Whether your business is under pressure or not, it’s always a good idea to take a hard look at your business and take the necessary steps to adapt and innovate. So we’ve round up some key strategies that you can implement right now in your hair and beauty business to manage uncertainties, keep your community safe, and strengthen your position in the market.
Diversification in any business is essential. During hard Lockdown we saw how only certain types of businesses were allowed to remain open because they operated in specific ways or sold certain goods. What if you also found a way to mindfully diversify your salon offering in a way that made sense to your positioning. The key here is remaining useful to your client regardless of the state of the world. Perhaps traditionally you have only offered grooming services, now is the time to introduce more ‘essential’ product lines that you can introduce as complementary to your existing business. Also consider how you can operate online with e-commerce offerings, incorporating clever add-on essentials like hand sanitizer and face masks. Another great option could be to offer an additional mobile service to your salon by sending a team to do home visits to service vulnerable customers.
Be aware of shifting needs
The retail environment is not only shifting for safety’s sake, but also because of the way in which customers are now revaluating what they need and how much they need it. For example, perhaps during hard lockdown certain customers learned how to do their own nails. Well this doesn’t now mean you have lost them for life, in fact, maybe there is a business opportunity in this where you can send these customers monthly DIY kits with new nail colours, brushes and replenished product. You can also offer monthly online tutorials (and complementary home kits) to customers to do their own brows for example, perhaps these can be subscription based. This type of thinking will also allow you to service a wider footprint and branch into other areas and networks. This type of pivoting also communicates that you instinctively ‘get’ your customer’s needs and this makes large strides to building loyalty.
Boost your online business strategies
The hair and beauty industry is perfectly positioned to shine on social media. Your social media strategy should engage customers (existing and potential) in a consistent and exciting way. Perhaps people are not coming into your store at the moment because they are nervous or cash-strapped. But give them time, and when they are ready you want to be top of mind.
In addition to this, a worthwhile approach is to engage in an online cross-selling strategy. This could mean either enticing customers to buy higher-priced items or complementary services that will increase basket size. When talking to your customers online, also keep reminding them about the sanitizing policies in store to assure them of their safety and show them how proactive you are being to stop the spread of the virus.
Take a hard look at your expenses
In a tough economy, every Rand is a soldier. So it’s always a good idea to reconsider what you are spending to run your business. So ask yourself honestly what you can cut either temporarily or for good. Starting with the things you pay for on a regular basis: From cleaning, utilities, insurance to advertising. Now decide what can you reduce or eliminate to make the day-to-day running of your business more cost effective. Also engage with your suppliers and see if they are offering any fee reductions for Covid relief. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
This also includes taking a serious look at your human capital. Understand carefully what you staff complement really needs to look like and if there are any changes you can make here. Of course all the while remembering that when things return to normal (which they will), you want trained, loyal staff in store to serve your customers.
Maintain a safe working environment
This may go without saying, but Pandemic fatigue is a real thing and safety procedures cannot afford to slip. As a business owner you have a responsibility to your staff and customers to create and maintain a safe and sanitized working environment. This may include a work-from-home policy for selected staff, a reduction or rotation of floor staff, consistent cleaning, regular staff testing and contact tracing and ongoing staff training.
Explore your financial resources
All these ideas seem great, but many of them will cost a pretty penny. Fortunately the lending world is not what it once was, and there are alternative finance providers that are specifically designed for hair and salon retailers. A Merchant Capital cash advance for example will give your salon working capital in under 48 hours, with repayment structures directly linked to your turnover. Empowering you to maintain and build your salon during uncertain times.
The bottom line
If this past year has taught you anything it’s that you can manage whatever comes your way. The mark of a true entrepreneur is to think on your feet and this starts with information. So be sure to keep track of what’s happening in the country and abroad, stay on top of government regulations and continue to take precautions. But most importantly, don’t forget to grow. Uncertain times also bring surprising opportunities, and with these strategies in your arsenal your hair and beauty salon will not only survive, but thrive!