Tell us how COVID has helped the beauty industry unite.
There were so many social media pages and groups popping up with free advice which have been supplying amazing support without any sales pitch attached to sign up for more advice. 
For the average salon, navigating through everything from understanding the restrictions to JobKeeper allowances, government grants and safety protocols would have been impossible if it weren’t for companies offering free online advice and Facebook live events to help navigate these grey areas bit by bit and by answering countless questions online. 
At Professional Beauty Solutions we decided early on that we were going to offer free support to our salon partners and for anyone else who was interested. We launched a series of free daily live webinars which were designed for salon owners and teams to upskill during lockdown. Running daily for five weeks, this was the perfect opportunity to learn from our beauty and business experts as they shared their wealth of knowledge. Covering a wide range of topics including business, product knowledge, and advanced skincare treatments, we also hosted a number of Facebook Live sessions covering JobKeeper and how to create systems in your business to really optimise your recovery after restrictions were lifted.

Matt Williams believes that sticking together will help the beauty industry servive the pandemic.

What is the one takeaway lesson as a business leader you have learnt?
In times of crisis you need to take responsibility, communicate frequently, decide and act quickly and adjust to the new situation. It might seem odd to say take responsibility, because a pandemic is obviously outside of anyone’s control but as the leader you are responsible for how you steer the ship through the storm.  Your team will look to you for reassurance especially in times of crisis and uncertainty and I am not talking about remaining positive… you can’t sugar coat things during a crisis, but you can act decisively.  I heard a great leader explain recently that, ‘managers manage the known and leaders manage the unknown.’ That certainly has been true throughout the last four months.

Tell us one of the biggest changes you have made to your business during this time.
Through necessity we have moved from face to face meetings to now conducting online meetings. We will of course go back to face to face meetings, but it has been amazing to see how productive our team has been over online platforms like Zoom, and our clients have loved it too. Moving to more online meetings means that we can actually support our clients better with more frequent contact and we can offer so much more support through online training and education. 
I would add that we looked carefully at every expense when our industry was restricted from offering services and the result was interesting. I am usually very careful with expenditure, but when things get critical you take a closer look and we certainly determined that we could run a bit leaner than we were prior to COVID-19 hitting.

This article first appeared in the August issue of Professional Beauty magazine. Download the issue here.

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