You’ve put in the hours; you’ve mastered your artistry. Now it’s time to reap the rewards of your hard work and see real success.
Thriving salon businesses don’t become successful by accident. Pure passion for succeeding goes a long way, but we know now more than ever that grit and determination need to be underpinned by strategy and planning to really hit the success stratosphere. Knowing the key results you are striving for is the first step in levelling up your business. Whether you’re prioritizing getting more clients, zoning in on retention and rebookings or if increasing your margins are your biggest business priority, Phorest has identified the seven key steps to creating and maintaining a booming salon business in 2021.
Make every visit count
Never in our living history has consumer behaviour shifted quite so drastically as it did throughout 2020. What emerged on the other side was some permanent changes to how we run our businesses and how our clients behave when booking salon services. In some instances, this might mean reduced capacity or a longer time between appointments. In short: it’s never been as vital as it is today to make every visit count.
Listen to Meabh Quoirin, CEO & Co-Owner of Foresight Factory on the topic and subscribe to the Phorest FM podcast to get new episodes weekly!
If you haven’t already done so in the last 12 months, you can follow these 10 tips to raising your salon prices without losing clients. It’s essential to know your worth and know the true cost of each of your services to make sure you are charging what you should. You should also take steps to reduce no-shows to protect your business and increase your profit per service, just like Element Salon owner Jason Facio did by 34% when he started using an intelligent color management system in his salon. Even offering online booking or a spa/nail/hair salon app to make booking as easy as possible for clients is a great way to make the experience professional and easy for clients.
Supercharge your brand
Returning and new customers are obsessing over brands like never before — with a wealth of options and a constant barrage of buying opportunities on and offline, our relationships with the brands we choose go as deep as those with our closest friends. Your brand sets your salon apart and will be the reason your clients will be willing to:
- Spend more with you (would you pay less for the store brand soda or pick up the one you know you love?).
- Drive loyalty (if you’ve ever bought the same hair or makeup brand twice, you’re with us).
- Create that gold standard emotional connection with your salon.
Ensure you’re doing everything you can to live your brand values, then reinforce it 24/7 and get your brand on your clients’ phones as frequently as possible. Social media is your friend when it comes to amplifying your message. Whether you’re still getting to grips with foundations of salon success on Instagram or are ready to start generating a substantial return on investment with a paid social strategy, if your brand is not in front of existing and potential clients, you’re losing out on dollars in the register.
Maximize your online presence
It’s been creeping up on us for the last decade, but it has recently accelerated to a new high: your online real estate is officially now more important than your actual location. If you’re not sure how your salon is performing in the digital world, take this short and simple Online Health Quiz and find out where you’re outdoing the competition and what your technical Achilles’ heel is. Even when it comes to word of mouth recommendations, more than 70% of people still check out a business online before making a booking, so managing your Google rankings and boosting 5-star reviews is a surefire way to get you to the top of any new client’s list. When Amber and Chet Pope of Salon27, Arizona, started managing their online reputation with Phorest, they saw an instant boost in business:
“Right away, we saw massive improvement with our online visibility and reputation. In one year, our online reviews have skyrocketed, and that has driven 25% more new business. We cannot wait to see what the next year brings; we know it’s going to be good.”
Aside from that, research done by Phorest Salon Software in 2022 uncovered that online booking was the preferred method of booking for salons and spas across Canada, meaning that having a spa/nail/hair salon app or salon booking system on your website and socials is vital to snap up those appointment bookings even when the salon is closed.
Strengthen your strategy
In 2021, a trend has emerged called “presence-free living”. This means we can expect to see consumers starting to put a premium on proximity and growth in innovative tools that make presence unnecessary. More than ever, brands need to earn customers’ visits. A downward trend in the frequency of visits is, in fact, already being observed across the salon industry. But that doesn’t mean you need to panic. According to salon business coach Steve Gomez, the secret to success in 2021 and beyond is knowing how to shift perception and bridge client traffic gaps with additions to your business. Strengthening your approach in these areas will ultimately strengthen your business plan and drive success. Prioritising organisation with a spa booking software can make all the difference when organising this in your business.
Motivate your team
The power of the team makes a comeback in 2021, with salon businesses favouring this model, benefiting from the ‘in it together’ approach. That doesn’t mean, however, that leadership comes easier. In fact, taking a Leadership vs Management approach could be the forward-thinking salon owner’s point of difference when it comes to driving a young team to new levels of individual and collective success. Jill Higginbotham, owner and founder of J Michael’s Spa & Salon in Louisville, Kentucky (@jmichaelsspasalon) and Eufora International Business Educator, believes that focusing on fundamentals like delegation and staff development can create a simple and executable transformation for salon teams, while salon leadership expert and founder of Talent Match Stefanie Fox found after interviewing thousands of salon owners that willpower and waypower are the keys behind the most successful teams. Remember, the team you stand behind is a direct result of the quality of your salon management style.
Be authentic and inclusive
According to the Harvard Business Review, 2020 truly challenged brand loyalty, with factors like sustainability, trust and social responsibility becoming increasingly important to consumers. And while your salon has always stood over its excellence in service, your clients are looking to connect with excellence in values more and more. Consider your approach to issues like sustainability and whether your salon is fully inclusive. While the professional beauty industry has always been considered a safe space for people within the LGBTQ2S＋ communities, many still have a long way to go with education, acceptance and understanding. Working to eradicate homophobia, transphobia and discrimination according to race, sex and gender in salons worldwide, Kristin Rankin has made it a huge part of their career to teach business owners and hairstylists how to create a space that feels safe and welcoming to everyone through The Dresscode Project. In this podcast episode of Phorest FM, you can find out more about creating safer spaces for all clients and hear from salon owner & educator Lauren Wilde on the importance, meaning and the day-to-day of running a gender-affirming salon space.
Make Wellbeing Work
Finally, none of your strategizing or team-building will come to fruition if your physical and mental wellbeing is suffering. While many of us are trying our best to look into 2021 with hope and display great emotional resilience, there is no denying that the mental health effects of the past year are prevalent for everyone in the salon ecosystem; from owner to team to the clients that walk through the salon doors. Podcaster, educator and hairstylist Dawn Bradley offered this advice on creating healthy personal and business boundaries when salons first reopened, and it’s worth bearing in mind as we buckle down to make 2021 the greatest comeback year ever:
“Have a long-term mindset. Own it. Creating boundaries is not about shutting a door in someone’s face; it’s about closing a door and guiding them to where the open one is.”
Thanks for reading! Got feedback? Let us know in the comments below. #TogetherWeGrow
Phorest Salon Software currently powers over 9,000 salon and spa businesses globally, with 155,000+ salon professionals using the system every day. Phorest is offering every salon owner the opportunity to take a free Online Health Assessment and provide a personalized report on bringing your business forward in 2021.