With most of the UK’s hair and beauty businesses closed due to lockdowns, 2021 continues to be an extremely difficult time for many in our industry. We asked our coaches for their inspiration and advice to help prepare for future success when salons and barbershops are allowed to reopen.
NHBF Members can benefit from a free 15-minute business coaching phone call per year plus special fixed-rate coaching support on an ongoing basis. Find out more about our specialist business coaching services.
Meet six of our coaches below and be inspired!
If you put a koi fish in a fishbowl it never grows more than two inches in size.
But, if you put it in a pond, it grows to a foot in size. It grows proportionately to its environment.
Why? Because it takes more for it to survive.
These times could represent this.
To progress, we must overcome the fear of failure and learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Push forward to grow in 2021.
Tip: To be successful it's not knowing all the answers but knowing what questions to ask.
In 2021 ask more questions …
Cover costs and maximise opportunities
It is crucial to start working on your cash flow and understand where you are losing money. Work on your numbers to improve your cash flow and decide that whilst on lockdown it's all about covering your costs and when you open it's all about maximising every single opportunity.
Revisit the client journey
For these opportunities to happen, you must revisit your client journey. This is the key to your success at the best of times, but with all the PPE and restrictions, it's even more important to work on the added value you can bring. Think outside the box to engage all of your various clients that come through your door. For example:
- Have you thought of creating a welcome pack for new clients?
- Have you revisited your loyalty programme?
- When was the last time you did a survey to understand what your clients want from their journey with you?
The importance of personal connection
It takes 66 days to form a new habit. Your clients were in the first lockdown for over 100 days and are now in and out of lockdowns, so their beauty, hair or barbering habits are changing. What has really worked in 2020 when it comes to marketing has been calling clients to maintain that personal connection which is more valuable than anything and helps to create strong bond with you. Revisit your marketing and think of new ideas for treatments that could entice existing clients and attract new ones!
Money worries unfortunately mean that many hair salon and barber business owners cannot be free.
We all want to be financially free, to do what we want, as and when we want to with our lives and our money!
Control your financial destiny
The global pandemic and Brexit makes getting your finances in order even more critically important: the stakes could not be higher!
Our wonderful hair and personal care sector saw a fantastic economic bounce-back in the form of a ‘V’ shape when the economy re-opened at the end of the lockdown last summer.
It’s time to wisely evaluate your business finance plan and get ready for re-opening after this current lockdown.
You will need to:
Put up your prices! It is absolute madness to assume that your business can re-open while still charging the same amount for your services as you were before lockdown.
During the last lockdown, we all learnt how much our clients appreciated us and our services – more than ever before! Most consumers now have more disposable income to spend (due to not going out as much or on holidays during the pandemic) so they will be only too happy to make an appointment at your salon or barbershop and cost won’t be their priority! In fact, many clients may wonder why you haven’t put your prices up when every other high street business has. As the old saying goes: If you don’t charge enough people will think you’re not good enough!’
Examine your current business overheads, including:
- Rent: Negotiate with your landlord if you are struggling to pay your rent (see this Member-only fact sheet about how to do this) and don’t forget that eviction for non-payment of rent on commercial premises is banned across the UK until 31 March 2021.
- Stock: Ask your suppliers to extend their credit terms, preferably to 60 days from re-opening. This will also help to ease your cash flow.
- Payroll: The furlough scheme is currently a life saver for all businesses as wages are the biggest business expense. But even with the vaccine being rolled out, I believe the coronavirus will be a major issue for a long time and some restrictions will continue in the hair and beauty industry. You must evaluate your business payroll to make sure that it is never more than an absolute maximum of 45% of your net turnover. As a coach, I work with business owners and managers to get the payroll percentage to 38% of net turnover.
Get your USPs (unique selling points) right: Consumer behaviour has changed drastically making health & safety protocols, systems and procedures the new gold standard for services that savvy clients will be looking for. They will want to feel personally safe and sincerely cared for, valued, comforted and special. They will also want to be confident that they are dealing with an expert and the best professional their money can buy.
Make these factors your USPs and you will be the high street business winners in the future.
If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else. ~ Yogi Berra
2020 was the toughest year ever recorded for this industry Unfortunately, thousands of hair salons have already gone to the wall with many more predicted to follow. This is tragic, but let’s not forget that many will survive and even more will actually grow bigger and better following the pandemic, so it’s not over yet. People are appreciating that their hair is important to them and their positive mental health so in this sense the hair industry has actually benefitted from a lockdown situation.
So how can you ensure your own business survives and grows in 2021? Here are my tips and advice:
Keep reassessing key elements for opening and running a successful business. It is my belief that to truly own a successfully growing business there are two key questions you should be asking yourself every morning:
Where do I want my company to be one year from now and what do I want to achieve?
Smart business builders consistently challenge themselves on these two issues. Reassessing and re-evaluating to establish reachable and measurable goals in advance.
‘Keep it simple’ is my mantra. I believe to get your business foundation strong you need to consistently reassess three key areas:
Look at your business vision plan. Have you even done one recently? My big advice? You need to do a vision plan now. Discover and think about what has changed for your business and what areas need to be further developed or scrapped completely. Involve all the team in the process of developing a company vision for the future.
Work together. This can all be done remotely; you don’t need to wait until you reopen. If you do, in my opinion, that’s too late. Be bold. Don’t be scared to commit to paper the vision you and the team share, anything can and should be changed if it no longer fits within the growth of your business. The team need to be heard, understood and respected to ensure 100% commitment to the vision.
Set attainable goals then clearly communicate to the team exactly what needs to happen on an individual and team level to achieve them. Everyone should know their targets, their skill levels and when and how to discuss current and future performance. The team should also be consistently encouraged to be accountable for their own destiny and understand how positive outcomes will benefit themselves and the business.
Communicating and mutually understanding specific goals with in an agreed time frame will ensure attainment of goals and targets will be more easily achieved. Results from recent research carried out by Forbes states that the establishment of specific goals result in significantly higher performance than general goal setting.
Take a fresh look at your business plan. So many people I know in business use a business plan to gain funds then after that never give it a second thought! Your business plan needs to be reviewed regularly.
Create a 'Plan B'
Even with your best efforts, you won’t reach every goal. Knowing this, allows for some variation in your plans. There should always be an alternative that addresses unexpected challenges or opportunities that are beyond your control.
Above all, don’t beat yourself up about every small mistake you make! Being in business is all a learning curve and everybody makes a slip up from time to time. Be kind to yourself and learn to reward yourself when you do something well!
Here are some key things that salon and barbershop owners should be doing during this lockdown period:
- Analyse your fixed overheads: these are all the ‘below the line’ costs that you still have to pay while you are closed. Decide on outgoings that can be stopped, reduced or must be paid.
- Ensure that you are claiming all the grants and other financial support available.
- Look critically at your current pricing strategy: there are four key factors that influence pricing:
- The salon/barbershop environment and location.
- Fixed overheads per month.
- Client data: percentage of retained clients and new client requests.
- Service mix: for example, percentage of clients who have a colour service.
- Forecast your projected turnover when you reopen: do you have enough capacity and the right number of staff to meet those projections?
Here are a few pointers to consider:
- Re-establish a consistent and positive cash flow.
- Rebuild client numbers.
- Create goals for 2021 and stick to them.
Re-establish a consistent and positive cash flow
All salons and barbershops will have cash flow issues this year. The grants and furlough have been an absolute life saver to the industry, but they will end, then the deferred bills (corporation tax, VAT, etc.) will start landing on doorsteps in March. It is important to plan for this and speak to the Inland Revenue and suppliers if you need more time to pay.
You may need to increase prices before re-opening and ensure your wage structure is working for you for your business to grow in 2021.
Rebuild client numbers
We all need more clients; 25% of salon clients have been too frightened to visit during covid and we are all hoping they will return. However, I personally don’t like relying on ‘hopium’: we need a campaign to attract new clients – but it’s so important for new clients to reflect your ‘target market’.
We will be focusing on training, improving our skills and knowledge and most importantly our client journey. We’ll be looking at how our clients’ lives have changed and at the opportunities we have to build services around those changes.
Keeping New Year goals and objectives
- Commit them to paper and share them with anyone you know who would genuinely love to see you achieve them.
- Be around the right people: I was told many years ago that you become like the ten people you spend most of your time with; if those people are not living the life you want, make some changes.
- Commit to personal growth: your current skills and knowledge got you where you are now; if you want more, you need to improve yourself and become more.
- Write down how achieving your goals would change your life, then write down how they would change the lives of those around. Most of the time we will do more for others than for ourselves.
- Celebrate the small victories: we have to bring fun and laughter into our lives and celebrating builds momentum.
- Make sure they are the right goals, not the goals you think you should have. ‘Get rich!’ is not as powerful a goal as ‘ride a convertible down the Pacific Coast Highway with the sun in my face and my soulmate beside me!’
You may also be interested in...
The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) offers expert advice and support tailored specifically for your hair, beauty and barbering business. Find out what's on offer. You'll wonder what you did without us!