Having opened F&M Hairdressing in 2001 with my business partner, Kevin, we had experienced the recessions, supply shortages and of course the occasional dip in demand, however we would never have thought a global pandemic would force us to close our doors for over 8months.
Fast forward to mid 2021, we have worked tirelessly in order to survive and ensure all our staff remained in secure positions, worked out our finances and relooked at our structure, tailoring this as we see fit in order to survive.
However, we are not of the woods yet and below I share with you my top tips on surviving 2021 and business life after lockdown.
Control Your Cash Flow
Although this sounds like a simple task, taking full ownership and control of your own cash flow is vital. Figures for the last year will be drastically less than ever before due to the closure however bills still need to be paid.
Take the time to sit down, look at your incoming and outgoing figures – you will be amazed at things you can cut out by taking time to look at the figures. Every penny saved is a positive, especially in the current climate.
Look at your Pricing Structure
This is a task many salon owners dread, as they feel they will encounter backlash if they raise their prices. Like many, we have a yearly review of our prices, taking into account the product prices, the amount used and of course the rising cost of living. This year, the inclusion of PPE and the excess colour used for those who hadn’t visited the salon in so long had to be taken into account and was a huge factor in our price increase.
We communicated this with our clients and 99% were in full support of our increase. We had encountered 2 negative comments re the price increase, however we spoke with the clients directly, explained the reasons behind this and they were happy and very understanding once informed.
Communicate with your Brand Partners
The key to a successful salon business is having great relationships with your suppliers, after all, they provide you with the tools to carry out your service.
Hold regular meetings with the suppliers, be honest about your current position and see how they can help you – you will be surprised at how supportive they can be. They may offer you a better rate or perhaps some new incentives to attract new and loyal clients back through the doors once again.
Don’t forget to Retail
Retail sales can absolutely help your financial situation, and is such a simple way to increase profits. Due to restrictions, we reduced our retail area in the salon however came up with a new strategy to showcase our offerings to clients in a much more subtle way, Throughout the salon we created small product displays, which allows the client to view different products as they progress through their salon journey.
We’ve received a lot of great feedback, with clients explaining they don’t feel as overwhelmed with all the choice. Our stylists of course recommend the products they use throughout the appointment too so it’s a win-wins solution!
Invest in Salon Software
Salon software is a great way to take control of everyday tasks and also prevent a loss in incomings. We are very fortunate to work with Shortcuts, who have been a great help to us before, during and after lockdown.
Our software allows us to remind clients of their appointments – which has resulted in a reduction of no shows and cancellations, it allows us to add notes to the client profiles so we can make their experience all the more special, whist remember the little things and it allows us to stocktake and run financial reports – which is a huge time saver!
Yes, be social! Social media is the worlds number one marketing tool and it is vital that you use this for your business. Whether it be to showcase your services, promote a certain stylist or just for brand awareness, it’s a toll that should be used.
We work on both Instagram and facebook as we have clients of all ages that use different profiles. It’s a great way of keeping in contact and keeping you at the forefront of their minds. We also tend to use this to market offers as we get a great uptake via this strategy.
Immerse yourself in your local Community
Support local and they will support you. In a time where so many businesses are in need, this simple, supportive task is everything. We are already a huge part of our community and work with small businesses both in our local community and smaller businesses in different regions, in order to help them maximise their reach and vice versa.
Brand awareness will increase along with potential new customers and clients. Share their information with your clients, stock their items (where possible) and of course recommend them!