Resolving last year's problems that are haunting your salon in 2021
Although 2021 looks to be a shining ray of hope for most hair and beauty miracle workers, there are challenges that continue to permeate from last year that need to be addressed and finally put to rest. Keeping your fingers crossed in hopes that issues hair salon owners have faced throughout much of 2020 will go away won’t make this year better - you’ve got to act! Here are the most common 2020 problems that may occur in a salon, spa or home-based studio in 2021, and what you can do to prevent them.
“I don’t have a sense of direction”
Feelings of hopelessness were common among almost all hair and beauty specialists throughout much of 2020, and that’s no surprise. Lockdowns, new safety regulations, client loss, Test and Trace, and of course COVID-19 plagued much of the year. As a result, many salon, home-studio and mobile specialists simply lost their sense of direction. Although we’re tossing out the 2020 calendar, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll instantly find the drive for 2021 - in fact, many of us will continue to feel unhinged and uncertain about where to go now. “Should I continue taking in new clients? Perhaps I should take some additional courses to improve my qualifications? Maybe I should introduce new treatments? Do I have enough financial stability to stay afloat? What should I do?” - it’s questions like these that make even the most headstrong specialists doubt themselves and their position in the world of hair and beauty.
2021 is still a mystery to us - what regulations will be enforced on hair and beauty businesses? How will they affect our everyday lives? And what can be done to maintain one’s sanity and motivation in the heat of these trying times? Here are a few time-tested methods for staying on track and motivated which you should carry into 2021:
- Focus on client bonds: they’ve been with you since day one and have helped you grow your business to what it has become now. Your clients are the lifeblood of your salon, and sometimes, being open to them is everything you need to remain on track. Send all of them a simple thank-you message to show you care about them and how much you appreciate their loyalty.
- Consult with a beauty business coach: it’s a good idea to speak with a business consultant in order to get expert advice on marketing and managing your business more effectively, especially if financial problems are causing you much grief. Surprisingly, your concerns and doubts might be resolved by simply tweaking a few things in how you run your salon.
- Seek out industry motivational speakers: they can be a great help, especially if they’re in your industry and have been through what you’re dealing with. A reputable speaker will focus on what’s discouraging you and offer solutions that just might help you get back on your feet!
“I’m still seeing many no-shows and cancellations”
It’s nearly impossible to rid yourself completely of no-shows and cancellations. Clients might have last-second emergencies pop up or simply forget about their bookings, which occurs on a daily basis. However, 2020 had brought record-breaking numbers when it comes to missed visits. Simply put, many clients feared catching COVID-19 and cancelled their visits last second or decided not to arrive. Unfortunately, hair and beauty businesses continue to report significant numbers of late cancellations and no-shows. The worst part is hair and beauty businesses are required to operate in an appointment-only system, which means appointment slots can’t be filled by walk-in clients, thus making you lose significant time and profit. So what happened? Although health and safety regulations are more lenient than they were at the beginning of 2020, most clients still worry about their health, especially if they’re in a tier 3 area. Their fear is understandable, but booking a visit and cancelling last-minute or not coming in at all will hurt your wallet and waste your valuable time.
When it comes to beauty business and hairdressing problems, no-shows and cancellations are almost always in the top 3. In 2020, COVID-19 was the main culprit for the increase in no-shows and cancellations and can continue to influence your clients’ decisions in 2021. But bear in mind that your customers might also be skipping their visits because they found a better offer or were swayed to go elsewhere, they didn’t take your business seriously or simply forgot. So, how can you significantly reduce no-shows and cancellations in 2021?
- Ensure clients’ safety: customers who are worried about their health during the COVID-19 pandemic are more likely to bail on you last-minute. Mitigate this by launching a bulk message to those who have recently booked a visit to your business, informing them of the safety protocols you have in place, and how you’ve disinfected everything for their arrival.
- Take non-refundable deposits or cancellation fees: this solution is catching on in 2021, even though it’s been around for quite a while. Your customers are less likely to cancel their visit or no-show if they’re required to leave a non-refundable deposit or prepayment prior to their visit. Alternatively, you can enable cancellation fees to be charged automatically in case a client does not turn up. As a result, even if they don’t make it to their visit, you at least receive partial payment. If you’re looking for a no-show protection solution for hair and beauty businesses, try Booksy!
- Automatic appointment reminders: we’re all forgetful sometimes, and your customers are no exemption. Sure, they might get caught up at work and simply forget about their booking, which ends up clashing with their other plans - so they no-show or cancel last-second. Prevent this by sending a friendly, automated appointment reminder.
“My client list hasn’t been growing”
Gaining new customers is never easy, but 2020 made it almost impossible. However, if you continue to struggle to grow your client list even well into the new year, you should make an assessment in order to find the root cause of this. Many factors can affect whether or not you gain new clients - clients fearing COVID-19, your competition, poor marketing activities and a lack of a referrals system all have an impact on your client list. All it takes is for your competition to offer the same treatments as you, but at a discount, limiting your marketing activities to social media posts, and simply not encouraging more referrals - top it off with fears of COVID-19 and you’ve got yourself a challenging year ahead of you.
There are no “one-size-fits-all” solutions salon and spa businesses can simply pull out and apply to their client list, as reasons for a lack of growth vary, as do the resolutions. However, a combination of a handful of time-tested options can certainly increase the number of new customers in your business. Grow your client list in 2021 with the help of:
- Premeditation and planning: be a hair and beauty trends guru and marketing specialist - or a combination of both. What treatment options should you add to your menu? What’s trending in 2021? What retail products and treatments aren’t offered in your area that you’re certain will sell well? Research your competition - how do they price their services? What can you do to get a competitive edge over them? With this knowledge, you can move on to the next solution.
- Market like you mean it: you’ve introduced new items to your menu, a fresh offer for first-time clients or have a unique point of difference - but none of that matters if you’re not marketing effectively. Are you investing in localised social media ads? Or face-to-face marketing? A post on Facebook or Instagram isn’t going to reel in new customers.
- Work with your patrons: effective word of mouth marketing is built on trust. Without it, you’re not going to grow your client list. Just like other marketing activities, it requires finesse, but also incentives to get clients motivated to promote your business. The most effective way to do so is by rewarding your customers for each successful referral with a discounted (or free) service, a free amount voucher or a product to complement their favourite service. Who are new customers more likely to trust - you or their friends and family? With Booksy, you can add a note on each referral in individual client records and register your rewards.
Although 2021 is expected to be the industry’s knight in shining armour, it can turn out to be 2020 part 2 if we’re not actively taking steps to make it better. Sometimes, all we need is to change our way of thinking in order to make it better. By working with your closest clients, planning each step you make and utilising reliable solutions, last year’s problems can be put to rest. Start 2021 on the right foot with Booksy, hair and beauty software. Your ticket to a bright new year is just a click away - no credit card required, no hidden fees. Sign up today!