It’s not easy to run a successful salon business—you must be on top of the trends and best practices that will help you thrive. Millennium Systems International’s John Harms is an experienced leader—for 33 years he has pioneered salon management software and today, Millennium remains one of the only independently-owned salon and spa software companies. Harms understands how important it is to keep innovating and adapting in order to be successful in any business, and here he reflects on his own leadership strategies and company innovations that help salons grow.
Q:You always stress the importance of business growth. What do you think is the most important thing to remember to grow a business?
John Harms: For 33 years at Millennium it’s been about focusing on one client at a time. I tell my staff, ‘When you’re on a call, that’s the most important call. That next client is the most important client.’ It works. We strive to take care of our clients, add the features they need, create stability in the product, get the data out they need to be able to grow their businesses. We answer their calls, let them know our support team is there for them, continue to improve the education we provide. When all that happens, the referrals come.
Find out more about what’s on John Harms’ mind—including his favorite football team!
Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
JH: In one word, I would say authentic. People follow who they trust, and trust comes from authenticity. If people believe you’re authentic and your heart is in the right place, they trust you. The rest comes easy.
Q: What is something you think salons should be focusing on right now?
JH: Online reviews. They can make or break a business. At our company, Meevo 2 has a big focus on reputation management. We’ve built five-star reviews into the software. The next step is reaching out to big players like Google and pulling those reviews inside and letting people know when they get a good review or a bad review and giving them the ability to respond to a negative review.
Got goals? John Harms shares his for salons and Millennium.
Q: Online booking is exploding in the salon industry. Your company already offers online booking, a consumer app and a wait list feature. What’s next?
JH: We are working on a feature called auto fill to help fill books automatically. Say you notice the nail department has some openings in the afternoon. Auto fill will automatically look at the clients coming in earlier and whether they have gotten nail services in the past. If so, they may send them an email or text inviting them to book a nail appointment after their existing hair appointment. Or say you notice it’s been 45 days since John has been in for a haircut. You can text or email him a reminder and let him select an opening.
Q: What are three game changing advancements in Meevo 2 that will support salons?
JH: First, the patented ConvoBar. It lets you speak or type commands and it allows the appointment book to instantly show clients the days and stylists they request. Next is Smart Centers. These make sure the KPIs and metrics each salon needs to see is on a customized dashboard. The third is Precision Booking, which can give you views in segments as small as 15 or five minutes to more accurately book services like waxing. These three features are some of the most important advantages for service businesses.