Business Featured

How to effectively pivot your salon offerings | Steve Rowbottom

March 30, 2022

Totally pivoting stuff – How to effectively pivot your salon offerings, post-pandemic, to future proof your business by Steve Rowbottom, Co-Director, Westrow and Revlon Professional’s Business Development Ambassador.

Myself and my business partner, Marc Westerman, opened our first Westrow salon 35 years ago in Leeds, on 1 April 1987. It goes without saying that things have changed immeasurably since then, with two recessions and a global pandemic along the way. We now have eight Yorkshire-based salons and an educational academy in the centre of Leeds, and while our business was formed with a love of the craft at its heart, agility and speed of response has always had to be a key element of our business DNA and never more so than now.

Over the last two years our industry has had to adapt and react, to pivot not pause and while entrepreneurs are always regarded in high esteem, when it comes to pivoting your business, nothing is always as it seems. Often successful inventions were the byproduct of something different, from Coco Cola (a syrup cordial originally made to help headaches and hangovers) to Bubble Wrap (originally sold as wallpaper and to insulate greenhouses) many well known product offerings have had to pivot hugely to become what they are known for today. What this highlights is that while necessity is indeed the mother of all invention, exciting business innovation can often come from unique (and sometimes stressful) origins. 

What’s also clear is that a shift in mindset is always key; mental challenges and obstacles always need to be overcome in day to day business when things are going well, but when faced with challenges, it takes discipline to keep level headed and in clear sight of your long-term vision and goals.  

As business owners, we all feel a sense of purpose from this vision, but if you’ve felt as though you have nothing left to give after recent events, it can feel like a loss, of spirit and discipline. In my opinion passion fuels business way before any profit does. If you feel your business passion waning, it’s important to look at it through a different lens. One of my favourite quotes is “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Often we have the tools to hand, it’s about reigniting and readdressing, re-evaluating and reassessing.

Heres how to allow yourself to pivot, post pandemic, for a passion before profit approach to your business: 


Managing change associated with growth is a hard but essential part of running a business and change is the only constant a business owner knows. Reacting and adapting to your customers’ evolving needs should be a key driver in your model, post-pandemic. At Westrow we always assess, reassess and then address, dealing with problems as they arise.


Financial fragility has been highlighted aggressively for many salon business owners throughout the pandemic. It’s clear that expecting the unexpected pays dividends. Look at how you are prepared post pandemic, versus pre, and take steps to achieve a financial position that can weather future storms.


At Westrow we have always had a business roadmap and ensure that key milestones are highlighted as we go, so we keep on track and don’t veer too off-course. Be aware of the momentum you are building as you go, so you can leverage it to support the next phase of your business, allowing your growth to feel organic, even when it’s planned. 


Pivoting requires humility and self awareness is key to changing processes that no longer work. Business structure must be continually adapted, so restructure as and when required. Continually redefine, re-evaluate and re-ignite, when needed. Be present in your business and ensure you’re flexible creative, attentive and spontaneous. Beneficial action will always create a business reaction.


Honesty and transparency is key: communicate change, with your team, with your product partners, with your clients. This reinforces trust which is a vital ingredient of entrepreneurial spirit and success.


Embrace a new way of thinking that larger organisations can sometimes lack. Shine a spotlight on your strengths, work on your weaknesses, encourage your staff to adopt a team mentality, rather than an individual thought process. Deliver on your promises with purpose. Assess needs, set objectives, create action plans, implement initiatives and evaluate/revise, where necessary.


Match your ambition with action. To succeed in business, you need two heads, even if there aren’t two of you. You need your creative hat to drive your team’s inspiration, while your business hat can focus on driving client retention, all the while being true to your mission and long term goals.