A salon and beauty business guide to thriving during the COVID-19 outbreak
There's a lot going on right now. With businesses being forced to close It can feel like our livelihood is coming apart. It can make us feel heavy and helpless, sapping our energy, will, and creative power.
This guide will empower you to confidently move your beauty business forward with practical, actionable steps. This plan will help you leverage new opportunities and continue growing your business, not in spite of these challenges, but because of them.
With that being said, let's get in the right mindset.
Forget all the inflammatory news headlines, sensationalized stories, and politically motivated speeches. Take a moment to set aside the emotions of those around us, breathe and reset yourself.
What's happening right now is a moment of uncertainty. It's common to lose our sense of power and control and become reactive to the perceived circumstances instead of proactive about what we can do about them. Our enthusiasm, vigor, and vitality suffer. Our can-do-it-iveness gets replaced with helplessly tossing our hands in the air, finding our favorite comfort foods and opening up Netflix. All due to a little uncertainty.
The fact is this: Uncertainty is something you're actually very familiar with. You work with it every single day. You're extremely well equipped to deal with uncertainty. You have all of the skills you need to not only pass through this time with flying colors but leverage moments like these as assets both personally and professionally.
Celebrate uncertainty 🎉
If we've learned anything from legendary investors Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham - it's that there is great benefit to be had from times of volatility and uncertainty.
"Most of the time common stocks are subject to irrational and excessive price fluxtuations in both directions as the concequence of the ingrained tendency of most people to speculate or gamble. To give way to hope, fear, and greed." - Benjamin Graham
"The future is never clear. You pay a high price in the stock market for a cheery concensus. Uncertainty is the friend of the buyer of long-term values" - Warren Buffett
"The true investor welcomes volatility." - Warren Buffett
Uncertainty is one of the best opportunities for investing in our businesses and clients. By recognizing that uncertainty inherently creates opportunity we can maintain a proactive, optimistic approach. Recognizing that every moment that we spend on our business is investment can show us that it's times like these when we should buy-in and commit harder than ever like a true investor.
Table of Contents
- Seize the opportunity
- Strengthen client relationships
- Keep the schedule flowing
- Forward your front desk phone to your cell phone
- Schedule one-on-one appointments
- Make sure clients have the products they need during the quarantine
- Accept digital payments
- Be a beacon of support
- Postpone or reduce your mortgage or rent
- Help your team file for unemployment
- Make a comeback strategy
- Educate yourself
Step 1: Seize the opportunity
Opportunities come and go. It's rare that they present themselves as clearly as this. All of those times you thought "if I only had a few days to work on (insert your project here)..." Well, this is your chance.
The most important thing you can do is commit to shifting your mindset. The way to win is to shift focus away from day-to-day operations and focus on longer-term projects and administrative growth tasks. If you're able to shift your thinking away from daily operations to strategic management and growth then you're ready to take full advantage of this time period.
Start by creating your quarantine plan. Pull out your laptop or your notebook and write down five things you can do today to be proactive.
Step 2: Strengthen client relationships
Now is the perfect time to over-communicate with your clients. Emailing and texting are not enough. Communicate with your audience through social media every single day. They're at home with nothing to do, they're bored, and they're on social media. That means you should be too.
Sharing content with your audience daily helps you stay on top of their mind, maintain and strengthen your relationship, and can help reassure your clients that you're still planning on being there for them after things settle.
Comment on their posts, and reply to EVERY comment. Commenting back and forth is a genuine, powerful way to connect. Making a personal connection is powerful. Especially now.
Step 3: Keep the schedule flowing
The thing you want to avoid is losing clients. It's important that you keep your schedule flowing. Clients should stay on the schedule - even if it's many weeks out. Reassure your clients that you're still planning on being there for them after things settle. Ensure that you stay an active part of their plans.
Right now a lot of salons have effectively put the pause button on their businesses. Reassuring your clients that you're still open for business - even if it's booking appointments in the future or by appointment only, will go a long way in building trusting, long-lasting client relationships.
It's important to make sure clients feel like they are being cared for - especially when it becomes difficult for them to seek out the care and services they need. Staying in contact with clients and keeping them on your books will instill a level of comfort and trust that doesn't just serve you both in the short-term, but helps you continue developing long-lasting, meaningful relationships with clients.
Step 4: Forward your business phone to your cell phone
This one's very simple and can make a big impact. Don't just put a voice recording on your line telling clients that you're closed or available by appointment only. Make sure you keep an open line of communication with clients. If they call - there's a reason that they're calling. You should be there for them. Especially right now. It's a simple step that goes a long way in developing long term relationships.
It's pretty easy too. Most telecom companies offer automatic call forwarding for free. Many of them don't even require speaking with a support representative. You can activate it yourself using their automated systems. If you use Verizon or AT&T here's an article with the steps you can take to activate it yourself over the phone. The steps are similar for Optimum and you can find the steps here. Spectrum is easy too.
If you have another service like Charter, xfinity, Cox, Frontier, CenturyLink or Vonage just Google "(your provider) call forwarding" and you'll likely find a support article outlining the simple steps to do it yourself.
Step 5: Remote Consultations
Many salons have started doing remote consultations. Basically, do the process you'd do in the chair - but over video chat! Use Facetime, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Zoom, etc.
Use this opportunity to build connections with your clients. See how their hair is doing. Share individualized tips on how they can manage their hair during the quarantine. Chat about what they want to be done on their next appointment, share inspiration photos back and forth. You can even have clients make and share a Pinterest board of hair ideas before the call. It can be a fun activity for clients to do in their free time at home and a great way to connect with clients in a new way.
Step 6: Make sure your clients have the products they need during the quarantine
Depending on where your clients live you may or may not be able to drop off products to their homes. But if you can - it's an incredible gesture to offer clients the retail products they may need during their time in quarantine. Products to help them maintain color, moisture, and hair health, especially during these stressful times. It may be all they need to get over the hump and feel a lot happier during the quarantine.
Independent stylist Staci Ward of Ohio shared the idea on our Facebook Group of offering Redken at-home touch-up kits to clients during the quarantine.
If you can't drop them off, offer to be available for them to pick up. Have everything packaged up and ready for them to pick up. It doesn't just help you keep your retail sales up (though, every little bit helps), but it's meaningful gestures like this that will go an incredibly long way in developing meaningful relationships with your clients.
Step 7: Accept digital payments
Working with clients usually means direct physical contact but that doesn't mean you both need to be having your hands all over cash. Accepting digital-only payments is a great way to keep both you and your client protected.
Many clients have Venmo, PayPal, Cash App, Facebook Payments, or some other way to send money from their phones. The more of these payment methods you accept the more options you have for revenue.
Step 8: Be a beacon of support
A lot of people are a little freaked out right now. They're worried about the jobs, their families, their communities, the economy, and everything else in between. Shedding a little bit of light on their day goes a long way. Helping someone smile or easing their anxiety even if for only a moment means a lot. It's good for them, feels good for you, and it helps cultivate a strong relationship.
These simple gestures are the way you earn life-long clients. It's no different than making life-long friends. You treat them with love, respect, and genuine care. Remember that these people are your livelihood. They deserve your thoughtfulness and care.
On Social Media
Let your positivity come through on your social media feeds too. Don't just post about what precautions you've been taking - but continue sharing uplifting, positive and practical content that helps lift people's minds and spirits.
Here are some content ideas you can use during the quarantine:
- Educational how-to videos that help clients manage their own hair while away from the salon
- Education on how to use products and tools properly - or in unique ways they might not have considered
- Stories and posts that encourage clients to continue booking appointments
- Stories and posts that promote that you're delivering products and accepting digital payments
- Education on new product and style trends
- Funny memes (always)
- Encouraging news
- Share your quarantine plans so clients know you're staying proactive
- Ask what your clients are doing to stay busy and entertain themselves
- Share ideas on how to stay positive and proactive
Step 9: Postpone or reduce your mortgage or rent
Many local and state governments have announced the postponing of mortgage payments for up to a few weeks or months. Search to see if your state has announced any such programs.
If you're a renter, reach out to your landlord. It's very possible that your landlord, the owner of the building, might be currently benefiting from postponed mortgage programs. If that's the case, hopefully, they are kind enough to extend the same courtesy to you.
Even if they're not, it's very possible you may be able to come to a personal agreement to postpone or reduce rent for a few months. Don't be afraid to ask. Remember that you, as a renter, have power in the relationship. Landlords really like keeping good tenants and to them, that's often worth sacrificing a little bit of money. Changing tenants is risky for landlords. Lots of paperwork, broker fees, and the high likelihood that any new renter is in a similar economic predicament, and may have trouble paying rent. In addition, the likelihood of finding new tenants for commercial or retail space in this particular moment is slim to none. That doesn't mean you should take advantage - but you and your landlord can act as a team to keep a good thing going.
Step 10: Help your team file for temporary unemployment
There's a very good chance you and your team are eligible for temporary, government-sponsored, unemployment. Applying can mean having a few hundred dollars each week in everyone's pocket for the duration of mandated closures. It can go a long way in keeping your team happy, healthy, and safe. The application online only takes about 30 minutes.
Send out a team-wide email with a link to the application and some basic steps. If they need any specific information about your company, make sure to provide it in the email.
If you're a self-employed, solo practitioner, you're likely eligible for unemployment too.
Here's an article with some information about eligibility and applying. Your specific state may have different programs to take advantage of as well. For example, here is information for New York State.
Step 11: Make a comeback strategy
Once things inevitably settle back into place you'll be prepared to take advantage of the upswing. People will be back to work, socializing, spending time with friends, going to events, and visiting you at the salon.
Here are 14 additional things you can do to create a strong comeback strategy:
- Take care of your health. Eat well and exercise.
- Plan special promotions for all upcoming holidays and local events.
- Plan and pre-schedule social content for holidays, events, and in general.
- Write a story and pitch it to the local paper or magazine.
- Plan a back-to-business party and invite your clients.
- Create cross-promotions with other local businesses.
- Create some great educational material for your team.
- Update your Google Places listing and pages on other marketing channels.
- Respond to all of your reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook.
- Deep clean your backroom and anywhere that can use a freshen up.
- Create a plan to clear out old inventory.
- Create a beautiful springtime selfie area.
- Keep your plants watered.
- Keep your team involved with planning with calls, Google Hangouts, Facetime or Skype.
Step 12: Educate yourself
- Take an online course in small business marketing (local marketing or social marketing)
- Take an online course in small business Public Relations (PR)
- Research what retail products are trending for 2020
- Research what hair and beauty events are coming up in your region
- Read Tribes by Seth Godin to learn other techniques to establish yourself as a tribe and community leader.
Step 13: Join our Salon Growth Strategies Group on Facebook
Many of the ideas in this article came from salons in our Facebook Group. Hair and beauty professionals are sharing ideas, strategies, and support in growing their beauty businesses.
Step 14: Profit
That's right. Profit. While your competition spends the entire quarantine watching Netflix and scrolling through Facebook, you'll be cultivating deeper connections with clients, selling more products, getting references from their network, cutting your rent costs, taking part in government aid programs, educating yourself and planning to come back stronger than ever before.
I believe each of us is capable of great things. Especially in times of stress and uncertainty. It's part of who we are. Each of us got ourselves into this business for one reason or another. Let's not lose track of our passions and why we got into this business in the first place.
Taking steps now will put you ahead of the competition. Keeping a productive approach, rocking what you do, and taking advantage of this unique opportunity will help you build your client relationships and prepare you to come back stronger than ever.
Please post in our group, email me, or comment below with any suggestions on what to add to this.
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Wishing you health and success,