You’ll learn a lot about your regular clients, trust us, and it’s good to be careful with what you’ve learned and how to give advice, because your clients won’t just ask you about what looks best on them, or how to stretch after Zumba to avoid another pulled hamstring. They’ll ask you about their boyfriends and girlfriends, about how to deal with their mothers, and more. It’s a big responsibility, so use your power wisely!
- You’ll Benefit from an Industry Expert
Mentorship helps new beauty pros thrive. Articles like this are full of good advice (at least, we think so!) but a personal relationship with someone who’s been in the trenches and whose style you like… that’s invaluable. It can be intimidating to approach a seasoned professional for advice or with an appeal for mentorship, but it can definitely be a high risk/high reward situation. Or, think about a mentorship program!
- You’ll Need Some Space
There’s an old saying in business that no one ever gets wealthy working for someone else. That can definitely be true in the health and beauty industry. While opening your own salon used to be a dream for established professionals, even newly minted health and beauty industry workers can afford their own salon in Lawton with a mini salon suite at Salons de Beauté. Leasing a mini salon means you can keep more of the money you earn—including turning a bigger profit on retail products—and most of all, build a business you can call your own!
- Success Comes from Dedication and Commitment
The dedication and commitment that kept you going through school are crucial tools you’ll need in the “real world.” While school might have seemed challenging, you’ll be facing new difficulties now that you’re a real professional. Those who succeed never lose that spirit of adventure and sense of “I can do this!”
- In the End, You’ll Never Want Any Other Job
While it can seem hard at times, once you’re in a groove as a health and beauty industry pro, you’ll never wish you were doing anything else. It’s said that the secret to happiness is finding something you’re good at, you enjoy doing, and can get paid for. Well, congrats! You’ve done it! So, while the road ahead might have speed bumps and pit falls, you’re on the right track to loving every minute of your working life.
Ready to Get Started? Salons de Beauté is leasing mini salon suites to dedicated health and beauty professionals, new and experienced. Contact us today and find out what leasing a mini salon means for your future!
If you do a search online for articles on “how to make a salon business successful,” you’ll likely find more than you could ever possibly read. Every year, countless articles are published on personal blogs, industry websites, and even in magazines with advice for those who are looking to bring their business to the next level. Articles like these are a great resource, but they don’t answer the question of why it’s so difficult to make a salon business successful.
Recently, a study done by a salon industry research group asked hundreds of salon and beauty industry pros about the biggest challenges they face every day when running their salons. They discovered that 52% of salon owners and workers think that of all the challenges out there, the two most difficult aspects were:
- Getting new clients
- Retaining existing clients
So, for our blog this month, we here at Salons de Beauté thought we’d address both of these top concerns. We lease mini salon suites in Lawton, and for anyone interested in finally striking out on their own and being their own boss, it’s a good idea to know what the challenges associated with making such a change might be. Any first-time business owner will know that the best way to handle challenges is to find opportunities for learning via cost-effective means. The best way to build a salon business that is viable and comfortable is to learn from somebody who’s done it all before—and done it successfully! Learning from salon and beauty industry professionals will reduce your challenges, but not everyone can learn from a salon industry mentor—though read on to learn how that might be easier than you think! But first…
Leverage All Your Social Media Channels
Social media is a great way to grab new clients for your salon and retain your existing clients. It’s basically free, except for the time you put into it (though you can use promoted posts on both Twitter and Facebook if you want to spend some money). Social channels encourage business for a few reasons… including the face that everyone is on their phones and tablets all the time these days. Even when we’re watching TV we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Yelp… Putting up pages or accounts for your mini salon suite in Lawton and posting regular updates, even if it’s just pictures of improvements to your space or great haircuts or nail jobs, will keep you on your clients’ minds. And posting coupons can be great, too! That way, they’re inspired to stop by and mention your ad.
Retain, Retain, Retain…
As a salon worker, client retention is important. But as a salon owner, it becomes even more crucial to hang on to your hard-won clients.
Retaining clients is easier than you might think, though. Listening to your clients is a great way to make a connection, so always ask for feedback—or encourage it by incentivizing it. (See our bullet point above about social media—you could always offer a 20% off discount for anyone who sends you a message with feedback!) Stay connected with your clients, and definitely encourage pre-booking. Why not try to book a six-week return for your hair clients, or a monthly pedicure appointment? Those strategies can really help, because being in the salon industry means competing with everyone else in the salon industry. Also make sure to pay attention to little details, like greeting your clients, smiling, and offering a bottle of water or cup of tea. Those perks can really make people long to come back to your relaxing, tranquil salon where they’re pampered away from their everyday life.
Find a Salon Industry Mentor
A mentor can make all the difference to someone starting their own salon business. They say that the most successful salons are ones that have someone to pay attention to day-to-day operations and another person who is the creative mind behind the salon, but that isn’t an option for everyone. If you’re looking at a mini salon suite in Lawton, at the end of the day, it’ll be you who’s doing both. That’s why a mentor can be so helpful. Books and articles are great, but personalized help is better. A mentor can also introduce you to other salon industry professionals for networking possibilities!
Salon industry mentor Angie Prock runs a Salon Success Academy here at Salons de Beauté. If you’re interested in a mentorship opportunity, that’s just another reason a salon suite in Lawton might be the best place for you to launch your own salon business!
Location, Location, Location…
Success and failure can seem arbitrary sometimes, but there are a few ways you can ensure success. One of these is location. A solid location for your new salon can make all the difference when it comes to staying in the black rather than bleeding into the red.
What makes a good location? Well, you want a location with high visibility, lots of traffic, and in an area where your demographic lives or shops. Of course, the best locations may be more expensive, which is why a mini salon suite at Salons de Beauté is ideal. You’ll want to outfit your space professionally and beautifully, but it’s important to not go too crazy with décor. You’ll want to make your space inviting to the sorts of clients you want to attract, but at the same time, every dollar spent needs to be earned back. If you’re leasing a mini salon suite, however, you can probably afford to do more with decoration. Ours come outfitted with everything a beauty pro could need, and at a reasonable price.
Running a Successful Salon Business Doesn’t Have to be so Difficult
Running a small business is always going to be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. All it takes is a little planning and forethought. Good advice and mentoring can also be hugely helpful. The fact that Angie Prock runs her Salon Success Academy right out of her location at Salons de Beauté makes our location and our mini salon suites in Lawton even more appealing! Contact us today and open up a world of possibilities for making your dream business a success!
Being your own boss and owning your own business is a rewarding career choice. It’s one that often affords beauty industry professionals more freedom to explore their own personal vision of how a beauty business can best serve its customers. But deciding to take the path toward your unique dream doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel to get there. Getting a salon industry mentor can be a great way for any new small-business owner to learn helpful tricks of the trade and/or “hacks” from a seasoned professional who’s been there. Whether you need inspiration on how to expand or guidance on how to get started, a mentor can be a huge help.
Here are five ways how a salon industry mentor can be of help to you:
- You get highly-personalized advice from a mentor.
- A salon industry mentor can help accelerate your success.
- A mentor will help you navigate the pitfalls.
- You’ll begin to build your network of salon industry professionals.
- And working with a mentor will help make you money, not cost you money.
Need a real-world example of the benefits of mentoring? Look at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Did you know he was mentored by Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple? Yep! While we may have the idea in our heads that we ought to be a “self-made businessperson,” industry mentors have been helping up-and-coming businesspeople since the dawn of commerce. After all, that’s what apprenticeships were back in the olden days: an opportunity for those new to a business to learn from those with more experience. Having a mentor doesn’t mean you can’t follow your own instincts and gut feelings. Those are important to anyone who wants to succeed in small business. But people who have been there and done that can help you avoid some common—and not-so-common—pitfalls that can be sidestepped if you know how.
In the health and beauty world, there’s often a great deal of training and learning and lived practice that has to happen before you strike out on your own to become your own boss. But being an experienced professional who is up to date on certifications doesn’t necessarily equate to real-life business experience. Read on to learn more about the ways a salon industry mentor might benefit you!
You Gain Experience Not Shared in Beauty or Cosmetology Schools
Seminars, classes, books, and certification trainings are all crucial parts of becoming an experienced and knowledgeable health and beauty professional, but we all know that there’s no substitute for experience. Personalized advice from a seasoned professional who’s stood where you’re standing—and has succeeded—is invaluable. Whether you’re concerned about what to expect from an average day, week, month, or season or if you’re looking for a personalized answer to a specific question, a mentor will have experience and advice to offer. Some things have to be experienced to be learned, and even the best books will go quickly out of date in a fast-moving industry like health and beauty. Take it from someone who’s “been there!”
You’re More Likely to Succeed with Help from a Salon Mentor
Multiple studies have shown that successful businesspeople take advantage of mentorship opportunities. Do you have someone you look up to? Is it someone whose salon is #goals or whose business model seems profitable while still allowing her free time to live her life? Talking to her could be life-changing, because those sorts of mentorship opportunities are crucial to your becoming the business owner you want to be. And they increase your chances of success!
A Salon Industry Mentor Offers Encouragement and Reassurance
Owning your own business is not easy. Everything is on your shoulders. It can feel isolating and scary when you’re the one who cuts the checks. The bucks stops with you! Well, you’re not alone in feeling all that. Your mentor will likely have had to deal with the same sorts of struggles, anxieties, and troubles, and she’ll have made it through those to be successful! A good mentor will help you feel less alone and will relate to where you are by providing wisdom and solutions. Need a gut check? A mentor can provide that! Do you just need to vent and feel listened to? Mentorship provides a safe space for that. While your friends or your mom might tell you that you’re doing just fine, those words can be a lot more reassuring when they come from a respected mentor.
Your Mentor is Someone You Can Turn to When You Need Help
Everyone needs help sometimes. It can be hard to mess up, especially when your money, time, product, or client base is on the line. But accidents happen, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Your salon industry mentor will have advice for you during the tough times, because she’ll have gone through them, too. If you’re in a situation that’s unfamiliar to your mentor, she’ll know more professionals to ask about your conundrum. After all, she probably has a mentor, too, or at least a broader network of established, successful business owners who can provide answers when you’re experiencing a temporary setback or a bigger, unanticipated challenge.
A Salon Industry Mentor Can be a Strong Professional Reference
A reference you can count on is a good thing to have. Maybe you’re looking to take out a loan, or you need to sign a lease for a great location. Knowing you have a character reference familiar with your strengths and your abilities can be a big confidence boost as well as a professional asset! And we’re not just talking about a letter of reference, either. A mentor can sometimes attend meetings with you and give you on-the-spot assistance.
The Salon Success Academy in Lawton
Salons de Beauté in Lawton, Oklahoma offers mini salon suites to beauty industry professionals looking to make the leap from employee to owner. Our community is amazing here, and so is our location, and it just keeps getting better. For example, our tenant Angie Prock is spearheading a Salon Success Academy! Angie Prock has her own successful mini salon suite business, and she is currently accepting applicants for her 14-week mentoring program. This mentoring program is not affiliated with Salons de Beauté, but upon completion of the 14-week program, graduates are encouraged to transition to an owner-operated suite on-premises at Salons de Beauté!