Managing a salon is a never-ending process, and to succeed, managers need to constantly be planning ahead and be proactive with implementation. Every salon owner should be asking what they are doing to grow their business in the months ahead. The people who take the opportunity to re-evaluate and, in some cases, tighten up their business will have a competitive edge that will serve them well in the future. Here are my ‘Seven Steps to Staying on Top’:
1.) Be flexible: Your business plan needs to be flexible in an ever-changing business environment. It’s important to regularly step back and review your goals, staffing numbers, training needs, and budgets for the year. Focus on the opportunities not the problems.
2.) Improve your productivity: Look at all the ways you and your team spend your time and your money. Finding one big way to improve productivity by 10% is unlikely, but by looking at lots of small things, many businesses with a little work can achieve significant efficiency improvements. Look for ways to involve your team in looking for ways to increase productivity.
3.) Cut the fat: It’s essential to keep overheads under control. What can you do to trim overheads by 10%? This applies to your people too. Don’t automatically just cut back on everyone’s hours. It’s not easy for small businesses to get rid of people because they are often close to them, but sometimes you have to be tough. If you employ 12 people, they will not all be equal. Sometimes you have to get rid of people to protect the business and the remaining jobs it provides.
4.) Offer more and do it better: What are your clients’ real needs right now? What do your competitors offer? You may need to offer more to beat the competition.
5.) Cash is king: In small business, cash flow is essential; make sure you know exactly what it costs to run your business. Use a cash flow budget to plan ahead and identify in advance where the cash-flow risks are.
6.) Make everything earn its keep: How much cash is tied up in inventory? Many salons carry items that are not moving. That’s cash that you can free up for your business. Focus on cutting back your inventory and being efficient with your ordering, look at every product line and get rid of the one’s that aren’t moving.
7.) Increase turnover: The ultimate aim is not to survive, but to grow. You need to invest in your training, sales and marketing activities.
Antony Whitaker is an educator and motivator, with a worldwide reputation based on more than 30 years’ experience in the hairdressing industry; and his best-selling series of ‘GROW’ books are available at his website, growmysalonbusiness.com.