Aesthetic Business Accelerator Event Empowers Salon Owners with Business Growth Strategies

Earlier this month, ANZ aesthetic technology supplier Device Consulting hosted its Aesthetic Business Accelerator event on The Gold Coast, QLD.

The professionals-only event was designed to educate and inspire salon and clinic owners via a series of curated talks. Presentations were hosted by a range of industry KOLs, who offered advice on subjects such as how to effectively operate an aesthetic business, how to increase profits, and how to successfully recruit.

Professional Beauty’s Hannah Gay attended the in-person event.

Here are some of the best pieces of advice we noted throughout the day:

Know the core principles of business

Deb Farnworth-Wood has spent 18 years in the beauty industry. Over the years, Deb’s name has been linked to as many as seven businesses. She was the founder of $70 million franchise, Australian Skin Clinics, and is today recognised for her work leading Issada Cosmeceuticals and Mineral Makeup. Issada was Australia’s first-to-launch mineral makeup brand, and has since built a stockist network of over 350 nationwide.

Deb introduced the day’s presentations by outlining the four core principles of business to be:

  1. Knowing your customer
  2. Providing what your customer wants and needs
  3. Ensuring the customer has a reason to return
  4. Ensuring the customer wants to return. Deb said, “this is where businesses struggle most; you want to keep the magic alive in the clinic.”
Deb Farnworth-Wood

The entrepreneur admitted that early on she had struggled to secure bank loans and space in shopping centers, and was told “laser was too taboo a topic” to focus a business on. “I did cheap laser because there was a gap in the market for cheap laser,” she revealed on launching Australian Skin Clinics.

Deb advised business owners to avoid “the copycat mentality,” and to focus on their own paths. She said Issada recently launched its skincare line at a clinic in Fiji.

The entrepreneur listed a series of mistakes she sees business owners make:

  1. A lack of clarity around their customer preferences. “Find your niche; what’s relevant to your demographic,” Deb said. “There’s no such thing as ‘my client is everyone’. Clients are not on the same budgets, and they don’t have the same concerns. Spread your eggs across a lot of baskets.”
  1. There’s no clear unique selling point (USP). Deb suggested leaning away from the customer perception that “it’s just another salon/clinic.” Find your specialty, instead of trying to offer everything.
  1. A lack of consistent, clear client pathways. Take note of every seemingly small detail around the client’s needs and preferences. Introduce your client to every other team member working in the clinic so the client feels like a member of the family.

Do the maths. How many of your enquiries are converting to consultations? How many of those are then converting to treatments? “Create a contingency plan, and plan for progress checks.”

  1. Working outside of your genius zone. Don’t try to compete in a field you don’t need to.
  1. There’s a lack of staff buy-in. “Deal with new ideas as a team when one staff member feels they know more or better. Monitor team performance and fit.”
  1. Failure to adapt to a changing environment. “4000 hair and beauty businesses closed down over COVID.” How did your business adapt?

“Price is not the issue. Lack of value is the issue”

Nicole Montgomery, Aesthetic Coach and Device Consulting’s Head of Marketing and Events, presented an engaging talk encouraging business owners to “think about their worth.”

Nicole advised guests to break down their hours in the day, and consider how much time is spent on every given task and how much it costs to complete each task. She advised that increasing a treatment rate by as little as 10 percent can make for huge profit increases come year’s end. 

“Nurturing your current clients is more important than attracting new clients,” Nicole advised; a recommendation that featured throughout all talks that day.

Nicole Montgomery

Nicole suggested guests consider ‘what’s your lead magnet?’ “Ensure you always include a call-to-action and consider how this is measured” when marketing a business’ goods and services. “Think about content – how are you creating touch points for clients? Improve brand awareness, enhance customer loyalty, and create a competitive edge.”

“People will spend 140 percent more if they have a positive experience versus those who don’t. The more you learn, the more you earn.” She also advised that people want exclusive opportunities and limited offers; “make buyers feel special if they buy.” “Offer events and demonstrations. Close the sale at the event! There is more urgency and scarcity.”

Nicole’s three tips on how to up your profits as a business owner were:

  1. Increase volume
  2. Increase average transaction value
  3. Increase frequency of repurchase – get more residual value out of each client.

How to navigate the recruitment maze

Boots and All Consulting Managing Director, Lizzy Boots said “HR is PR.”

In 2024, staff prefer a good work-life balance over a higher pay, Lizzy advised. Job seekers also have the competitive advantage; “business owners need to be agile.”

Lizzy reminded guests that candidates are Googling them; they’re looking at reviews and mystery shopping the workplace before applying for roles. “We need to treat our candidates and employees the same way we treat our clients.”

Lizzy Boots

She also warned business owners not to expect too much of their therapists. “Check in with your staff every three months or so. Send employees regular newsletters that encourage them to speak up if they have any concerns.” Lizzy’s recommendation was to seek to maintain great talent within the business, as opposed to sourcing talent elsewhere. It also costs less to keep the employee you already have.

When sourcing new talent, Lizzy also recommended business owners rehearse how to conduct a great interview.

Market your business effectively online

Alicia Hagan was Brisbane’s first mobile spray tanner. Today, she operates Mint Peach Media, providing digital marketing strategies to emerging businesses. 

“Even though marketing has changed over the years, the mythology is the same,” Alicia explained. She recommended business owners identify the problem at hand for customers, and position themselves as the solution.

Alicia Hagan

Alicia said women aged 45-54 are the best converting customers. For urban salons, she advised businesses practice geo-targeting social media ads to within a 3-8 km radius, and up to 40 kms for rural salons. To avoid Facebook advertising rules, Alicia’s tip was to run before-and-after images in comment sections instead.

People will search for salons based on pain points, as opposed to treatment/device names. Focus on marketing one specific area or treatment to get bums on seats. Then, upsell them once in-clinic, Alicia suggested.

Viewers of social media are there because they have a fear of missing out, not to be sold to. “Instead of giving discounts to clients, offer a voucher.” Alicia said the ideal treatment offer is around the $199 mark. Anything less will bring you a lot of lackluster leads.

Shift clients’ wants into needs with the right language

Neil Osborne, Director of The Sales Catalyst, reminded business owners that people are often willing to spend more money than anticipated. The right language is vital in communicating effectively with clients.

As soon as they walk through the door, Neil said staff should endeavor to re-frame a client’s bad mood by asking three “yes” questions before the consultation commences.

Neil Osbourne

“You need to make clients understand that you understand,” Neil said. “We don’t teach selling, we teach persuasion. People trust people who listen to them.” Ask open-ended questions for every client ‘want’ that is presented to you.

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