I have a fully-equipped hair and nail home salon, but my business is struggling. I’ve tried local advertising and social media, but nothing seems to be working. I don’t want to give up my business but I’m so frustrated at having no money, and am rapidly running out of enthusiasm. What can I do?
I really feel for you – it must be tough right now. But the good news is that there are plenty of opportunities for you to grow your business by tapping into new markets, increasing sales from your existing clients and reaching out to new ones through their friends.
I ran my own large beauty salon for several years, and today help women to launch profitable new careers in the industry through the Sassy & Beau Academy. I’ve put together some suggestions for you that I know through my own experience, and those of the women I have taught, work. I hope they help you too.
Tap into the bridal market
Have you considered tapping into the bridal market? It can be very lucrative, and you already have nails and hairstyling covered. You could easily train in bridal makeup and offer brides a complete package, including skincare, hair, nails and makeup.
Become an expert
Or what about establishing yourself as the go-to expert in a particular treatment? Look at what your competitors are doing, and think about what you do that is superior or different to them – then establish yourself as a true specialist in it.
Perhaps you are the only one that offers hot waxing Brazilians or Hollywood, for example? Invest in training and practise to become a true expert in one area, and your clients will travel from far and wide for you.
Start a newsletter
Ensure you keep front of mind with your clients, and encourage them to book sessions with you, by sending out a monthly newsletter. Make your newsletter specific to the time of year and in line with your marketing plan. If you include a monthly offer your clients will start to look out for it and book on top of their usual services.
Look through the eyes of your clients
Another good way to spot some easy wins and make your home salon more appealing is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers.
Spend a morning ‘visiting’ your salon. View it through the eyes of your clients – from how you greet them when they arrive, to how it feels sitting in your chair. What is it like? Are there any opportunities to introduce improvements or extra details?
Imagine your client is on a journey from when they arrive to when they leave – their journey must have interesting viewpoints along the way, for example if you had a massage table you could place a bowl of scented petals underneath your couch for your clients to look at when they lie face down. Or place a large V-shaped cushion on their lap when they are having a pedicure to rest their hands on and read a magazine.
There could be lots of small touches that can make your clients’ experience that bit more special, and encourage them to come back.
If advertising isn’t working for you then stop it. Your best place to gain new clients is through your existing clients, so try to think of ways you can reach out to your customers’ friends and family.
For example, you could create a recommend a friend card, offering both parties a discount when they introduce someone. Or try a monthly offer of a half price treatment when your clients book with a friend (as long as their friend hasn’t been before).
Word of mouth is really the primary tool for gaining clients in your industry. You have to give people a reason to talk about you – whether it’s your unbelievable service, fabulous monthly offers or simply your knowledge and expertise.
Look for customers
Look at all the places you can get customers from – and in your business this is pretty much everywhere!
Any woman is a potential client, so think about local groups, playgroups, women’s networking groups, sports clubs etc, and approach them with an offer such as buy one get one free on their first visit.
Try to think of an offer where you are not discounting too much, and instead get clients to try a treatment they might not already have. You could then even give them an incentive to book by offering £5 off their next visit. Once they have bought in to you and your services you will have loyal clients.
Get a great website
Make sure you have a great website and feature on the first page of Google. This doesn’t mean spending a lot of money – there are some great free website companies that are easy to use such as netIDnow.com.
Ask your existing clients to write reviews for you on Google too, this helps to boost your salon up the search rankings and will set you apart from others.