Five secrets to business success

Sothy's new business training courses cover finance, management, marketing and more. Lucy Douglas walked away with some top tips.

Brands offer a wealth of technical skills training to therapists – massage and facial tehniques, product knowledge workshops, nail training. But when you open your own salon, it’s the business and management side of things that you’re likely to need most help with. Last year, Sothy’s UK country manager Graham Clarke launched his two-day business training courses for Sothys accounts, which focus firmly on growing salon businesses. Below are my top five tips from the many he shared:

1. Track retrial sales for your whole client base

Retail Per Client Ticket (RPCT) is an important indicator for your business, as it shows you the average retail spend across your whole client base, not just those clients that are buying product. Clarke says the industry benchmark is £16.50 per client, but even if your RPCT is nowhere near that, there’s no reason to panic. Building it up in small amounts will still mean a big difference to your revenue. For example, in a salon that sees 560 clients a month (about 20 a day), increasing your RPCT by just 50p means an extra £280 per month in revenue, or £3,360 a year. Reaching that average increase is the equivalent of selling just one more cleanser a day.

2. Don’t be scared to increase prices

Graham Clarke, Sothy

Clarke estimates that, on average, salons and spas increase their prices every six years. However, suppliers increase their prices every year, meaning that it’s your bottom line that’s taking the hit. According to his benchmarks, salons and spas should aim to spend about 6% of their service revenue on professional product stick for treatments, and 55% on their retail revenue on retail stock.

3. Get your team working towards a set goal.

Clarke recommends beginning each day with an awareness meeting, to look at productivity for the day and week ahead, and ways the team can measure success. “Look at the Why, What, How, and What if,” he says. “Why are we here? What information needs to be communicated to the clients? How will you use that information? Then look at different scenarios, to get your staff thinking.”

4. Productivity is key to growth

According to Sothys, 85% is the benchmark for staff productivity. That means that each member of staff should be with clients 85% of the time they’re in the salon. If you’re operating above that, it might be time to expand the business; if you’re below, it’s time to recruit some new clients. “Give your therapists the responsibility to fill their empty booking slots,” Clarke says, suggesting that you tell each member of staff their productivity rate in morning meetings and encourage them to up sell in order to fill their empty slots.

5. Make the most of differences in the team

“It’s easy to focus on weaknesses, but that creates a monster,” says Clarke. “Lots of therapists struggle with learning in various way, so recognise the abilities of your team. Weaknesses are opportunities for staff to grow and develop.” As a leader, he says, you should create a team identity, recognising the areas that you’re best at and those that you could work on, “and take ownership of the weak areas”.

Graduate of SothyThis year, Clarke plans to roll out the courses to non- Sothys salons. There are courses scheduled for March, April, August and October in Gloucester, Scotland, Leeds and London. Courses are free for Sothys accounts, and for non Sothys accounts will cost £250 per person.