Inside Phorest

If We Had To Run A Salon Or Spa As Of Today, We Would…

6 min

If We Had To Run A Salon Or Spa As Of Today, We Would…

This summer, a little before we launched the #30Days2Grow salon challenge, Phorest Salon Software CEO Ronan Perceval wrote an open letter to the salon industry. If you didn’t get the chance to read it back then, it discussed the current state of the industry and its deep discounting culture. By the end of it, we announced the 30-day campaign and followed up on the letter a few weeks later. This time, Ronan Perceval wrote ‘How Millennials Are Securing Your Future In The Hair And Beauty Industry,’ addressing the move from a materialist culture towards doing things that make us happy. In other words, how people are starting to value experiences more than possessions, and how to benefit from this change. Today, we ask him, and team leads from different departments to reflect on what they would do differently to what’s being done now if they had to run a salon.

We Asked Different Phorest Salon Software Departments To Imagine They Had To Run A Salon…

From time to time, I get subscriber email from The Phorest Blog. Often, the subject of the email has to do with getting help or advice -which we love and answer through Facebook Live episodes with Phorest Salon Software content manager Chris Brennan- but occasionally, we have been suggested blog post ideas! This one, in particular, came from United Kingdom resident Chris Parker, who asked: “If you had to run a salon or spa (nail, hair, beauty, cosmetics), what would you do differently to the way the industry currently works?”

We thought it was such a great question that we asked a few people from different departments, some of whom have concrete experience running, managing and operating salons!

Ronan Perceval, CEO of Phorest Salon Software

On Business Training/Coaching…

“I would tackle the lack of business training at beauty colleges. Most salon owners get brilliantly trained as therapists or hairdressers, but once they open their own place, their job completely changes to that of being a business owner. And yet, they get little or no training/coaching for that at all. In the hotel trade, for example, people go to Hotel Management courses. If there was something similar in the hair and beauty industry for people who are first starting out, I think the industry would see a massive transformation.”

Related | Should You Be The One Paying For Salon Training Courses?

Melanie Icke, Head of Training at Phorest Salon Software

On Training…

“I would train salon staff in more than just treatments and services. As in, I’d ask myself, ‘What is the client journey in my salon and what part does every member of the team play?’ I would consider all aspects; how to meet, greet and consult, so the visit feels personal, because it is! Staff turnover is a real problem, so I would always have trainees in place, but I’d make sure they really get the DNA of the business, our values, etc. Everyone would do a DISC behavioural profile and learn how best to communicate with each other, but also with clients.”

On Staff Meetings, Business Goals And Other Things…

“Staff meetings would be short, regular and compulsory, and I would have a training plan in place for everyone. I would also put the prices up regularly, never apologise for it, never discount, and teach the team to retail efficiently. Average spend is so important; in fact, if I am fully booked, it’s literally the only way I can grow my revenue. In saying that, there are lots of ways to add value.

Otherwise, if I had to run a salon, I’d ensure everything we focus on is about client retention because so much marketing just blows in the wind in the constant search for new business. I would work on cultivating and building loyalty in the database I already have. Finally, I would spend as much time on the salon (marketing calendar, reports, training, future strategy, brand negotiations, education) as I’d spend in it.”

run a salon

Connor Keppel, Head of Marketing at Phorest Salon Software

On Positioning…

“If I had the pleasure and opportunity of running a salon, I would avoid discounting and pricing based on competition. That is a rat-race. Instead, I would think about positioning. Ask yourself how premium do you want to be? Would you rather aim at a more price conscious part of the market?

Then, you need to build your business accordingly. If you are trying to be premium but use discounts or cut corners, you will most likely fail in creating that experience. Likewise, providing a total ‘wow’ experience, but trying to aim at the lower end of the market with lower pricing, means you are unsustainable. Think about the power of ‘no’. If you are trying to be premium, by its very nature, some people will say you are too expensive for them. That, in a positive way, means they understand what you are trying to achieve and the type of client you are aiming to attract. Another thing, take time to recruit properly. Meet as many people as you can before you hire and never hire ‘because you have to’, no matter how busy you are. It will come back to bite you!”

On Culture…

“Make sure you set a culture of learning. Provide training, ask for feedback on things, and let even junior people make decisions. Start with non-critical business decisions -e.g. ‘How should you decorate your waiting area?’ Giving ownership of ideas means they feel like the business is theirs too. Asking people to care is not enough.”

On Marketing And Putting Yourself Out There…

“Get some marketing training as soon as possible. If you are a smaller salon, use Facebook live and Instagram stories to bring people on your journey of entrepreneurship, no matter how old or new your salon is. People buy from people. If you share your knowledge, people know you are an expert, and most clients will want to get their skin or hair done by an expert. Getting yourself out there in this way removes ambiguity and builds trust with new clients that have never been through your door before. And last but not least, have a weekly Get-Together. Set small goals for the week. Communicate what you expect and delegate responsibilities around retail, new initiatives. Note- responsibility, not ‘tasks’.”

John Doran, Development Team Manager at Phorest Salon Software

On Communication And Sharing Values…

I’m very distant from what would be involved in running a salon, but here’s my take on what I would do in starting any business -focused on salons– given my experience in running teams.

Your salon staff should value the same things, understand what your mission is, row in the same direction with the same decision making processes. Talk to them. The only way to understand your business is by getting your finger on the pulse, having regular 1-1’s with your staff, not by sitting behind a computer trying to analyse what’s going on. You need to understand them and talk to them about their challenges and insights into the business. It’s also important to have daily meetings, a roundtable, say for everyone to say what’s going on, how busy they are, what issues they are having.

On Training And Marketing…

Your staff spend a considerable amount of time dealing with your customers. You should invest in training them on how to give the service you desire, and on what your company values are, as well as how you translate them into day-to-day work life. Training will also see staff innovate, learn new industry trends and bring things to your salon that competitors can’t. One last thing: put your salon out there, market yourself, do industry talks, get your stylists to showcase their work so that it can also promote your company.

Patrick Monaghan, Product Director at Phorest Salon Software

On Client Retention…

“For me and from what I’ve seen in how people use Phorest Salon Software, is that marketing in a salon shouldn’t be an afterthought or something that just needs to be done like housekeeping. We can see it with some of our features like Client ReConnect, where if a salon can stay in close contact with a client and keep them booking regularly, they’ll stay with the salon. This doesn’t need to be a software thing; someone can go over the client lists and check how often they come in versus when they were last in. You’ll have a much more significant impact on retention when you contact your regular clients than by trying to get a client back who’s already left for another salon.

As a salon owner, I’d have this be the primary focus of the salon outside of the customer service which is a must-have in this industry. I’d track retention and rebooking religiously, and make sure I have a constant 6-week plan for my marketing across email and SMS to keep those numbers up.”

Related | Distilling Salons’ Business Performance Down To Two Numbers

To quote Ronan Perceval, the world is indeed moving towards an experience economy. Again, this just means that businesses in the hair and beauty industry are well placed for this shift. What are you doing to benefit from this change? Let us know in the comments or as always, tweet us @ThePhorestWord and use the hashtag #runasalon!

Thanks for reading,


Featured imaged shot on location of Lesley’s Beauty Clinic, in Dublin. © 2017 Phorest Salon Software.

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