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10 Salon Business Mistakes That Hurt Your Bottom Line

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

Running a business is hard work. Whether you feel ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge or you’re after opening a second location, the challenges you face never really get easier. They’re just different. Not only that, but the way you deal with these hardships also changes over time and with experience. Sometimes though, being right in the middle of it all can make it hard to identify salon business mistakes that can put your brand at significant risk.

It’s Okay To Make Salon Business Mistakes, As Long As You Learn From Them…

And that’s where I come in to help. Throughout my years working with multiple salon and spa owners, I’ve identified quite a few problems that in the long run, have really hurt some of these entrepreneurs. Today, I will run you through ten of these mistakes. But more than that, I will also give you simple solutions to help increase your business’ bottom line.

1. Failing To Update Your Database

Your salon or spa’s database is your bread and butter. It should be a constant priority. You can boast about having 20,000 names and addresses in it, but if half of them are inactive, it doesn’t mean anything. A clean database helps you understand how effective your marketing efforts are. The more your database is active and engages with your business, the better.

Tip: When you do your team’s training, make sure you stress the importance of a quality database. Have someone dedicated to updating your database on a daily basis, making sure that all the contact details are entered correctly. Change things up (give the task to someone else) every couple of months, so that your staff doesn’t get bored.

2. Not Upselling And/Or Providing Cross-Selling Training

When your client is in your salon, your role is to ensure all he/she’s needs are met. I am amazed at how many clients book in for their usual treatments and end up later going somewhere else because they didn’t know ‘xyz’ service was also offered. That, or, how many new clients just aren’t told about the wonderful services you provide.

Tip: Remember, it’s all about the customer journey. I suggest you analyse what goes on from the minute your client comes through your door to the minute they leave. Do this with your team to ensure they all buy into the customer journey.

3. Giving Little To No Importance To Customer Reviews

If you don’t have a strategy in place to get more client reviews or if they are sporadic, that has to change. Reviews have to become one of your top priorities: they are one of the most effective marketing methods. People believe people and the transparency of your business is the heart of your success.

Tip: Encourage your team to talk to their customers about leaving a review by giving them a yearly bonus or any incentive you deem appropriate. Of course, also use the many Phorest Salon Software tools designed to increase your reviews.

4. Having No Merchandising Plan

Merchandising often makes or breaks your retail sales. If your display looks disorganised or messy, it can unconsciously throw off clients and have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping for. Visual merchandising contributes to your customer journey, don’t underestimate that.

Tip: Refresh your display monthly and even, if you can, the salon’s general ambience (this doesn’t mean to give it an interior design makeover either). Allow the customer to (re)discover everything that you have to offer; you will be surprised by the effect it will have on your sales.

5. Not Providing Management Training

If often say this, but one of the biggest salon business mistakes is that sometimes our fear of recruitment makes us too scared to manage. Many salon owners fail to analyse KPIs and figures, making sure that every member of their team is profitable. Encouraging your team to become responsible for their numbers will only help to run into more profits in the long run!

Tip: Get your management team trained on how to analyse the figures and reports that suit your business. It’s also important to have individual folders with their performances and hold regular one-on-one meetings to keep their motivation levels high.

6. Not Training Staff On Retail

Retail is a constant battle. Having retail training throughout the year allows you to prompt a stronger mindset within your team.

Tips: As an owner or manager, you have to want to make retail a priority. For this to happen, make it a habit of generating reports and asking your team to write down how much they achieve weekly. Rome wasn’t built in a day and consistency is key to retail success.

7. Not Rebooking Clients Systematically

A lot of customers tell us they “will book online,” so after their appointment, we don’t ask them if they want to rebook. We need to stop doing this! Rebooking builds loyalty within your database. I’m surprised how after a nice treatment during my mystery shops – even when I say I have regular facials, for example – salons and spas let me leave without trying to make me a loyal customer. The other day, I was given a loyalty card without being asked if I enjoyed my treatment! Now, loyalty cards certainly do work. But you also have to give me a reason to be loyal. And that’s where the customer service comes in.

Tip: Give your team a bonus for rebookings and make it a huge focus for 2018.

8. Not Having A Marketing Strategy For The Year

When we get busy, marketing and training are the first two things to become inconsistent even though they are the pillars that generate strong numbers and team motivation.

Tip: Work out your marketing per quarter at first and delegate ideas as well as projects, so it’s not all on your shoulders. It’s important to be regular, so ensure you have meetings that follow-up on all the activities. And measure your success!

9. Not Focusing Enough On Reception

Reception is at the core of your business. If it functions efficiently, you can gain a lot more than you think – not only financially, but also on the customer journey point of view.

Tip: To identify what you want from your reception, ring a few places and conduct mystery shopping in various industries. It becomes interesting when you start thinking of it with a commercial approach. … And get training booked for 2018!

10. Missing Out On Mystery Visits

Mystery shopping is very personal and difficult to generate regularly. However, it’s the most impactful experience for your team and customers. It’s normal to feel scared of getting feedback. As a manager, we know what we want, and unfortunately, it’s not always implemented on a day to day basis. Mystery shopping allows you to understand what you need to focus on and helps you to create best practice.

Tip: Make the visits happen with professional people you know. They will be able to give you constructive criticism as they will experience your customer journey from an actual customer’s point of view. Try to get visits from the morning to the evening. Teams have very different energies different times of the day.

Probably everyone in this industry has committed one of these salon business mistakes at some point or another. Most times, we’re just thrown into the deep end and have to learn as we go. The most important thing is to stay open-minded and to keep learning.

Thanks for reading!

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