Editor's comment: the importance of business support

Working in the beauty industry can be an experience of two halves. As part of a salon or spa team, therapists and techs often enjoy very close friendships and learn quickly from one another and from their managers. Open your own business, however, and things get decidedly lonelier.

In a small business, when you're the boss, who do you go to for support and advice? It can be hard for any experienced professional, particularly a business owner, to admit they need help to progress, and in the beauty industry it's sometimes tough to find a person or agency with the experience, skills and market insight to take your particular business to the next level. As Hellen Ward writes in the December issue, without full understanding of the quirks and pitfalls, this industry can be a minefield to navigate.

For one relatively new salon, seeking input from someone whose skill set blends big business structure with salon industry experience proved the key to establishing a management model that laid the foundations for significant growth. Read Nails & Brows’ story in the December issue.

However, sometimes the best external support comes from people whose knowledge is completely removed from your own and can fill any gaps in the service you provide. Our feature on treating nail and skin issues on the hands and feet explores the conditions you can treat yourself and those it’s better to refer. We also find out from some of the UK’s top techs and nail salons why they find it beneficial to forge links with professionals such as podiatrists and how to make such connections.

As 2016 draws to a close, and with the world still reeling from the enormous changes it has brought, we look inwards at the smaller innovations that shaped our own industry. From machines that deliver simultaneous technologies to moisturisers in water form, our focus on the product and treatment launches of the year in this issue unveils the launches you voted most innovative via our online poll, explaining how these exciting technologies and ingredient combinations can help salons and spas grow their businesses in 2017 and beyond.