Salon business expert Liz McKeon explains what’s next on the agenda for salon owners now that summer is over
As summer draws to a close and we face September – the final part of the year– it is a good idea to look at your salon with fresh eyes for a new season. Occasionally, your salon needs a good review to improve your company’s performance and service to your clients.
Clean up your finances
The first place to tidy up a business is to get all your finances in order, making sure that you are managing your cashflow on a daily and weekly basis.
Clean up your website
Go online and objectively assess how fresh your salon’s website is. This is your company’s online brochure. It doesn’t have to be an extreme makeover but get rid of stale content. Determine the key goals for the site, is it to direct sales and enquiries to your salon? Gather salon news, media articles and relevant links to upload immediately, based on your salon’s new priorities.
Clean up your database
Your salon database is one of your company’s most important assets. Use it to your full advantage; record every client’s details, keep it up to date and use it to stay in regular contact with them.
Keep your tax affairs in order
This is an unavoidable salon owner’s requirement, lodge all paperwork on time. If the business cannot meet its tax obligations, then get in touch with Revenue quickly or ask your accountant to do this on your behalf. Sort it out, and get back to running your business, without any unnecessary stress.
Get much closer to your clients
Review your business through your clients’ eyes, prioritise issues for improvement and gain competitive advantage by giving clients what they really want. Consider doing this by running a ‘client survey report’ which:
- Provides feedback on how they see your salon
- Highlights areas for improvement
- Proves to clients that you care about their opinions
- Helps you to listen to your client
- Keeps you up to date with competitor’s strengths and weaknesses
Create a clear vision for your salon
Vision is so much more than management jargon, it really does help to drive the salon forward because it provides energy and direction, and a common understanding of where the business is going. It also enables all staff members to work out how they can personally add value to the salon.
Clean up your image
You never get a second chance to make a first impression! Take an objective look at your business, what image do you portray to both regular and potential new clients and is that image in keeping with your vision for your salon? If it is, great, and if not, then it is time to raise the bar and improve your standards in every aspect of the business from the exterior to the look of your workstations, to the image of your team, to the layout of your reception, to the merchandising of your retail area and the quality of every service you provide.
Improve your time management
Make a daily ‘to do’ list, it helps to do the tasks you dislike first. Also, learn to say ‘no’ when required and get better at delegating. Never handle documents more than once. Instead, deal with it and get it off the desk. This is my mantra for handling paperwork – TRAF – Toss, Refer, Act or File – only do one and only once!
Make time for yourself
You, the entrepreneur, are the most important success factor in the business. It is vital that this success factor is maintained. Making time for yourself is an art, and like every art, it requires practice. You may be worried that making time for yourself will affect your performance within the business. However, the reverse is true, when you take better care of yourself, you become happier and more productive, so planning frequent breaks and regular downtime will bring more business to your door. As the business owner you can choose your hours. Choose them to make the most of yourself. However pressurised your business, you need to take some time out to unwind. Without this, your will eventually burn out. Allow your batteries to recharge and you will come back to your business better able to make it succeed.
Use autumn to review, reconnect with and adjust your long-term goals for your salon. All business is cyclical, use this time to spruce up on all your business strategies and your salon, as you gear up to capitalise on a fantastic end of year season.
Liz McKeon is a salon business expert and founder of the International Salon Business School