Five tips to boost business

The second annual Spa Business Bootcamp in January in London offered a wealth of ideas for salons and spas. Eve Oxberry took away five of the best:

1) Make a plan behind your positivity
Positivity is fantastic but without a plan it can soon turn to disappointment, says Pete Scott, business coach and organiser of Spa Business Bootcamp. “In one business I worked with, I went in on a Monday and they were saying ‘bring it on; we’re going to have a great day’, so I said, ‘great, tell me how. How many clients do you have today? How are you tracking for your monthly target? Are you ahead? If so, what behaviours have you done this month that have allowed you to achieve such a great result? Or are you tracking behind? If so, what can you do to catch up and who will be your star client today?’ That’s a positive plan.”

2) Prioritise your prioritiesValerie Delforge
Planning for success is only possible if you have time to make those plans, and for busy managers that’s a challenge. “A lot of managers feel overwhelmed because everything is a priority,” says spa business consultant Valerie Delforge. She advises making a long ‘to do’ list then choosing five to 10 priorities.“There’s no point trying to do your marketing, your budgeting, your employee management all at once,” she says. “I write down my ‘to do’ list, then I have a sheet of paper and list each day of the week. I then share the main priorities between those days. Don’t try to do everything on Monday, it’s not going to happen. Accept that you will never finish your ‘to do’ list and focus on your very top priorities. You will get so much more done.”

3) Give people what they want, but find out why they want it
If you ask a client what they want to achieve from the treatment you are about to perform and they say “I’m just here to relax” or “I want to work on my breakouts” you need to get to the crux of why that is a concern before you have a hope of upselling them a treatment or retail solution, suggests Scott. “If they tell you they want to relax, ask, ‘why is it so important for you to relax today?’ Then you’ll get to the reason reassion,” he says, adding that it could ne a lifestyle change that is also affecting their skin. “The problem isn’t with the client’s answer, it’s in how you communicate with them.”

4) Build your own brand, not someone else’s
When deciding on treatment names, descriptions and even protocols, make sure they reflect your salon’s brand not just the product house you use, suggests Carole Jones, managing director of Germaine de Capuccini’s UK distributor Totally UK. “So many salons use treatment names set by the product houses,” she adds. “There could be half a dozen salons in your area offering the same treatment and you’ve got to stand out. Otherwise the only thing that differentiates you is price and whether clients can park easily.” She suggests naming treatments and developing signature protocols based on your business’s USP. “If you’re in a beautiful heritage location you could theme the treatments around that,” she adds. “Your brand needs to be about you.”

5)Learn from disloyal clients
Asking regular clients what keeps them coming back, and what else they would like you to offer can bring valuable feedback. But how often do you ask the clients that don’t return why not? “It can be even more useful to you,” says Jessika Carrera, head of the salon division at software brand Premier Software. “In one salon a client who hadn’t returned told us the treatment was brilliant, the staff were fantastic but she just felt a bit cold. The therapists didn’t feel it because they were busy so we’d never have even thought about turning the heat up in the main areas but we got that feedback and it was really valuable.” PB