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Your Salon/Spa — Where to Go From Here?

September 28, 2020 | By Neil Ducoff | 2 Comments

Much has changed since March 2020.

Before we can discuss where to go from here, we have to understand where we are today.

In so many ways, it’s a blur of COVID-19 fears, the shutdown, unemployment, PPP/EIDL, sanitizing protocols, reopening, staffing issues, occupancy restrictions, and clients stretching out appointments.

And then there’s the social/racial unrest, forest fires, hurricanes, and a divisive presidential election.

The pandemic’s impact on the economy has been devastating, especially to small businesses with limited resources.

  • We hear the news of large business bankruptcies including Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, Pier 1, Gold’s Gym, Hertz, and most recently Sizzler Steakhouse.

What we don’t hear much about are the owners of small businesses that made the painful decision to close their doors.

When a small business, like a salon, spa or barbershop, closes its doors, it’s a quiet death. Years of hard work, hopes and dreams crumble into a pile of debt that won’t easily disappear.

So where are you and your business today? There are three likely scenarios.

  1. Stable, on top of issues, and optimistic about the future: Culture and systems were well defined and disciplined prior to the pandemic. Financially stable, profitable, with cash reserves sufficient to meet economic challenges. Owner works a plan, embraces leadership, and is a persistent student of business.
  2. Profitability challenges, staffing issues, uncertain about the future: Difficulty getting employees to embrace systems. Culture is functional but fragmented. Owner depends more on hard work than planning. Decision making is slow. Cash flow was a problem prior to the pandemic.
  3. Tired of fighting cash flow, employee problems, stressed about the future: It’s hard to be optimistic and positive when every day is the same battle, and you have no battle plan.

After being in the salon/spa coaching business for over 27 years, one of the true joys is to see owners take their struggling business and turn it into the business they always dreamed of.

Likewise, it’s truly painful to see owners continue to struggle simply because they can’t get out of their own way. It’s like going on a diet, not changing your eating habits, and being frustrated you’re not losing weight. It’s not the diet that’s flawed — it’s the lack of discipline and commitment of the dieter.

Today is September 28, 2020.

You’re about to begin the fourth quarter of the most disruptive, surreal, stressful, and most challenging year in the history of your business.

It’s time to answer that big question, where to go from here?

Of the three likely scenarios listed above, which one best described where you and your business are?

If you aligned with #1, you’re in a good place with plenty of options including:

  • No new initiatives: Just finish out the last quarter strong by driving your key critical numbers such as prebook rate, productivity rate, first time/existing client retention rates, payroll percent, and profitability. The plan here is to begin 2021 in the best, most optimistic, position possible.
  • Expansion: Landlords are getting crushed by the economy and most are highly motivated to negotiate very favorable lease terms. In fact, everything from equipment to build-out costs is negotiable. The plan here is to expand while your competition is hunkered down — or closing.
  • Push the growth envelope: You’re in a good position to grow your business and create new opportunities. Internal systems can always be improved, and new ones implemented. Leadership teams can be charged with more responsibility. The plan here is to seize the moment and be aggressive, but not wildly aggressive.
  • Build your Internal Training Program: Every salon/spa needs its own Internal Training Program. It’s the centerpiece of your quality control and business branding. The plan here is to create a consistently high level of technical and customer service expertise.

If you aligned with #2, your salon/spa is stuck and it’s time to do something about it. Why? Because hope is not a strategy:

  • You need coaching and a plan: Yes, money is tight and it’s great that you did your best cutting expenses to survive this pandemic. The problem is that your leadership toolbox contains tools that never worked or were never used. You know, it’s like that diet or fitness program that you started and never finished. The plan here is to get the coaching, guidance, and business skills you’ve needed for a long time. Talk to Strategies and we’ll show you what the next steps are.
  • Reread the previous bullet point. It’s time to commit to creating a new and better future for you, your employees and your company.

If you aligned with #3, you’ve been sitting on the fence way too long watching your business decline. Before you throw in the towel and lose everything, it’s time to do the following:

  • Own it — don’t blame it: If your business was teetering on the edge long before the pandemic, it was already in trouble. The pandemic, and the dire economic challenges it created, finally brought the depth of your troubles to the surface. It all happened with you as the leader. It’s time to own it so you can begin fixing it. The plan here is simple — look in the mirror.
  • It’s never too late to turn your business around: If you believe that your business is beyond saving, my 27 years of coaching salons/spas says just the opposite. With the utmost respect, your current level of business knowledge doesn’t see the process of how to turn a business around. The plan here is to take a deep breath and fully commit to doing whatever it takes to save your business.
  • You can’t do it alone: You need a new business toolbox. You need to develop the right skills to grow a business. You need a coach to hold you accountable. The plan here is to believe in yourself and get the coaching help you need to turn your business nightmare into the business of your dreams.

Here’s my challenge to you: There is no doubt that 2020 will be the toughest year ever for all business owners.

If you look at the pandemic as a business final exam, those that studied and prepared are going to pass. Those that didn’t will likely fail.

Strategies coaches salons, spas, medspas, barbershops, and every other type of business in the beauty industry.

We are here to help.

Our systems and methodology work.

No matter which of the three situations your business is in, there’s more to do. You can do better.

Categories: Coronavirus , Leadership

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Comments

  1. We are a strong #1, and already currently doing or considering 3 of the 4 bullet points in that category. The only one we aren’t doing is that we ARE entertaining the thought of pursuing new initiatives. And our critical numbers, including retail are doing great! The “new initiatives” are simply implementing the Internal Training Program we have been working on intensely since the shut down in March, as well as several other systems we have been designing. We aren’t hunkering down… we’re on the attack. Thank you Strategies! We are ready to GROW in 2021, because recruiting is next on our list, after new stylists have the systems in place be be planted in and thrive. 🙂

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