Salon business expert, Liz McKeon, tells us how to fatten up the skinny trading months of January and February
An essential part of planning for the new year is tying up any loose ends from the year before. It’s important to use your experiences from this year to help you decide the direction your salon will take going forward. Doing this will help you make better business decisions. If you know exactly what you want to achieve, then you can be ready to implement your short-term goals during quarter one of 2024.
The end-of-year opportunity can add a lot of pressure to an already hectic period, as it’s instrumental to the financial success of your year and can fast-track your growth. However, it’s also important to be prepared from a leadership perspective.
The higher the stakes, the busier and more stressed out your employees become. But, if you can empower your team and lead with empathy, you can not only finish the year strong but also give yourself a huge advantage going into January and February.
Be an empathic leader
Success is driven by your team, especially in December. This also has the potential to make it a stressful time for them. Your employees can’t take care of your business if they don’t feel taken care of.
Set clear KPIs
Talk about key performance indicators (KPIs). This encourages employees to focus on work that has a real impact on your business. It’s the best way to empower your team to prioritise their to-do lists, as it gives them a solid reason to say ‘no’ when they don’t have time for extra clients and helps them understand and invest effort where they get the best results for themselves and the business. KPIs keep people accountable. Most importantly, they give your team a sense of belonging.
Improve customer service
Clients are more likely to make another booking and purchase when they have enjoyed an excellent customer service journey. Focus on making re-bookings for January and February in December. Run a staff competition and whoever gets the most rebooks for the new year in December gets a bonus or a prize.
Keep on marketing
Keep busy with your marketing during December, even though your salon is probably fully booked. This will mean you stay on your client’s radar over the festive period. All business strategy is marketing strategy – your ability to attract clients determines your success in business. Your goal is to position your business in your market as the only choice for what you sell. A great marketing plan attracts a steady stream of clients, it emphasises your unique selling point and positions your business as the first and best choice in the client’s mind.
Set financial goals
This is an important way for your salon to stay on top of your real progress and monitor its financial health. Now is the time of year when businesses assess their financial performance over the past months, make needed adjustments, and set new goals for the year ahead.
Allocate time in January
Review all insurance policies, premiums and coverage. Managing your business with the comfort of knowing you are covered in the event of any disaster allows you to focus on revenue and growth. Not having the proper coverage could destroy your business if an unexpected trigger event requires a claim to recover losses, so don’t overlook this annual task. Schedule it as a new year priority job.
Don’t forget about profit and loss
Take focus on building financial reserves. Small business owners need to understand their profits and losses and manage their budgets to allow for financial reserves for future quarters. With the uncertainty of cashflow, make sure to revisit your expenses, have extra cashflow and secure a line of credit in case of an emergency. Schedule a January meeting with your advisors to make sure you are on track.
Look to reduce expenses
Review your finances from the previous three quarters. What are your expenses? Can you reduce them anywhere? It’s essential to be proactive, not reactive with your finances.
Take the time to be prepared for the festive selling season and your sales figures will reflect your hard efforts. Just remember that whatever progress you want to see in the new year starts right now!