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Salon Management

The Future of the Beauty Industry Requires Evolution

by Leon Alexander | March 26, 2019

Evolution is arguably the most powerful force in the earth’s history, but paradoxically, it is also irrelevant to daily human life. Although survival of the fittest is still used colloquially, the literal meaning no longer applies.

For the beauty industry, the belief that a business is either growing or dying has been entrenched in our strategic mindset since the mid-twentieth century. However, in today’s ever-more-dynamic business environment, salons that are focused on evolving are the ones that thrive. These businesses believe you’re either evolving or risking extinction.

We are observing an evolutionary leap in the beauty industry and a series of events are under way. It has forced a re-thinking of the current business model. The process for the future salon is tied to a model that emulates current and future consumer needs. Some salons are making the transition, others will follow!

The future salon will be focused on evolving from a generic consumer experience to a personal one. Single self-contained styling areas will allow the individual consumer to select their own music or opt for silence, depending on their daily mood. Equally, the styling pod will have a selection of different lighting systems that will show the customers hair color and make up in different lit environments. Customers will also be able to order salon products from their styling chair which will be delivered to their home in two days. All this, from a voice activated Alexa type system.

Why is there a need for personal experiences and entertainment? Because the vast majority of customers don’t go straight home from the salon, they go back to work, out for dinner, go shopping, visit a friend or simply don’t want to carry products. This will also reduce the amount of product inventory and help cash flow. One type of lighting or music system doesn’t suit the variety of different customers. That’s called a generic experience and it doesn’t meet the individual needs. A voice-activated system will allow the consumer to also have their profile updated in real-time along with instant personal and business information.

How do I create an evolving business?
Today’s most effective strategy-making is not defeating stagnation with growth, but by doing the future-focused work that prepares and adapts your business for the changes that are here and are coming. It requires investing in now and what’s next – the market shifts, the changing customer needs and the improvement opportunities.

In this strategic mindset, the salon business is more akin to a complex biological organism than a large machine. The adaptation necessary to drive evolution is based on input and activity at the edge of the organization – where value gets created and exchanged with your customers.

This evolutionary strategic mindset, requires you to bring the business and your people together to leverage the bandwidth, knowledge and capabilities of the entire salon. It means constantly and consciously turning strategic foresight into adaptive activity. By involving the team in the process of improving the business, you get far better solutions and create broad-based ownership around the change you hope to make.

When you do this, you engage and motivate people by giving them something to be engaged in, and a meaningful purpose to be motivated by. You also attract and retain customers by genuinely caring about their constantly shifting and increasingly demanding wants and needs.

Adapt to drive your own evolution
Businesses evolve – they respond to the changing environment whether you want them to or not.

To evolve in an intentional way – toward the future you aspire – you need to actively adapt your business in a consistent and persistent manner. It is here where the evolutionary business thrives. Where growth doesn’t mean bigger for bigger sake. It means learning to be the best version of the future you hope to create and creates enthusiasm. The fundamental problem with not adapting in an intentional way, is it’s a manifesto for letting your history define your ‘now’ rather than using now to help determine what’s ‘next’.

Do what you’ve always done.
The traditional strategic approach is built on the notion of doing what you’ve always done. However, the customer relationship is changing. They now make buying decisions based on what fulfils their needs and wants rather than buying what you need to sell them. There are too many other companies that will solve their problems or fulfill their desires, to believe they will remain satisfied with buying or having services they’ve always bought. We need to create a sustainable thriving enterprise.

Persistence and enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm is an expansionism disease. It invades tissues and sets up colonies in hostile landscapes, seeking sanctuary in one person and then immigrating to another. It lives desperately, inventively, fiercely, territorially and defensively. To confront enthusiasm is to encounter a parallel species perhaps more adapted to survive than we are.

Have you ever wondered what separates superstar achievers from average people? What special tools did Einstein, Edison and Steve Jobs have that others seemed to be lacking? Were they lucky? Were they just smarter than anyone else? Or is it something more?

It’s actually a combination of several things. Sure, Einstein was smarter than most when it came to physics, but he probably wouldn’t have been able to duplicate the success Steve Jobs had at Apple. These people had a unique genius in different fields of expertise. Edison was a master of invention, but had no exceptional talent when it came to athletics. Each of their genius existed in a very focused forum.

The good news is, each one of us has our own inner genius. In order to reach the level of superstar achiever, we need to find out what our inner-genius is.

The next step, is to use the entirety of your mind towards enhancing that genius. Most people never reach the highest levels of success, because their conscious and subconscious minds are not congruent with their goals. Without complete congruence between the two parts of your brain, your conscious mind will be consistently battling a much more powerful subconscious mind.

The Benefit of Focus
Edison failed more than 10,000 times before finding a light bulb that actually worked. He focused longer and was persistent.

The common denominator between all successful people is the ability to focus longer than others. Focus has many meanings depending on the context, but they all revolve around the state of clarity, a point of convergence, and a center of interest or activity.

Mental focus refers to our ability to concentrate and direct our attention and energy on something. Our intentional attention has a natural span of about 10 minutes, not enough for some people to read this article. Fortunately, we all have the ability to extend it beyond those meager 10 minutes, but unless we put in extra effort, our focus will drift away.

Being able to focus for longer periods of time is just a matter of attention superpower. Your body needs to feel comfortable, your mind has to be clear, and your environment should not get in the way.

Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives or business.

The most productive people share a few commonalities. The right environment is critical to achieving focus. Most people think the key is motivation. but motivation is based on emotions, the way we feel in the moment, by nature its ever-changing, unreliable and elusive.

Take control of technology, before it takes control of you!

Our automatic attention turns our focus to anything which flashes, pings, jumps or makes any sudden movement. Technology is designed to flash, ping, vibrate and ring. Its why technology is becoming the number one killer of focus.

When you need to concentrate on something for a period of time, turn off notifications, put your phone on silent, limit your access to mail, phone, social media and time on the internet.

This may sound obvious, but many don’t realize how much time they waste just browsing the net or ‘doing research.’

There are close connections between our body and our mind. Hippocrates made the first attempt to understand the complex connections between mental and physiological processes. Ancient Rome had a motto: ‘A sane mind is a sound body.’

Emotions attract our attention. We pay attention to anything emotional, negatively or positively: joy, happiness, fear or anger. Your search for emotional stimulation can fuel procrastination.

Emotions are like shiny colorful buttons, on the grey boring fabric of our mundane reality.

Why is it so important in business to focus on a subject or task longer? Because if we do, we go into a process with a distinct competitive advantage.

In the modern world of pressure to do more, our ability to focus on one task diminishes. Some people are multitasking to the point of replying to emails while eating breakfast and watching the news at the same time.

We have a tendency to go for multiple, simultaneous and superficial rather than mono-focus and in depth.

Habits
The process of changing a strategy is difficult because we are creatures of habits. Over 40% of our lives are run by habits, daily brushing teeth, exercise, getting up in the morning, getting ready for work on time etc. Our health, wealth, fitness, happiness and success depend on our habits.

The human brain has two internal 'clocks' that predict our immediate future. One of the 'clocks' relies on past experiences, while the other is dependent on rhythm - but both are crucial to how we navigate the world.

These inbuilt clocks allow humans to know when to press the accelerator pedal in a car momentarily before the light goes green and the cognitive timekeeping feature also allows us to know when exactly to start singing the next line of a song.

Together, these brain systems allow us to not just exist in the moment, but to also actively anticipate the future.
It happens to all of us: you’re working away on something you’ve got to get done, and suddenly you realize, for quite some time you’ve been lost in a reverie about something else entirely. You don’t know when your mind went off track, nor how long you mind has been meandering.

Our minds wander on average 50 percent of the time. The exact rate varies enormously. At random points throughout the day, the doing-thinking gaps range widely. The biggest gap is during work and mind-wandering is epidemic on the job. But we can take steps that will help us stay focused more on the task. By applying the benefits of focus, mentioned above, it will help to alleviate the wandering mind

Conclusion
As a salon owner, you’re creating an environment where a certain type of culture will thrive. You’re creating fertile ground for your staff to flourish and bear fruit that nourishes opportunity for both the business and the people in the business.

It requires evolving your strategic activity from a traditional business strategy to a dynamic, adaptive world, where strategy-making is driving the business forward. Where you’re built in contingencies to not only respond to emerging and disruptive forces but become the disruptive force that your competitors are responding to. Where you become remarkable in your customers eyes and those ‘remarks’ draw new customers to your salon.

Where you shape a salon business that not only attracts and retains the best and brightest staff, but makes all of your team their very best.

A new vision and business model for the beauty industry means nothing if you don’t take action. But always let your action inform your vision because at the end of the day…The strategy is the strategy, until it’s not.

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