Coronavirus has hit the beauty industry hard, so it’s vital as business owners we start to think of ways to get our business growing the minute lockdown eases.
Here are 10 ways to make sure your prosper:
1. Be ready to open: that may sound obvious but how much notice will you get that you are able to re start seeing client’s and how long might it take you to have your premises/mobile operation running amidst new guidelines. Think about what additional sanitation may be required, do you have it?, where will you get it? You may need to rearrange your premises shop floor, if so, how will it look, where might you store excess furniture etc.Are your staff ready? Do you have stocks/supplies for all your treatments?
2. Make sure you have kept your clients: have you been in touch with them?, have you been contactable to your clients and do they know that you are open or when you will be open? Communication and relationship building are key with your client’s during lock down. Remember that 50% of your new client’s will be referrals from existing client’s, so make sure that you are giving such a great service and support that your client’s will be delighted to be ambassadors for your business.
3. Look ahead: now is a great time to be financial planning. Do you know what you need to make over say the next 6 months to clawback what you have lost during lock down? Do you have a plan on how you will achieve that increased revenue? Do you know how many treatments you need to be providing week on week to break even? What do you want to achieve in your business and what are your SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound) objectives to achieving that growth? Are you marketing your current and potential clients right now? What are you looking to achieve with this marketing and how will you know if it’s working? What is your 12 month marketing plan and how will you measure. Its success?
4. What are your current opportunities?: a time of crisis always presents opportunities if you are open to seeing them. You have been given the opportunity to have time out (albeit enforced) so use that time wisely to build your client relationships, increase your client numbers, plan your finances and marketing. What can you do to stand out from all the other similar service providers? Is this a chance to do your business in a different way? Does it get you out of an overpriced lease perhaps? Does it give you a bond with other service providers giving you a network which may help you grow your business. Can your business go in a new direction? Can you upscale your operation or reduce it? Have you gained new training opportunities that will allow expansion of what you offer?
5. Review your current business outgoings: ok all savvy business owners should be doing this anyway, but do we? When did you last change energy providers? negotiate a new rent payment with your landlord, do an honest stocktake of your supplies and be ruthless on what you reorder. Have you considered using different more energy efficient lightbulbs? switching your car to a more economic model or even an electric if you are mobile? Do you pay for marketing? booking systems? Internet provision etc. start off writing down every single outgoing that your business has and then look at which you can potentially switch, lose or negotiate on. And most importantly act on it.
6. Team up with another service provider: this could be a takeover, as in you buy them out or put in place a plan to do so over a period of time. Maybe you can team up with other shops (fashion boutique, florist etc) to promote their business and in return they promote yours. Could you join up with another salon and half outgoings for you both? Do you see mobile providers being a more attractive proposition for clients in the future and if so, are there any you could reach out to who may look at working for you or with you, allowing you the scope to offer at home appointments.
7. Make sure clients know you are open: as soon as lockdown eases it’s important to let your clients know that you are open for business and to advise what open for business now means. This may be extended hours, different premises or new prices. Whatever this looks like for your business make sure your clients know. It’s useful to have your client list to hand and to be able to text or email them the moment you have a date to open. This allows them to get their appointments booked and not go looking elsewhere. Encourage your clients to book all future appointments in advance, not only does this work for your client in securing the booking but also demonstrates how busy and in demand you are, which is always a very attractive trait in business. You may sweeten this idea with a discount on block bookings, no price rise guarantee and waiver of any deposit fees. This keeps your diary full and allows you a more accurate financial forecast.
8. What’s your niche: I’ve spoken about the importance of having a niche in previous blogs, but now more than ever it’s important for you to stand out. Do you offer a treatment that no one else does? or could you? do your premises have something that client’s value such as location or free onsite parking? do you offer specialist coffee and pastries? Whatever it is make sure that your clients know about it and know that to get it they need to come to you.
9. Invite pop up stores: this can be a great income generator as well as a great networking opportunity and exposure to new clients.Examples can be a fashion boutique where clients can browse some clothes rails and maybe buy during their appointment, maybe jewellery or candles or even a florist pop up. If you have a local online retailer would they welcome the exposure that doing a salon pop up might provide and similarly could they invite their online client’s along giving you exposure.
10. Be motivated and inspire others: even though times are tough right now this is your chance to shine. Can you be a community leader rallying other to support each other, making sure your clients are ok, supporting local charities etc. Keep upbeat and talk about future plans. Make sure your staff say upbeat and think forward about what great things this opportunity to reflect will bring. See it as a way to grow and inspire others to do the same.