Let’s be honest: Being a business manager sucks! You have to deal with diverse personalities in your team, conflict and performance issues, tedious inventory management, and tons of legal compliance tasks. To make it even worse for salon business managers, you also have to satisfy a highly demanding clientele. You have to manage the big egos in your clientele if you are to retain them and upsell add-on services/products to them. You have to ensure that everyone in your team is optimally productive and happy for optimal service delivery. And as if that’s not enough, you have to manage finances lest you bankrupt your business.
Is there a way of making business management a little easier and more fun? Yes, you can do it through creative management! Creativity in management means being willing to experiment with new strategies and approaches. It means being flexible with your management styles. Creative managers understand that clients aren’t at all the same, employees are affected differently by different workplace policies, and personal finances have to be divorced from business finances. That is why creative management is the most effective solution to the above and many more salon management challenges.
That being said, is it possible to learn the art of creative management? The answer is a big YES! Allow us to set a strong foundation for building your creativity as a salon manager. Here are the 5 most creative ways to run a successful salon.
1. Be creative with your finances
Your goal as a professional hairstylist, cosmetologist, or nail technician is to make customers achieve their best possible looks. The goal of your salon as a business is to make money, save it up, reinvest, and grow. So, as bad with numbers and books as you could be, you must be able to help your business achieve these ultimate goals. That’s where creative management comes in handy.
Here are a few creative financial management tips for you:
i. Keep track of your money. Have a clear record of the money clients spend in your salon per day. More importantly, know how much you need per day for your payroll, supplies, rent, taxes, and utilities.
ii. Now that you know how big your daily budget and income are, don’t wait until the end of the month to start saving up for your bills. Make a habit of setting aside enough money every day for your average daily budget.
iii. Look for ways to cut down on expenses. If you can save by buying supplies in bulk, do it by all means. If your payroll is spinning out of control, automate some of your tasks using a management software program and let redundant employees go.
iv. Don’t invest in marketing tools and/or platforms just because they appear trendy and fashionable. Use Google Analytics, for example, to measure the success of your online campaigns.
v. Have multiple revenue streams. Retail sales, add-on services, YouTube tutorials, and webcam consultations can all provide additional income.
vi. Create an emergency fund (and have a separate account for it) in readiness for unforeseen business eventualities. The ideal amount for this fund is between 5% and 10% of your daily profits.
vii. Save up for your retirement.
All these finance management tips will be easier to implement if you have salon software. You won’t need a notebook or an excel spreadsheet to keep records of your income and expenses. The software will handle all revenue, sales, and expenses numbers for you. It can help you narrow down income to individual clients so that you can recalibrate appointment lengths to avoid spending too much time on low-quality customers. It will tell you how much each one of your support staff earned in a day so you don’t end up overpaying unproductive workers and underpaying deserving workers. What’s more, the software can help you minimize missed appointments and no-shows by sending automated appointment reminders. You win through and through when you invest in a reliable salon management program.
2. Make your salon decor “Instagram worthy”
Social media, notably Instagram, as a marketing tool is invaluable for beauty businesses. Your salon will have a strong client pull if the pictures you post on social media are top-of-the-line. That is why you should invest in a good camera, sharpen your photography skills, find a good photo editing tool, and most importantly, improve your salon décor. Make sure that your salon is elegant and Instagram-worthy in order to encourage clients to create and share user-generated content online. That will significantly boost your bottom line.
Here are a few creative tips for decorating your salon:
· Have a consistent signature color theme. If you need to repaint some walls, ensure that you use the same color palette that you use on your marketing materials and website.
· Upgrade your lighting. Add a few big and bold lamps in order to improve lighting and change the vibe of your salon.
· Hang relevant wall art that expresses your personality and provides an Instagram-worthy background.
· Incorporate fresh greens in your décor. Your salon will feel fresh and more vibrant while the photos clients take with the plants will look magnificent.
· Bring in some funky accent furniture to modernize your lounge. Clients won’t mind chilling and hanging out in a stylish and comfortable lounge especially when you have long queues.
· Ensure that your styling chairs are comfortable for both clients and stylists.
Define your décor theme before proceeding with your salon décor. Don’t mash up ideas together and hope for the best. Your décor will look inauthentic and tacky if you do that, and that will be counterproductive.
3. Understand basic inventory management techniques
Creative salon managers always have the right amount of inventory for both in-salon use and retail sales. While at it, they ensure that funds aren’t tied up in dead or excess stock. This is how they (you should) do it:
· Invest in salon software with good inventory management tools. The software should keep track of your inventory in real-time, send daily stock alert emails, enable barcode scanning, forecast demand for futuristic ordering, and track inventory across multiple Points-of-Sale.
· Find creative ways of getting rid of slow-moving stock. You can, for example, use the excess stock as special discounts or promotions.
· Audit stock manually every now and then. You shouldn’t entirely depend on an automated system because systems fail sometimes. While at it, ensure that all labeling is on point.
· Prioritize quality control. Sometimes products get damaged before their expiry dates mainly due to poor storage. Regularly check for signs of product damage, throw out damaged products, and improve your storage if necessary.
· Leverage drop shipping for your online retail business. You don’t have to hold the inventory yourself.
4. Learn the art of managing creative employees
Beauty salon workers are all artists. Artists are creative, and creative people aren’t the easiest to manage. For this reason, always ensure that you hire the right personality for your brand. Ensure that the people you bring to your team can handle the stress of working with big egos, wear multiple hats in a day (styling and marketing), and satisfy unpredictable clients.
Do you need creative tips for managing creative employees?
· Artists work best with music in the background. Provide music that has a good balance of high energy and relaxation.
· Artists hate rules and micromanagement. Give your employees a longer leash so that they can explore their creativity. Don’t dictate to them a set of rules and plan out every little styling procedure. Instead, help them make better styling decisions by retraining them regularly and sponsoring them for refresher courses.
· Create a collaborative environment. Explain to them what your brand expectations are but allow them to brainstorm ideas amongst themselves. Also, ensure that your floor plan facilitates communication and collaboration.
· Provide feedback on a regular basis. Give employees enough time to prove themselves before you send anyone packing.
· Don’t criticize employees based on your personal preferences. Instead, judge an employee’s skills by how satisfied their clients are.
5. Be creative with your marketing
To turn prospects into paying customers in this extremely competitive industry, you must be extremely creative with your marketing approaches. First of all, you must ensure that your customer service is outstanding. Secondly, treat everyone with utmost respect and patience even if you don’t count them as prospective clients. You never know how many prospects a person you disrespected could influence. Word of mouth marketing is still very powerful in regards to local service-based businesses.
Here are a few more creative marketing tips for you:
· Meet prospects at non-business-related events. Warm up to potential customers at church, family gatherings, public transit, PTA meetings, parties, and any social gathering you are invited to. Don’t be too promotional while at it. Take your time to know people first before making your pitch.
· Show your expertise across social platforms. Write blog articles, host podcasts, and share YouTube videos. People love being associated with the best of the best.
· Offer free consultations to potential clients on social media. Clients will think “If this is the value I get for free, what if I paid for it”. That curiosity will get them to your salon.
· If you run a loyalty program or contest, focus on the “losers” more than the “winners”. The winners are already in the bag but the losers probably have one leg out. Follow up with them to check if they are unhappy or to give them more incentives to participate in your loyalty programs.
Salon management is not a simple task, but it will be a lot less hectic if you adopt creative management techniques. There are no perfect routes to success in this line of business, of course, but the five tips we have shared will definitely point you in the right direction.