Come back even bigger after the lockdown

As we enter into yet another month marred by the Coronavirus, it might be hard to imagine the day that our industry is free to re-open its doors and welcome back its customers. But when that day comes – and it will – salon owners are going to need to be ready to go, even bigger than before.

There’s no denying that it will have been a tough time, possibly the toughest in your business’s history, but how you’ve spent that time will determine the strength of your comeback.

Be a strong leader
Being a good leader is the key to success, both when business is great, and when it isn’t. Thanks to the Morrison Government’s recent announcement of the Jobkeeper subsidy, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to keep your staff employed throughout the pandemic. Even if they’re not physically going to work, use the time to speak with them via Zoom or Skype, ensuring that they’re healthy and managing on an emotional level. If possible, conduct remote staff training, sharing techniques and skills, and furthering your staff’s understanding of the business. “There’s the concept of ‘peacetime CEOs’ and ‘wartime CEOs’,” says business analyst Nathan Sinncott. “Peacetime CEOs focus on the big picture, empowering their teams to make detailed decisions, with strong focus on career development. Wartime CEOs focus on fast decision making, little handholding and fighting immediate threats. Many businesses are presently at ‘war’. Being able to make fast, sensible, strong decisions will help settle and inspire your team.”

This too shall pass
Other countries have proven that restrictions will eventually be relaxed, and economies start to recover. Businesses will reopen, and money will start coming back in. “The good times will return. Acknowledging this and allowing it to inform your decision making is important. Don’t shed staff too fast or turn-off all marketing. Your ability to fight back, sell and deliver your service/product will be hampered when that time comes,” says Nathan.

Avoid slashing prices
It counts counter-intuitive to hold your prices when you know you’re going to need to attract business. However, Nathan recommends avoiding a situation of trying to survive by being the lowest price. “This strategy could be damaging down the track, perhaps because you’re unable to profit this way, or you may have to build an image as a low cost provider, finding it difficult to return to normal pricing later, when the crisis is way behind you.”

Know your numbers
Spend this time getting to know your overheads very intimately. Identify ways in which to trim costs without compromising on the quality that your customers have come to love and expect from your salon.

Love your customers
Keep them in the loop; tell them your re-opening date, take bookings ahead of time and thank them for their patience. “Understand that your customers have likely also been through a tough time, and be transparent about how grateful you are that they have come back to your salon,” says Nathan. “By doing so, you’ll re-build a loyal customer base.”

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