What you change can result in a great holiday

By Faye Murray

How many times in the last part of 2008 did you hear or read a media report that was talking gloom and doom, seriously giving you six good reasons to stop spending? Guess what? Your clients have been influenced by the same reports.

This should, by all accounts, mean that every beauty salon in Australia should have experienced a downturn in trade. Well I have to say that this is most definitely not the case. Many have had a fantastic year with good growth.

Why are many in our industry not feeling the effects when others are or, more accurately, why are most of our salons and spas not being affected? The answer is: women still want to look and feel good. They will put on hold the new lounge, dining suite, the new kitchen or the trip to New York. “My six-weekly pedicure, waxing and facial are a must, not a luxury! I always have them.”

So, if people are still spending on looking and feeling good, what have you done in the last six months that is different in your salon or spa that gives your clients a reason to buy from you rather than your opposition?

Two good questions to ask yourself:


If you can’t come up with at least six things, I guarantee that you are one of the salons experiencing some cash flow problems. You must constantly offer change to:

1 Attract new clients
2 Keep existing clients interested and excited

You might like to consider some of the things I have seen salon owners implement in 2008, or that I have suggested, which have produced a positive result.

Streamlining the treatment menu
Every 12 months you should change your menu. To analyse and decide what changes are needed, put your treatments and services into five categories:

1. Must-haves – the everyday things that people always buy
2. Any treatment that you have done very few of in the last six months
3. Your most popular special treatments
4. Average sellers that need a different explanation or better value to the client
5. New treatments or a combination of treatments that you want to introduce

Gather your information and then change what is not working on your menu.

Tip: If you have the same menu that you put together two to three years ago it’s way past change time!

Mailouts versus email communication
Operating a successful business in 2008 has been about increasing sales and decreasing costs. That’s nothing new. So here is something that you absolutely should be changing. I have seen progressive salons avoid expensive mailouts and work at developing a good email database. You will not capture all your clients, but every year your email base will get bigger. A lot of salons now send as much communication as possible via email. This is moving with the times.

Many years ago a method of communication was the telegram and if you had suggested that one day it would become obsolete, people would not have believed it.

A question that I am constantly asked is: “When can I afford a receptionist?”

The right person filling the role at reception can be one of the most valuable assets you have, but often it’s a luxury many medium and smaller-sized salons find hard to justify. A trend in 2008 that has worked has been to choose a receptionist that has two quite specific skills:

1. Makeup artist
2. Good computer skills

The introduction of a good makeup range combined with the skills of a proficient makeup artist can work well. You can really promote your makeup services for special occasions, quick finish off services after facials, makeup lessons and makeup events. I have seen salons really develop their makeup services into a profitable salon area instead of what was often the case – an expensive makeup stand that occupies space but doesn’t generate any income.

The “good computer skills” person allows a salon owner to step back from the marketing area and delegate this to someone who is more proficient. These two things will assist in creating a cost efficient and productive receptionist.

Marketing your business
What have you changed with your marketing? Clients are looking to buy more value, but you don’t want to discount or offer specials – I agree. Value is not about how much money you can give away to win a client. Value is about what they get for their money, so be sure to change the perceived value that you are offering to your clients.

Some “must-dos” for 2009
Don’t give me the same birthday letter that I got last year – change it.

Newsletters – Busy people don’t have time to read long communication. I suggest you move from newsletters to what I call info news – one page only, but there are some rules:

1. Always have one to two images on the page
2. Include one reason to buy (not always discount or specials)
3. Include two to three short education bits that clients will find interesting
4. Include one warm and fuzzy. This can be a story, quote or a short piece of something really interesting (no boundaries for this)
5. Tell me upfront how long it will take me to read. For example, “Your Lotus Salon info news this month takes 3 minutes 54 seconds of reading time”.

What have you changed about the way your salon looks?
Step outside your salon. Take a photo and put the date on it and keep it in a prominent place. You should change your salon image every eight weeks. If you forget, the date on the photo will remind you to make changes. Changing your image does not mean spending a lot. Some good ideas that work towards a “today” image include:

1. Use light boxes and change the image to match your current promotions
2. Check your lighting. Is the inside of your salon brighter than the businesses around you? Do you stand out?
3. Get rid of the clutter – it’s too confusing. One window, one message.
4. New soft furnishings – they don’t cost a lot but can be a great change.
5. New uniforms – is it time for a change?

We live in a constantly changing world and we embrace change as consumers. So for your salon business, change is not an option, it’s a necessity.

In 2008, business success has been driven 30 per cent by what is new. That is one of the things your clients want to buy.

Often, when I am coaching with a client we will discuss the reward or benefit that can be gained from a change they make in their business that produces a positive result. Over a 12 month period it can result in many hundreds or thousands of dollars and I believe a great way to put it into perspective is to say: “That will pay for a great holiday”.

What a great reward! Managing your business well, applying change equals a great holiday for you and your family. That is, after all, why you own a business, to make a profit to enable you to have a good lifestyle.

To find out how you can become a client of Your Coach and get some great ideas on what you need to change in your business contact one of the coaches now. Don’t forget to register for your free monthly marketing and business tips on the Your Coach website www.yourcoach.net.au. Contact: Faye Murray (all states of Australia and New Zealand): 0409 342 653, Lisa Ezzy (Vic): 0407 159 389, Dianne Ford (WA): 0417 982 637, Kym Krey (Qld): 0403 042 312.

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