Competition in the salon industry is tough. It takes more than having the best beauty products, top-notch services, and efficient processes to succeed in this industry. You need to have all that and on top of it all, have great salon management strategies. It is through effective management of your staff, resources, and clients that you’ll give your business the much-needed competitive edge.
Effective client management entails attracting new clients, managing bookings, and retaining existing ones. Effective staff management entails running a well-oiled team of hairstylists, cosmetologists, or nail technicians. And with resources management, it is your job to ensure that your salon has all the products and equipment needed for the optimal client experience. That’s a lot of duties and responsibilities for one person.
Because we don’t want this job to drive you into a frenzy, please join us as we explore 6 ways of taking your salon business management prowess to the next level.
- Hire the right people
Never delegate hiring duties to anyone, no matter how much you trust them. Always ensure that you are actively involved throughout the process of job postings, shortlisting of applicants, and during the interviews. Make sure that you understand and approve the final hiring decision. That way, you can be confident that your new employees fit well into the existing team, are the right fit for your business culture, and that they will succeed under your command and guidance. Note that a potential employee can have all the skills and education your salon needs, but still be incompatible with the workplace environment you want to cultivate.
The personality and social skills of your perfect candidate should match your brand personality. If your brand is fun and professional, for example, you want a candidate who is fun to hang out with but who also knows how to stay within set professional boundaries. You want candidates who can manage their time effectively. You want candidates who can patiently listen to people’s (clients’) rants for hours on end and not get distracted. You want candidates that are open to constant learning and retraining, and who match your training methods. Most importantly, you should hire candidates who match your energy and enthusiasm.
Bottom line: Hiring the right people is the first and the most critical step of creating a well-oiled team.
- Personalise client management
Part of your job as a salon manager is to attract new clients, retain existing clients, and in case you lose clients to competitors, it is your job to get them back. That is why many salon owners will agree that client management is the hardest part of the job. The good thing is that you are almost guaranteed success in client management if you personalise all interactions clients have with your business. Just to give you an idea of how personalization works, here are a few ideas for you:
- Reward your loyal clients with personalised gifts and offers:
If you intend to reward loyalty with free merchandise, for example, ensure that the merchandise you send each client matches their tastes and preferences. If it is free treatment, give clients the freedom of choosing the treatment they deem most appropriate. If you intend to reward loyalty with discounts, personalise these offers e.g. by giving birthday and anniversary discounts.
- Provide membership programs:
Clients who join your membership programs get services at discounted rates, which may seem counterproductive, but then their membership yields repeat business. Membership programs make clients feel special, and that helps boost your overall bottom line. It’s a win-win.
- Referral marketing:
Give clients referral points and reward them when they refer a specified number of paying clients. For every client you get through referral marketing, you gain a loyal client in the form of the client who referred the new client.
- Personalise communication:
Personalised promotional messages, season greetings, and newsletters appeal better to clients than generic mass emails/texts. During your follow-up calls, call clients by name and be equipped with information regarding their beauty pain points, treatment history, and product preferences. Clients feel seen, heard, known, loved, and wanted when you do that.
- Lure new clients in by introducing “happy hours”:
These are for when business is slow. Your “happy hour” clients will be addicted to your services and gradually grow into regular clients.
- Automate where possible
Running a salon or spa is a lot less hectic when you use salon software to automate some of your daily management processes. You can automate, for example:
- Booking and scheduling. Minimise pressure at your front desk by giving clients control over their appointments.
- Inventory tracking and reordering.
- Product recommendations. If your software has a suggestive selling feature, it will automatically recommend appropriate retail products to clients based on their appointment and purchase history.
- Email marketing. You don’t have to keep writing new email communications to remind clients of pending appointments, wish them happy birthdays, or alert them of new products/services. Your software will do that for you.
- Payroll tracking and generation.
- Loyalty program management.
- Feedback collection and client surveys.
- Where you can’t automate, delegate
Automation can’t cover all the bases. That is why you should delegate where possible.
If you look hard enough, if you give them the chance, you will find talents in your team who are better than you at some administrative tasks. For example, one of your staff members could be a better telemarketer than you. Delegating follow-up calls to them would not only relieve you of draining phone duties but also help your business retain more clients and grow revenue.
Effective delegation means appreciating and rewarding your top talents when they excel at delegated duties. It also entails evaluating and guiding employees to help them grow into their delegated roles. And because some delegated tasks are harder or less appealing than others, you should make a habit of rotating employees around the different tasks you decide to delegate. Most importantly, know when to pull the plug. If an employee can’t get the hang of it within a reasonable timeframe, maybe they were not cut out for the role in the first place. Reassign their delegated duties but make them understand that you appreciate them for taking the initiative.
- Be good with people
For starters, ensure that your communication skills are impeccable. Your staff, customers, and vendors all have different personalities, so conflicts and misunderstandings are to be expected. You must be the bigger person, the moral campus, and the voice of reason whenever these conflicts arise. You must be professional and impartial when solving conflicts in order to maintain a positive vibe in the salon. That’s how you will earn everyone’s respect as a leader.
Your training skills also need to be top-notch if you are to succeed at training and retraining your staff. Note that for optimal results, you should be the one to educate new recruits on your workplace policies and procedures. You’ll also need to retrain the team every time there is a new styling technique, beauty trend, or product. Good trainers are knowledgeable, hands-on, resilient, patient, and empathetic. They also lead by example; they train by allowing their expertise to filter down to stylists. That’s exactly what you need to do if you are to succeed as a team leader.
- Know your finances
You are in charge of growing your salon’s bottom line. You, therefore, cannot wish away numbers. The good thing is that your software does most of the heavy lifting for you, from payroll management to inventory management. But the little work that remains is also critical for business success. To succeed in money matters:
- Come up with clear performance indicators (KPIs) for the salon and then analyse employee performance against those KPIs. Without the KPIs, all your performance assessments are mere shots in the dark.
- Have a clear financial plan. Know your average weekly revenue and overhead costs and then create a detailed weekly budget. That helps you pay bills in good time, seal waste loopholes early enough, and manage your profits better.
- Revise your pricing structure and wage bill to align with your set budget. Note that for your salon to run profitably, your weekly wage bill should not exceed 35 % of your weekly turnover. Your pricing structure, on the other hand, should account for possible excesses in time and product usage per appointment.
- Take a salary or commission like everyone else as opposed to keeping all profits as “your money”. The profits belong to your business, not to you.
- Hire an accountant to help you with tax, employment, and other legal compliance practises but don’t take your eyes off the prize- the money!
Managing a profitable hair or beauty salon is a tall order for many. Don’t worry if you are having a hard time trying to figure it out. And now that you have taken the initiative to improve your business management skills, you can bet on getting the hang of it sooner or later. Keep marching on!