Salon owners are almost always eager to take the necessary actions to see their business grow. However, sometimes it's hard to drown out the noise and figure out where to start. Here are five areas that are smart focuses for development in 2017.
Instagram and Facebook are where your clients are and, so, where you need to be. Social media is a visually-driven space so capturing quality photos and sharing them effectively is important. Here we have tips on pulling this off from photographer Wes Kroninger, who recently led a class on social media imagery at a retreat for Fullerton, California-based Lux Salon.
- Good lighting is necessary to show off hair to its best advantage. Kroninger says to create an area in the salon that has great lighting, take the photo near a big window, or even go outside to get the shot.
- Give video a try in front of a simple background with good lighting. “Video is a great opportunity to really show the client smiling, moving her hair and living in it,” Kroninger says. “When an image starts moving, people pay more attention to it.” Only shoot video horizontal, never vertical.
- Facebook can be a good platform to share how-tos. Showing clients how to use products can help with selling retail and showing them how to style and take care of their hair lets them know that you care.
- “Instagram is a great space for inspirational stories,” Kroninger says. Avoid sharing technical information, but rather tell a brief story. Kroninger’s caption example is, “Suzy came in and wanted to blow them away at her high school reunion, so we did this cut.”
When the Neill Corporation decided to expand upon their nine Paris Parker locations in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, the expansion didn’t follow a traditional path. Instead of opening more Paris Parker Salons, they decided to tap into a new market—men.
The new barbershop was called The Parker so that it would honor the Paris Parker brand, but still be separate. With locations in Hammond, Louisiana and New Orleans, The Parker draws clients from female patrons of Paris Parker that recommend it to the men in their lives, in addition to attracting new clientele looking for a salon-style service in a barbershop environment.
Knowing your market, having the right retail partner and nailing your branding are the keys to successful diving into the men’s category. Read the Aveda Means Business article, “Priority Men: 3 Tips for Opening a Barber Shop,” to learn more.
For salon owners, just walking away from the business when they want to retire is usually not an option; employees depend on the business for their livelihood. So what should an owner do when they are ready to retire? The key is to set plans in motion far in advance.
The owners of Square One salons in Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, too a unique approach to the question of salon succession. They decided to open a fifth and sixth location and put a few of their long-time, full-time stylists in charge of managing.
Stylists were offered shares in a new business because the original owners foresaw problems with new leaders trying to take over the existing business. The four original salons also do about 130,000 transactions in a year, which would make it difficult for someone to be able to buy them. This well-crafted plan gave loyal employees the opportunity to continue their careers and gradually be trained in the work of owning a business.
For more details on how Square One owners planned for their own retirement and the futures of their employees, read the Aveda Means Business article, “Plan Your Retirement While Rewarding Loyal Stylists.”
Giving back to the community through charitable giving is fulfilling for many business owners. Neill Corporation’s Debra Neill Baker and Edwin Neill decided this was an important mission after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. They founded The Salon and Spa Relief Fund (SSRF), a non-profit organization established to help salon and spa owner and their employees rebuild their lives and business after a natural disaster or fire.
The SSRF gathers donations throughout the year through its website. They keep about $20,000 in reserve so they are ready to help immediately when disaster strikes, and with no administrative fees, SSRF is able to give 100 percent of donations to the salons and spas in need.
For further details on how the SSRF impacted the lives of beauty professionals affected by natural disasters, check out the Aveda Means Business article, “Shelter From the Storm: The Salon Spa Relief Fund.”
A piece of wisdom on training employees can be found in the anecdote:
A CFO asks a CEO, “What happens if we spend money training our people and then they leave?” To which the CEO responds, “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”
Essentially, educating stylists is one of the most surefire ways of making a business grow and improve. Paul Villeneuve, vice president of creative for Aveda Institutes South, shares the three-tiered training program structure that he has found most effective:
- Apprenticeship– A 3-4 month “audition” as a general salon assistant reveals if they’re a fit with your culture, before you invest in their base training. They’ll contribute by shampooing, working the front desk, even stocking shelves.
- Base Training- After deemed a fit and while apprenticing further, add in 8 paid training hours a week. These are self-paced and based on set competencies. The trainee must pass each level to move to the next. Once all are completed, they enter the New Talent Program.
- New Talent Program- At this level the trainee is now “New Talent” and begins seeing guests at reduced prices. Class time drops to about 4-6 paid hours a week and now includes business-building skills, like retail sales. Once all skills are trained on and basic benchmarks like RPST are met, the trainee graduates out of New Talent Program.
And also: Advanced Education– Education never ends… so for “on staff” team members, advanced education is ongoing and at least quarterly.