Tips & Insights
1. Partner with the pros. When you're running your own small salon, you want to partner with professional brands that can offer education, business building guidance and national recognition, even if you're a single-chair facility. The right partners will help establish your credibility, support your future growth through their constant research & development with new product, provide brand recognition through national marketing programs, and increase your skill set through extensive education opportunities. (Remember, you have already made the best partnering decision by leasing at Delaney! Now go get more!)
2. Retail Sales: yes, yes, yes! Retail is a must-have for the success of your business. Many stylists feel uncomfortable selling product, as they don't want to seem "pushy" with their friends. However, a friend should help a friend look as beautiful as possible (that's why she comes to you, right?), and your professional product line helps her achieve that between visits. When you create an intimate environment in your salon suite, it provides an opportunity to talk about your products, and to provide instruction for your clients for their use at home. More importantly, the fundamental economic model of running your own business in a suite is that you should be selling enough product to pay for your lease, then the income from the services you provide is pure profit. Use our online calculator to see how it can work for you. A the end of the day, the successful stylist will consider retail to be an integral part of an overall business strategy.
3. Referrals: ask, ask, ask! Just because your friend is sitting in the chair doesn't mean she understands your business or what you need to succeed! Ask your clients for referrals and to buy products. If you don't ask and don't tell, your clients may never know what else goes into your business. Clients often don't understand that retail and referrals help to keep your business growing, so let them know! Your clients want you to be successful. When you're small, you can take advantage of that relationship because they are usually very willing to help you succeed.
4. Be that friend. When you work in your private suite at Delaney Salons, you create a an intimate setting that provides a great opportunity to build a personal relationship with your clients. Ask lots of questions! People will be willing to talk openly about their beauty wants and needs, not to mention their personal lives, when they are in a quiet setting with no interruptions. Your suite at Delaney provides a tremendous opportunity to foment a personal relationship with your client, which translates into long-term loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising for your business. A good friend is a good LISTENER, but be professional at all times.
5. It's a business. Run it like one. The opportunity to run your own business in a beautiful professional environment is what attracted you to Delaney Salons in the first place. While you're building personal relationships with your clients, always keep in mind that this is YOUR livelihood, YOUR business. Your success requires that you do those things that all businesses must do to be viable: marketing, scheduling/booking (stay consistent!), management of finances and good cash flow, staying up on the latest trends, etc. Stylists will often neglect the financial management side of their business, but it can be so easy if it's set up right the first time. We recommend that you obtain and USE a financial management and accounting software package like Quicken. (QuickBooks is a much more powerful business financial management program, but is not necessary for a small, single-chair salon. Plus, Quicken's cost is about $50, while QuickBooks, depending on the version you use, can run to several hundred dollars.) Once a software program is set up correctly, management of your accounting and cash flow can become very easy, and will save you a lot of headaches later on (like at tax time). We can help you with this if you would like, but you need to DO IT!
6. You live in a modern world. Take advantage of it! Do you have an online presence (a website)? Are your clients able to book an appointment online? Do you use social media to stay in touch with your current and future clients? If you answered no to any of these questions, then make some changes! This isn't 1980, so don't run your business like it is. An active online presence is essential in the growth of your business these days, but many stylists are intimidated by technology. Don't be. Modern online technologies can be easy to use, will make you look professional, and will provide easy use for your clients. At Delaney, we can help you with these if you need it. Ask!
7. Manage your bookings. As a single-chair salon, you don't have a receptionist to manage your clients, so it is important that you stay on top of your schedule. Use of an online booking service can go a long way toward managing this essential function. Check out Styleseat.com or Schedulicity.com, and see how easy and inexpensive this can really be. Once again, if you need some help, ask us!
We'll go into more details on all of these issues in the coming months, so stay tuned!
There is an interesting trend in the industry that might have application for your business. Some salons are offering memberships which charge a flat monthly fee, and provide whatever salon services are required (cuts, color, blow-outs, etc), instead of a fee for each service every time they book an appointment. The membership system provides for more consistent cash flow, but the potential drawbacks are obvious.
It could work on a limited basis for suite stylists, and it would not be good for 100% of your clientele. Additionally you would have to be aware of anyone that would try to take advantage of you. But, maybe on a limited basis?
1. Cash flow can be more easily calculated and managed throughout the year (better through the slow times of the year).
2. Cash management is super-easy if payments are through an automatic monthly draw (we can help you set that up)
3. Client loyalty increases, because they sure aren't going to look somewhere else if they are paying a monthly membership!
4. You get paid even when they don't set an appointment in a month.
1. The client might feel like they have the right, or even the obligation to visit daily for a wash and blow-dry in order to maximize their membership.
2. Most suite stylists offer their clientele 100% of their attention and professionalism when the client is in the chair, and this might feel like a discount, or more of a hair-factory environment.
It would take some serious calculations to see if it could work for you, but might be something to think about with part of your clientele.