8 Signs Your Salon is Ready for the Digital WorldChances are you first opened your salon because of your love of hair and all things stylish—not due to a penchant for inventory mangement and phone tag. Or, maybe you're one of those business-savvy entrepreneurs who's ready to take your salon to the next level. This quick self-assessment tool will help you identify your readiness for doing business in today's technology-driven, "I want it now!" consumer environment.

Answer YES or NO to each of the following:

  • I am using some type of integrated business management software to run my salon. (e.g.. a single system that does scheduling, payroll, eCommerce, marketing, etc.)
  • My customers can book (and pay for) their appointments online if they want to (vs. having to call or stop in to book an appointment) and my system automatically sends them appointment reminders via text or email.
  • I offer my customers the ability to pay with credit, debit and/or gift cards, both at the front desk and over the web.
  • I am able to access my business data from any computer or mobile devide that has an Internet connection, anywhere I happen to be.
  • My employees can check their schedules whenever and wherever they happen to be (e.g., from their smart phones).
  • I can easily manage and export hourly, commissions and other types of employee payroll information.
  • I am able to retain existing clients and attract new ones via automated marketing programs (e.g., targeted emails, client referral and reward programs, Facebook integrations, etc.).
  • I can quickly manage my inventory and know what my best sellers are, when I'll run out of product, and who's purchased what items from my salon.

Scoring: Give yourself 1 point for each YES answer and 0 points for each NO

If you scored 6-8 points: Congratulations! You are well on your way to meeting the high expectations of today's consumers. Chances are you're using some type of salon management software to offer some or all of your products and services online. This puts you in the excellent position for taking advantage of your customers' impulse buying (e.g., that middle-of-the-night decision to get highlights before the weekend) and accommodate their busy schedules.

If you scored 3-5 points: It seems you have some good strategies in place, but you might be rlying on multiple systems to make it all work (e.g., an email program for mailings, an accounting system for payroll, or maybe a PayPal account for credit card processing.) If you're looking to cut down on adminstrative tasks and/or have a software system that integrates all these different functions in one place, you would be well-served to start exploring one now. The good news is many such solutions exist—you just need to find the one that's right for you.

If you scored 1-2 points: Don't worry, you're definitely not alone. Many salons still use a good old-fashioned paper appointment book to manage client appointments, index cards for color formulas, or an Excel spreadsheet to manage payroll. The pen and paper technique may have served its purpose, but if you want to remain financially viable and meet your customers' expectations, it's time to say sayonara to the old ways and hello to the Informaiton Age (a.k.a. efficiency, modernity, peace of mind)! Start researching how salon management software works. Visit various software websites and view demo videos to get basic understanding of the basic functionality of salon management software.