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This is an interesting question Neil and one that I am tempted to bounce right back at you, but I realise that does not help. I presume it’s your work representing a brand that takes you away from the salon regularly. Although this is often good for your personal development, it can often be challenging for the development of your business.

In the eyes of your peers this type of work can raise your profile; in the eyes of the customer it makes you a part-time stylist. One that is often not there when they need you. In the past, I have found it hard to build and maintain the clientele of a part-time stylist because of this. 

So how can you overcome this and keep your clients loyal? I believe that the best way is with strategic marketing and systems. The marketing I am referring to in this instance is technically self-marketing. 

Not to make you feel good, but to make you clients feel good about the fact that they are actually one of your clients. 

Whatever it is you do, it must benefit and raise the profile of your business otherwise why would you do it? Be proud of it. Shout about it and make your clients, both existing and potential, aware of what it is you do and why you do it or have been chosen to do it. Your clients should value you and you should become a highly priced, highly valued, and therefore sometimes rare, commodity. Then you need systems. Systems to keep your clients aware of you, what you do and also to ensure that they never leave your salon without booking their next appointment. Maintain contact between appointments and remind them seven days ahead, one day ahead, and again on the morning of their appointment so that they never fail to show up. My final question to you would be this: what is your long-term goal? If you have a strong and reliable team and your salon is highly profitable and can support you when you are not there, then congratulations! External work can enhance your business but often it robs your team of your support and guidance and your clients of your presence. There is no right or wrong, it’s a choice.

Ken West is director of business experts 3•6•5 – email him on KenW@365Hair.com

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