None of us know when we can reopen or how much longer we all need to be in Lockdown, but we’ve been given the great gift of TIME right now, and now is the time to plan ahead for your business so that you can hit the ground running. I’m not a business expert by any means however I do have some ideas on how you could keep your salon ‘virtually’ open during this time and tips to help you plan for the long term.
- Vouchers / Credit Notes:
Offer vouchers or credit notes in values of £5, £10, £20 that clients can purchase from you. This can be done as a bank transfer and email voucher. They can then use these to pay for their next treatment. If you have a business FaceBook page you can put an offer out to help encourage clients to buy these from you. Don’t be afraid to ask your clients either, they will WANT to help you. Put a post out on your Facebook page; “Would anyone like to buy a voucher towards their next treatment?” or “Is there a treatment that you’ve always wanted but never tried? Why not buy a £5 voucher every week until we reopen which can then be used to redeem against the treatment that you’ve always wanted”
Believe me, they will want to help you as they don’t want to loose a fabulous skin therapist / nail technician / massage therapist as it would mean searching for someone better than you and that takes time and effort on their part.
- Online Bingo:
You will need to download an app to do this and there are several you can choose from; Random.org, bingo.es, or bingo90 are just a few. You list numbers on your business FB page 1 – 20 (or more). Each number is a £5 voucher and clients can buy a number for £5 each. You put their initials by the number(s) they have purchased. Amongst the numbers you have 3 treatments to give away (your choice). Once all the numbers are sold you then invite your clients to watch you do a live draw on your FB page. Those that win a treatment can redeem it when you are open as well as using their £5 voucher to put towards something else, and those that didn’t win have the £5 voucher to redeem with you. To me that’s a win win for everyone and you can run as many of these as you want.
Other tips to help you plan for your business
- Plan for the long-term
Set aside time for planning for the rest of the year. This can include personal, business and financial goals. How do you want your business to look? What personal development would you like to achieve? Where would you like to be financially?
- Look at your expenses
Use the time that you have now to list who you pay money to, who are your creditors, debtors etc and cancel any that you don’t need or use or you think won’t be viable for your business in the future. If you have any loans whether it be against the business or personally, now is the time to ask about payment holidays and get a better deal on those loans.
- Prepare for re-opening
Take this time to look at your regular clients and their bookings. What treatments do they have and how often? Are they a once a week client, fortnight or once a month? Are they a loyal client? Don’t wait for them to make the appointment, pre-book them – work from Christmas backwards – and when you do re-open contact theses clients first and let them know that you have already got their appointments sorted. This means that you have full columns to look forward to and so do your team and keeps up morale for everyone involved. There is nothing worse than coming back to empty columns. Create a sense of scarcity amongst your clients as it gives the impression that you are busy. It also takes the stress away from the client of having to contact you and they will be less likely to cancel. Of course you can readjust their appointments as necessary and if you normally take deposits then you would need to make some sort of arrangement with your clients to allow this.
If some of you have already had clients contacting you to ask how you are financially, then great. These are the clients you want to have back so plan & book in their treatments already for when you reopen, and encourage them to buy vouchers or participate in the online bingo I mentioned earlier.
It will take about 6 weeks to go from 0 – fully booked, so ask yourself does your business have the finances to keep you running that much longer after the Lockdown?
Now is a good time to look at your price lists and do a price increase (if necessary). This also bodes well with your clients that you have pre-booked in as you can offer them their treatments at the ‘old’ price and any new clients or irregular clients you book in are at the new price. You can also plan for special offers ready for reopening, these can be combined with combination treatments – see next section.
- Treatments & combinations:
Look ahead and see what events or seasons are coming up for the rest of the year. Plan treatment combinations that would work well together for example, half leg wax and pedicure treatments or facial and eyebrow shaping and offer these. It’s a well known fact that clients who book more than 2 treatments at the same time are 75% more likely to stay with you, those who book 3 or more are 85% and those who book 4 treatments are 95% more likely to stay loyal to you. Encourage clients to book more treatments with you and offer treatment packages or combinations. Run an offer on your FB page, “the first 5 clients to book XYZ will get ??? price” or something similar. You can also combine your treatments with a special reopening offer.
Look at your signature treatment(s). Do you currently offer a signature treatment? If not then now is the time to develop one. What would make your signature treatment exclusive to you compared to your competitors? By now your clients will realise how important regular treatments and skin care is and how important it is to carry these on at home. What a fantastic opportunity you have to put together their after care packs ready for when they come back and have their first treatment with you.
- Work with other businesses:
You will have to be the instigator of this and approach a business first. Is there a favourite boutique, gym, eatery that your clients regularly visit or talk about when they are with you? Could you do a joint promotion with this business on reopening or even as an event later in the year? This is also a great way to show your support of other local businesses in or around your area.
- Educate yourself:
Surround yourself with positive and inspirational people. Sometimes family aren’t always the best people to talk to about business in challenging times, so surround yourself with like minded people. Get yourself involved in online groups or have a virtual catch up with your other beauty friends and colleagues who know what you’re talking about. You also have time to study right now, so make the most of it. Have a look at what courses you can do now and which ones you would like to do later and get yourself booked onto one. Which course(s) would benefit you / your business? Which courses are for personal development or a hobby? A lot of training companies will have offers on at the moment if you pre-book for later in the year, and if they don’t then there is no harm in asking them. After all they are a business and want to stay open to help you too.
Cash flow is key right now. Whatever money you have borrowed during this time to see you through, will eventually need to be paid back, therefore what better time to plan ahead to help your business accumulate some cash flow so you can hit the ground running when you do reopen.
Keep a look out for special offers on my training courses coming soon.