A recent study asked more than 200 health, beauty, hair salon, and spa owners across the world to list the biggest challenges they’d experienced while running a health and beauty salon. We know you’ve probably already read that article. For a while there, it went viral, and everyone was reposting it. But just in case you missed it, are new to the salon business, or prefer an “executive summary” of long articles, we’re here to talk over the highlights with you!
The results of the survey weren’t particularly surprising if you’ve worked in the health and beauty industry for any length of time. What’s surprising is that most of the problems listed in the survey are easily managed, if not completely eliminated, by considering the mini salon path instead of working in or trying to own and operate a big salon. We all know that owning and operating your own salon suite in Lawton allows you to keep more of the money you make while setting your own hours, but those are the topics of a different blog. For now, let’s focus on the five biggest challenges faced by health and beauty salon owners and discuss how they can easily be overcome!
Managing and motivating staff. Salon and beauty industry owners agree that staff issues are the number-one challenge faced by health and beauty salon owners. Nearly 50% of respondents said that managing and motivating staff was the hardest part of their jobs, a statistic that’s no surprise to anyone who has ever worked in a managerial position. We all know how hard it is to stay motivated for work, much less motivate others, especially when you’ve had a few long, hard days or you’re tired from your own responsibilities. The fact is, staff will rarely share the same enthusiasm for their workplace that an owner or manager does. And absentee workers are just a fact of life in business, causing both disruptions to your schedule and a hit to your establishment’s reputation. It’s also difficult to get your employees to sell products if there isn’t a benefit to them to doing so.
Of course, when you run your own mini salon suite in Lawton, you don’t need staff. You power your shop with your own dedication and enthusiasm. You won’t ever get a call that someone hasn’t shown up to work, that someone broke something, or whatever else. You won’t have to deal with payroll, and you keep your sizeable markup on product sales.
Finding New Clients. The second biggest difficulty that salon professionals experienced in their field was finding new clients. Now, finding new clients is a big challenge for anyone, from freelance writers to tattoo artists to salon professionals. Regular readers of this blog know we’ve written about this topic more than once, because there’s a great deal of value in using social media and other ways of promoting your business to get the word out about your salon, its services, and its products. In this interconnected world, we can easily reach out to others. Asking your clients to tell others is another great way to build your list. Nothing builds your client base better than positive word of mouth. Always remember, people love to share positive experiences and excellent resources! They’ll likely prioritize it, too, if you ask.
Retaining Your Clients. The flipside of that is that people also love to share negative experiences, maybe even more than they love to share the positive. Think about it this way: There are two important aspects to retaining clients. Positive experiences will keep your clients coming back; negative ones will drive them away. But even the best salon experience in the world may not result in a repeat client if you don’t stay in touch. Stay in contact with your clients via social media and individual messages, such as an emailed newsletter or text with an offer. There are a ton of great options when it comes to bulk messaging about appointments, specials, and products. A free moment spent contacting clients about a special or open appointments can really result in a big paycheck.
Salon Maintenance. Maintenance is a huge problem faced by all business owners. A shabby or dirty salon will drive away walk-in traffic and make regulars think things aren’t going too well. Broken equipment, old décor, unswept hair, or unclean bowls are signs of something going wrong. The good thing is, it’s so much easier to keep a mini salon suite tidy, bright, and fun than it is to manage that at a larger salon. A small space is clean and neat in a jiffy, and you’ll save on expenses by doing it yourself. You won’t need to hire a janitorial service for one of our mini salon suites, and given that it’s your space, you can decorate it to create any atmosphere you like.
Product Sales. The last of the big concerns for salon owners and managers was moving product. Product sales can be an easy way to generate revenue for salon owners. There’s a big markup on styling products and other items, but many people won’t be automatically interested in buying from you. Amazon exists, as do other stores, so it can be hard to get that sweet extra revenue. Employees often won’t step up to the plate when it comes to sales, especially if there’s nothing in it for them. But when you’re the boss of your mini salon suite, it’s in your best interest to always talk to your clients about your exciting, unique products.
It’s true that small-business ownership is no cakewalk—even if you run a bakery. There are pitfalls and sticking points, but here at Salons de Beauté we believe that education is empowerment. Now that you know the biggest challenges out there, you can meet them head-on as you run your mini salon suite!
Salons de Beauté is renting mini salon suites to stylists and other health and beauty industry workers who want to be their own boss. Contact us today and find out about our reasonable rates and other benefits!
Marketing on a budget is something everyone does, whether he or she is the sole proprietor of a mini salon in Lawton or the head of a huge multinational corporation with a team of accountants, lawyers, and marketing/publicity people. Budgets are set—and sometimes blown—but having one is something everyone does at every level of business ownership. Most small businesses don’t have an annual marketing budget with a fixed number or percentage of revenues dedicated to advertising and marketing, but smaller businesses need to see what they can afford when the need arises. The good news is advertising your small business has never been easier now that practically every electronic device we own has access to the internet. Promoting your mini salon has been simplified by our cultural love of social media and just being online in general. You can use that to your advantage! Pair inexpensive online marketing with a few other wallet-friendly advertising methods and you’ll see results.
Create Listings for Your Salon Business in Search Engine Directories. Maybe you’re tired of hearing it, but there’s a reason we keep saying it. Making sure your salon in Lawton can be found on Google and the other major search engines is the most important thing you can do to get your name out there. And it doesn’t cost a dime. Google and Bing both offer free listings for any business. To get listed on Google, go to Google My Business. To get listed on Bing, go to Bing Places for Business. All you have to do is fill out some information about your mini salon suite, such as your operating hours and contact information, upload a few cute pictures, and that’s it. You’re done. You never have to do it again. It would behoove you to update your pictures as you add flavor to your mini salon, but after you register your business, you’re done with the crucial part: making sure prospective clients can find you.
Already Posting Pics? Have You Tried Video? People love to post pictures to social media, but video is the newer craze. Videos are all over the place. It doesn’t matter if they’re posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Snapchat, videos get attention. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 10-second video is worth a dozen still images. If you’re not an amateur videographer, don’t worry! You already have a smartphone in your back pocket or purse, and that’s all the equipment you’ll need to create a video for your business. Just use it to shoot some video of your place when you hang a few new items on the walls, or have someone shoot video of you while you’re doing what you do best. And if you can shoot an educational or instructional video, that’s even better. Ask yourself how many of those “nail your winged eyeliner every time” videos you’ve watched on YouTube. Or what about those cooking videos on Facebook? You know you’ve watched someone show you how to make baked spinach artichoke dip ravioli or some such. Chances are, you know what we’re talking about, so leverage that for your business! Show viewers how to do a cute updo, some sort of nail technique, or a best stretch for people who work at a computer.
Guerrilla Marketing in the Streets. Foot traffic is real. While it seems like everything is online these days, it’s still true that an eye-catching sandwich board or poster in your salon window can bring people in the door. Window art and window displays bring people in the door, especially if you’re locally focused, and a sandwich board can reveal specials, boutique services you alone offer, and more. Bring your flavor to the sidewalk in front of your shop, and as we head into the summer months, why not put a dog bowl with water there, too? It’s a nice service to offer people, and you never know whose curiosity you might pique as they stop to read what you have to offer.
Offer Bonus (Discount) Points for Sharing. These days it’s surprising when a company doesn’t offer a rewards program. Coffee shops, hardware stores, grocery chains, shoe shops, cell phone companies: Everyone seems to have their own card or app that lets you earn rewards by using the service. While giving away your time for free is no one’s dream, inspiring loyalty in your customers boosts your revenue over time. Picking rewards that don’t cut too deeply into your bottom line can be a process of trial and error, but in the end it’s worth figuring out how to further incentivize your customers to choose you.
If you’ve done any online shopping, you’ve also likely encountered referral bonuses. Many sites will give you a discount code to share with your friends that will then bestow upon you a discount or bonus. Giving your customers a financial reason to tell their friends about you helps everyone!
Text Messaging for Openings and Specials. The vast majority of Americans walk around all day with a smartphone of some kind. Even if your clients are those holdouts who have traditional cell phones, they can still usually send and receive text messages. If you already have your clients’ mobile numbers for appointments and reminders, they’re perfectly okay with you sending them messages. Why not use their number to get in touch about last-minute cancellations, discounts, and more?
Go BIG on Client Reviews and Testimonials. They used to say the proof was in the pudding, but these days, the proof is in your reviews and testimonials across the internet. Review sites such as Google, Facebook, and Yelp can encourage business or drive it away. (If you get a negative review, know how to deal with it: we wrote an article about that too!). Start asking for reviews, and don’t let up. Customers definitely notice when reviews are old, and they wonder about your business when there are no new ones, so encourage your clients to post them. You can always give an incentive to post a review as part of your rewards program, as we mentioned above!
Stick with It. You don’t need a million-dollar budget to promote your salon in Lawton. No matter what you do or where you do it, when you’re actively promoting your salon suite business, you’re slowly building your brand—and your client list!
It’s one thing to dream of leaving your day job at the mall salon or corporate massage studio in the strip mall, and it’s another thing entirely to do it. We understand that. It’s intimidating! Starting your own salon in Lawton is a huge step to take. But while there’s no way around that, you don’t have to do it alone. There are people who will help you on your journey, people to whom you can turn in order to have a better chance of success. This month, everyone is flocking to theaters to see the Avengers assemble for the last time, so it’s a great time to talk about assembling your own team of superheroes to support you on the way to founding a small business and being the owner of your very own mini salon suite!
An Accountant to Help You with the Books and Taxes
Did you ever wonder who the Avengers’ accountant was? No? Well, think about it! Who made sure Tony Stark could pay for all the planes and weapons and super suits used by the team? Without all that stuff, many of the movie superheroes we know and love would be just pretty-okay heroes—if that. That’s why we put an accountant at the top of this list.
All businesses need money to survive and eventually thrive. If money matters seem dizzying, hire an accountant to help you make a budget, handle your various taxes, and take a look at your business plan to ensure you’ve got the best chance for success. If computers aren’t your thing, your accountant will help you set up software to keep track of your day-to-day and month-to-month finances. Tax season will be annoying but not painful with an accountant helping you out. While you might only see your accountant a few times a year, their role in your life as a small-business owner is nothing short of indispensable.
A Mentor to Show You the Ropes
Sure, Thor may be the god of thunder, and the Hulk a genius scientist who transforms into an enormous ultra-powerful monster man, but they both still need Nick Fury to guide them and help them be part of the greatest superhero team of all time. Mentoring is crucial to the success of any venture, from running successful salons in Lawton to saving the universe. When you’re ready to get serious about starting your own business, talk to people who have been there. Get some experienced advice, and make sure it’s from someone who’s not out for your money. It’s not a bad idea to hire a paid consultant, but that’s not what a mentor is. You’re looking for someone who is independent from you, someone who doesn’t want to see anything except your success, and someone who can give you advice for years to come. Talking over your business plans with your friend who just started her own salon business is great, and her fresh eyes are going to be a wonderful resource, but you also need to discuss things with someone who has years more experience than yourself. You want someone who’s “been there” and who can give you advice on how to weather the storms of small-business ownership.
Your Banker to Help You with the Accounts
The creative side of salon ownership is what attracts many of us to small-business ownership in the first place, but we also need to consider the financial side. Most small-business start-ups, including salons in Lawton, require obtaining a small-business loan through a bank or credit union. Borrowing money is a stressful process for most of us, so if you plan to apply for a loan, make sure you have a banker you trust on your side. Your mentor might have a good recommendation, or you could ask other local business professionals you know. Seriously consider a credit union instead of a national bank, even if your personal account is with a national bank. Local or even regional moneylenders are often better at serving small, local businesses because they know the area and the local market. Your banker at a credit union may well be more interested in finding you the best ways to do what you want, including finding the best interest rates, and will often move more quickly than a national bank.
Your Significant Other for Everything Else
What is a significant other? Maybe it’s a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or domestic partner. Maybe it’s your best friend who’s always there for you. Whoever this person is, don’t forget to consider him or her a part of your team. Your significant other is your champion, your confidant, your cheerleader, your go-to source of support, your sounding board. He or she might even be your first customer.
But remember, while you should be able to rely on your significant other, you need to make it clear that he or she is not just all these roles to you. Make sure that you’re providing mutual support and that you’re there for him or her when you’re needed, too. At the same time, be open and honest about what you need so that your significant other understands what a big deal it is to start up a health and beauty business, whether it’s a mini salon suite in Lawton or a full-service day spa in Oklahoma City.
Are There Other People You Should Know?
Avengers: Endgame has every superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming together to save the world. There are a lot of surprises: call-backs to characters you may have forgotten who perform a crucial role at the right time. Is there anyone like this in your life? Think about other people who can help when you take the plunge into small-business ownership. It will be handy to know someone who has marketing experience, especially using social media. Product reps will be a great resource, as will an attorney to help you answer any legal questions that may come up, secure licenses and permits, and help you with contracts. Lastly, you might want a good relationship with the property manager who helps operate the facility in which you’re setting up your health or beauty salon. Here at Salons de Beauté you can rest assured knowing we understand your needs and your situation. We’re here to help you!
Productivity. It’s practically the defining word of our age. Everything must be “productive” in 2019, from our main lines of income to our side-hustles to even our leisure time. It’s gotten to the point that now when we’re having a fight with a loved one, we call the conversation “unproductive” when it gets out of hand. Because of this, countless books, articles, and listicles have been written on the subject of productivity, more than you could ever read and still be “productive” in any area of your life, much less all of them. Don’t worry, though—here at Salons de Beauté, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. We’ve read the articles, we’ve perused the books, and we’ve put together the top five ways to make your workdays at your salon suite in Lawton more productive than you could possibly imagine. Read on!
Plan Your Day the Night Before
It’s not easy, but planning out your days the night before is one of the most often recommended tactics for increased productivity. We know, we know. Most of the time when you get done with your day at your salon in Lawton, you just want to clean up, close up, and go home to chill on the couch with a glass of wine and the next episode of your current favorite Netflix Original. But if productivity is on your mind, try taking just 15 minutes at the end of the day, after you’ve turned the OPEN sign to CLOSED and locked up, to think about what you need to do the next day. Open up your planner or your calendar app, read over your appointments, make a little list of any errands you need to do that you shouldn’t forget about, such as ordering or sales tax, and then head home, knowing you’re prepared for whatever tomorrow brings. Preparing yourself the night before also makes it easier for you to stick to healthy goals, such as hitting the gym or eating breakfast, instead of using your morning time scrambling to play catch-up.
Leverage the Power of the To-Do List
It might sound pretty basic, but the to-do list is one of the most powerful tools of highly productive people. It’s simple, specific, and effective because it not only helps you keep track, it helps you prioritize by moving things up and down the list. It also helps you keep your mind where it needs to be. By updating tomorrow’s list at the end of your day—just like we were saying above—you allow your mind to leave work where it belongs and enjoy your much-needed personal time. It’s also fun and satisfying to cross things off!
Commit to a to-do list. You can do it on paper, or you can use a to-do list app on your smartphone. It doesn’t matter how you do it; just do it, and do it every day. If that sounds excessive, think about it this way: Isn’t it easier to get to the gym when you do it every day? It’s when your schedule becomes irregular that it suddenly seems so much harder to pull on the gym tights and hit the elliptical runner for half an hour. Make to-do lists a daily practice, continuing it even on calm days. That way you’ll be in the habit of it when things get hectic, as they always do.
And really, if a to-do list is basic, then why is it so hard for most of us to remember to write things down?
Work Two Hours Before the Start of Each Week
This one you may not have heard before, but as crazy as it may sound, it has real value. Scheduling two hours into your day at the start of each week to take care of some piece of onerous busy work that needs to be completed is one of the best habits you can get into to up your productivity. Why? Well, we all know how easy it is to put off things such as writing all your social media posts for the week, balancing your checkbook, ordering product into your salon, or sending reminder emails or thank you cards to your clients. In fact, we’ve talked about that here on this blog before! By reserving 8-10 AM on Monday morning (or whenever) for completing some specific, unpleasant task, you’ll get it out of the way first thing, and it’ll be in your rear-view mirror all week. You’ll feel good about having it done rather than letting it loom over you. And it’ll free up your mental space to devote to other things!
Give Yourself Permission to Disappear
Your time is precious, so remember that during the workday, you need to be focusing on business and clients. Even if you have a free hour from a no-show, devote that time to your business. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t check your personal email. Don’t put something off to go have lunch with a friend. And stay off social media, especially your personal social media! FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is real, but so is the fact that there are only 24 hours in the day. Use them wisely.
LEAVE IT AT WORK!
If there’s a more popular buzzword for 2019 than productivity it’s boundaries. But really, boundaries are so important. Set them and guard them. And while this is great advice for your personal life, especially as it regards that one friend or that former lover, it’s also great advice for your business. Balance is key for those who own their own mini salon suite. You have to be able to leave your work at work. After you close up shop, that’s your time—time for you, your friends, your family, whatever. You must give yourself time off in your hours off. You’ll be more productive in the long run if you allow yourself to be unproductive sometimes!
Let’s just face it—the modern world is a stressful place. For example, it’s almost impossible to do just one thing at a time. When you’re shopping you’re also sending texts and making phone calls. When you’re watching TV you’re also scanning social media. When you’re at work you’re mentally planning a girl’s night out or your kid’s next birthday party. And when you’re done for the day you’re thinking of all the little things you need to remember to do tomorrow for your salon in Lawton. Even with apps that claim to help us organize and stay focused, we’re still always pulled in a thousand different directions all at once.
Being a small-business owner means you always have something to do. But it’s like what they say about getting older: It’s better than the alternative! If you’re the kind of person who wants to own her own salon, you know the benefits: being your own boss, setting your own schedule, and answering only to yourself. The stress of business ownership is a price that’s worth paying.
That doesn’t mean you have to suffer, however. There are strategies you can use to keep your feet on the ground while experiencing the whirlwind of modern life in addition to small-business ownership. A chaotic, stressful work environment causes even the most serene among us to be unhappy, unhealthy, and make poor choices.
Charge What Your Health and Beauty Skills are Worth! If you take one thing away from this article, make it this! We’re putting it in here first because we think it’s the most important. Charge what you are worth! Nothing creates stress like being low on cash and feeling helpless to change anything.
Talking about money is tough, and talking to clients about money is tougher! In this economy, everyone is looking for the cheapest option around. But you’re not the cheapest option. You’re the best. Maybe you’re not the best in the world—there’s always room to grow—but you’re the best at what you do. Charge accordingly. Maybe it’s awkward to raise prices or to stop including a service you used to include, but in the end, being able to pay your bills month after month is what’s important.
Maybe it’s time to think about prices. What’s the bare minimum you can possibly charge for your time? What would you like to be paid for your time, realistically speaking? What are the average prices in your area? And don’t forget to factor in the cost of your products, including occasional expenses such as getting your scissors sharpened or replacing your massage headrests.
Stop Multitasking at Work. Running a business means needing to quickly switch gears sometimes, but the goal should actually be to only do one thing at a time. Studies have shown that for most people, multitasking actually reduces overall productivity. Multitasking often means that everything takes longer, and sometimes it means everything gets done in a slapdash or inattentive fashion.
Try not to bounce around from one little thing to another all day. Emergencies will always take precedence, sure, but the best way to do things is focusing on one task at a time.
Keep Track of Your Salon Clients. Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes.
Look, everyone has those clients who, for whatever reason, really take it out of you. Maybe it’s that client who grouses about everything. Maybe it’s that client who makes weird remarks that always catch you off guard. Working with people is hard! There are amazing things about it—we all agree on that—but sometimes a difficult client can really derail your day.
Know who’s coming through your door next. If you use any common calendar app to keep track of things, color-code difficult clients so they stand out. Write notes to yourself about what they like and dislike so you remember for next time, and so on and so forth!
There’s not a lot you can do with a difficult regular except be prepared. Even top salon professionals have clients they like more or less or keep for reasons of social status, et cetera. Grinning and bearing it is all part of the job, so why not end your workday by reviewing your appointments for the next day? Being prepared will reduce your stress!
Keep Your Cool. Salon work is creative work, which means people don’t always understand how stressful it is or why it can be so hard sometimes to keep your cool when things get tough. A national business magazine (that shall remain nameless) once stated that hairdressing was “one of the least stressful jobs in America.” Obviously, this is utter nonsense from someone who’s never worked in hairdressing or any other salon work, really. We provide personal experiences. Things can get personal. So when they do, remember to take a deep breath, use your reason, and think before you speak. Don’t take things personally. Be the bigger person and take it out on the floors later when you’re sweeping up!
Do Take Care of You. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Whatever sort of service you provide for your clients, you need to make sure you’re at the top of your game every single day.
Professional athletes eat right, exercise, and sleep to keep themselves in top condition. Well, you use your body every day, no matter what sort of mini salon in Lawton you’re running. You need to get your beauty rest, eat your protein and vegetables, get away from your desk and outside into the fresh air, or take in a yoga class. You have to do it for you. No one can afford to take time off for stress-related problems such as injuries or mood swings. Take care of yourself now so that you’re still doing what you love in the future!
Go Your Own Way. If you need to leave a stressful situation, follow the advice of the Fleetwood Mac song. Salons de Beauté is a great place to experience the freedom of having your own mini salon suite in Lawton. Salons de Beauté has everything you need, whether you’re making the leap from working in a salon to small-business ownership or you’re looking to downsize your salon to focus on what you love. Contact us today!
Let’s talk about bad habits. We all have things we do (or don’t do!) that might not seem like a big deal once in a while, but then once in a while becomes frequently, and then frequently becomes… well, you get the idea. Bad habits are just that, bad, but it’s easy to justify some more than others. The thing is, any bad habit, once it’s really a habit, can cause significant damage over time. That’s true of things like not flossing, avoiding the gym, or not changing the oil in your car, and it’s also true about the little things you let slide with your salon business, too. It may not be clear at first just how badly things can go when you leave the little things too long, so let’s take a look at a few common bad habits that health and beauty owners often fall prey to and why you should try to resist them.
Failing to stay in touch with salon clients. The health and beauty industry is all about contact, about connection. When you’re providing hair care, skin care, manicures, or massages, that personal touch is crucial. Building a real relationship with your clients turns them into regulars, but often that relationship doesn’t extend beyond the salon. No matter how intimate a conversation might get during a service, once that client walks out the door, we health and beauty industry professionals are often out of sight, out of mind. Staying in touch with clients when they’re not in the chair can fall by the wayside when your focus is on the clients who are in the chair. That’s understandable! At the same time, it’s not that hard to stay connected with your regulars. Try taking some time once a month to send a thank-you note through the mail or send a message over social media with an offer or information about a new product, service, or new hours. Those things make a big difference. If you’re in the business of creating regulars, staying in touch is a must, even if it’s tempting to use your time away from your clients for other purposes.
Not actively selling beauty products. Of course you’re already stocking your favorite products for those customers who wish to use them at home, but are you really selling them? Getting lazy about moving your stock is another bad habit. The markup on salon products is a great source of revenue for everyone in the health and beauty industry, from big box stores to your salon in Lawton. Why not encourage your customers to buy from you? Take some time to organize your product shelf, spruce it up with some seasonal décor, or do whatever you need to move your stock. And a little talking-up would never hurt, either, especially if there’s some rad new product a regular would love to know about! After all, most of your clients are relying on you for beauty advice.
Ignoring salon client reviews. First things first: 90% of consumers read online reviews before deciding to visit a business. No pressure! Customers trust personal recommendations, but they’re more likely to spend money at a business that has positive reviews. Make sure you don’t develop the bad habit of failing to ask satisfied customers for a review. It can be awkward, we know, but you know if they’re happy or not at the end of a service. And when you know they’re happy, remind them that a positive review really helps you get the word out about your salon in Lawton. But that’s not the only bad habit you can fall into while running your own mini salon suite. You also don’t want to disregard negative reviews. Sure, sometimes bad reviews are just mean and you can blow them off, but if you see reviews that address legitimate issues, well, reach out to those clients, too, and try to resolve the complaints.
Not taking the time to clean up your salon space. Sweeping and mopping can be a drag, but nobody likes to walk into a messy salon. Take the time to clean up, wipe down, re-organize your merchandise, and get it together. Don’t get into the bad habit of putting off tomorrow’s dirty duties. If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean, as everyone’s awful old bosses used to say. Sad thing is, they were right.
Making it difficult for salon clients to pay you. While it can be annoying to keep up with every trend in payment (we’re still amazed by people who pay for things with their watches) there’s an old saying in business: never make it difficult for clients to give you their money. Best practice is to get a POS that accommodates everything. Take cash. Take checks. Take cards. Take Apple Pay. Take it however you can get it. Don’t know how? Talk to your banker and other salon owners.
Going into business for yourself can be scary. You may not know if you’re engaging in bad habits right away! But at Salons de Beauté in Lawton, you have a great opportunity to learn and grow as a small business owner without being overwhelmed by a huge salon. Contact us today!
When you’re a stylist, the winter holidays are a great time for making money, but they’re not a great time for much of anything else. You and everyone you know in the beauty industry will be working completely ridiculous hours. You’ll see all your regulars at least once, to say nothing of all the extra walk-in traffic. Everyone wants to look their best for that holiday party, after all!
Trying to fit in your own shopping and socializing can be a real struggle at the holidays, as can finding time to spend precious moments with your family or working on your salon business model. Please don’t take this article too much to heart for now. Come back in early January after you’ve finished off the eggnog and champagne and are ready to start those resolutions, because that’s what we’ve got for you here today: Salon Owners’ New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you have an enormous salon at the mall with many chairs or you’ve just made the jump to owning your own mini salon suite in Lawton, these will help you and your business thrive in the coming year!
Prioritize Work-Life Balance
They say to pay yourself first. It’s also good to make time for yourself first. (That’s why this one is the first on our list.) All work and no play sure is a recipe for failure over time, especially because the work day for a health or beauty industry professional doesn’t always start at 9 AM and end at 5 PM, nor does it always obey a Monday-Friday schedule. With odd hours, repetitive physical motion, and long stretches on your feet, you must make time for yourself if you regard salon work as a career, not just a job. Resolve to exercise and to recharge your batteries, whatever that means to you. Put a Zumba class in your planner, schedule drinks with friends, make time to sleep 8 hours. You cannot run the business if you’ve run yourself down. Make it a priority this year!
Make a Salon Business Development Plan
It’s true that we live in an electronic age. Even so, writing things down makes them, well, real. Business development experts across all industries are hammering the importance of making plans, setting goals, listing things you need to accomplish. The truth is, when you see everything in front of you, it’s a lot less overwhelming. When you have a plan, you’re acting instead of simply reacting. And when you can see where you’ve come from, you’ll know better where you’re going. Keep a written record of how your plans worked out or otherwise. Doing analysis will help you use your resources wisely in the future!
Communicate Better with Your Clients
When you work in the salon industry, you have to be a good communicator. That said, there are always ways to improve! All of your clients want to leave your space feeling their best, but the similarities end there. Do you know who wants to grow their bangs out, who is going through a divorce, or who is trying to graduate in the spring? The thing that turns clients into regulars is communication, so make communication one of your 2019 goals. Remember what your clients say about their personal lives as well as about their personal health and beauty goals. Build a relationship. See where it goes!
Promote Your Salon Business Regularly
While we’re talking about communication, here’s something that takes little effort and costs next to nothing but can earn you a lot of dollars in the long run: Promotion! People can’t walk in the door if they don’t know about you! We know how hard it is to make the time to promote your salon in Lawton. Those tasks always seem to get pushed to “the next day,” but this year, make promotion a priority. Make a plan and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to use social media. It’s your easiest and cheapest option for marketing and promotion, so spend some time there tooting your own horn instead of retweeting or reposting someone else’s.
Learn Something New
It’s interesting how education is such a major part of our lives when we’re younger, and then it seems to taper off as we grow up, get jobs, and settle into adult life. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and it shouldn’t be, especially for people working in the health and beauty industry. There’s always something new to learn when you work in the beauty biz, whether it’s a new technique, a new style, or a new product. Figure out a way to stay up to date this year. You could subscribe to an industry periodical or even gather with other professionals to discuss new and exciting trends in a monthly coffee-and-conversation group. Or you could simply take a class!
Keep a Better Watch on Your Money
This isn’t as much fun as taking a new class or posting your greatest hits to Instagram, but it’s so crucial. Money in the bank is power. Money pays for rent, supplies, marketing, advertising, décor for your mini salon suite in Lawton, and the gas in your car. Resolve to keep a closer eye on your funds. Maybe download your bank’s app to your phone so you can bank and even deposit checks on the go. Maybe separate your personal and business banking accounts. Reach out to an accountant to handle your taxes and payroll.
Drop What’s Not Working
Some things aren’t worth the trouble. Some battles aren’t worth fighting. This year, make like Elsa and learn to “let it go.” Unreliable supplier? Find someone else. Client who won’t keep her appointments? Tell her you’re booked out for the foreseeable or implement a cancellation policy. Maybe your current marketing or advertising just isn’t returning on your investment. Try something new! Or maybe the problem is where you’re working. If you’ve been stagnating at a job in a salon where you can’t achieve your personal and professional goals, it may be time to start your own salon business in Lawton!
Start the new year off with a bang and open your own mini salon suite! Salons de Beauté in Lawton is a great way to transition from being a stylist in a chair to a small business owner. Contact us today!
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!