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Owning a Salon business…

by Coach Christopher · 4 comments

Owning a salon business can be hard on your marriage…

Or probably any business for that matter, which is where I was at…

 

PART 1 (of 3)

One sunny afternoon I was pulled into my office…

And without warning…

Without notice…

I heard the words that would change my life
(and my business for the better, but I didn’t know it at that time)

But I heard those words we all dread

And I heard them when I thought it wasn’t even possible for me to hear as an owner…

But they came anyway… “you’re fired.”

Worst yet, they came from my wife.

 

…the second time I heard them I knew she was serious and things had to change.

 

See, even though we were doing hundreds of thousands worth of sales, we didn’t have any profits

Heck, we were barely even taking home a paycheck

Between the two of us combined, we weren’t even making minimum wage (our accountant told us we were at $2/hour, each)…

This is what happened…

I saw our staff member, Wendy, open her door while I was in the corner of our waiting room observing things…

The client came out from a massage and she gave her a glass of water…

Showed her a stretch…

And then waved goodbye and said “I hope to see you again”!!!

Wendy went back into her room and the client checked herself out.

I went into our massage room and began a little chat with Wendy…

crying“Hi Wendy” I said, “can I have a word with you?”

“sure, what’s up?”

“Well, we need to be walking clients up front when we’re done to recommend products and reschedule them. Did you have a spa-scription to give her to sell any products?”

“no”

“What we should do is meet them up front, go over your personalized spa-scription to sell products and then recommend a treatment plan and get her back on the books for next week, ok?”

“ok”

…where then Wendy went straight to my wife, broke into tears saying I had chastised her…

Then she QUIT!?

…and then I got fired from (working in) my own business
(which actually turned out good, it taught me the #1 rule for business owners)

See, when I met my (future) wife, she had a nursing degree from Russia so knew all about massage to heal…

I figured that getting a massage license would be easier than getting a nursing license…

So with the success of an online business I had, we packed our bags and moved to CO to open up our day spa!

DSC00098We chose a mall location, signed a lease, took out a home equity loan to build out a couple of rooms (ourselves) and setup shop!

We built the rooms, the walls, shelving, even the front desk…

We even took care of the signage, website, decorations, retail, the WHOLE thing as I’m sure most of you have done too.

Gift Certificate sales were great so we added on facial services figuring to double our gross sales…

Then we decided to add a salon for hair and nail services…

Next we grew, hired staff, business (well, sales) are booming…

And we decided we wanted our own location and we got a loan and bought a Million dollar building, tripled our space and moved in!

You would THINK things are great, right?

 

WELL GET THIS…

With hundreds of thousands in sales, owning our own building and a staff of a dozen or so…

We weren’t really making any money for ourselves!

So I took action and decided on a few steps:

First, I hired a professional website designer and had her come out…

The designs she was sending over weren’t capturing the feel I wanted so I had her come out to our salon spa…

And she captured the same feeling, a real spa experience online – BAM, a home run!

Our clients LOVED our new ($6,000.00) website…

We got compliment after compliment on it from every one of our clients…

I even knew enough to have the focus be our e-newsletter signup because getting prospects from online is CRUCIAL…

 

BUT WE WERE STILL LOSING MONEY

Ouch, this is becoming a serious problem because not only are we barely paying ourselves now, but the bills (and loans) are adding up quickly!

I sat down and thought about it, running it over and over in my mind…

I decided to take action on a SECOND Step:

…and we booked tickets to the national salon and spa show…

But not to visit the show floor to see everything new…

but to sit in on ALL the business trainings in the classroom…

Guess what?

We were more confused than ever, talk about information overload!

So we took a THIRD Step…

We looked to the one guy who has head and shoulders above the rest in business sense…

And hired him for a $10,000.00 consulting package and flew him out for a few days to help out.

Although there was a LOT of information, here’s the main gist of what he said:

“You’ve got to train your staff how to sell retail and reschedule… that is KEY”

So we did, or I tried…
(this is where it all backfired)

And I still have (post being fired) the same problem…

 

SEE…

my income was based on my staffs performance…

It was all in THEIR hands…

So whenever I saw that the ball was being dropped, I’d go up and suggest they follow the protocols we trained them on.

Well, you already know how that worked out…

Apparently there was a reason why I was in the back office, I can’t manage 🙂

Actually, I can’t even talk to staff, they get upset, can’t take my constructive criticism and…

They end up quitting.

Do you see the problem we’re facing (that many of us face)?

We just bought a million dollar building…

Spent $$$ building it out…

Invested $6k into our website to get clients…

Just paid for $10k worth of consulting…

And it’s all VITAL that this works…

because we’re not making any money…
(and forget about ever seeing any profits)

And to rub salt in the wound, I can’t even tell staff what to do to fix it!

 

SOMETHING HAD TO CHANGE AND QUICK

sky welcomeAnd it did.

It was so simple…

It was right in front of my face…

All it took was seeing things from a different light…

Like being in a meadow outside at sunrise, it dawned on me…

And when it dawned I could feel the warmth…

And the simplicity of it all put a big smile on my face 🙂

 

I was relying on my STAFF to bring in my money, literally, for my paycheck…

Where I should be relying on MYSELF for my paycheck 🙂

 

Let me say that again, in a slightly different way:

The income of MY business should be dependent upon MYSELF

Hell, I’m “fired” from speaking to staff anyway, so I thought…

Instead of depending on them to do their job, or training them (that’s my wife’s job) I should focus on what I can control…

And that’s the #1 job of ANY business owner…

Marketing the business

Specifically… that is getting NEW clients into the business…

because even if my staff was doing outstanding, they can’t do their job if they don’t have any new faces to talk to…

Which is exactly what I began to do.

 

First, I got OUT of the spa…

I setup my own office…

And then went to town marketing my business…

With the specific focus of getting NEW clients in, ASAP!

…that’s what I learned…

The #1 lesson of owners, focus on marketing…

Why?

Because getting NEW clients into my business is 100% under my control…

My paycheck (& profits) are dependent upon myself, and no one else…

And I like it that way.

“Who Loves Ya?”
-Christopher

PS
Tomorrow I’ll get into exactly what I did to take control of my own paycheck by getting new clients in…

And you’ll never believe what marketing worked BEST (it’s the Opposite of what most of us do)!

…leave a comment below please, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Christopher

Share your thoughts here!

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Lora

Hello Christopher~

I enjoyed reading your story of the joys of ownership, as I too can relate.

I must say I agree and disagree on the “most important ” parts of building back a business.
So often I here of Medical Spas, Salons and spas slashing prices to unethical amounts, falling into the Groupon nightmare and advertising in every format possible while spending thousands to try and gain more patients/clients. I so often here we just need more clients or more traffic, more new people to walk through the door.
My first question is how much time or money have you invested in your current patient/client list ? The reality is the quickest way to grow your practice/salon is to retain the patients you already have. Capture the additional 15% of business through your existing patients/clients with new treatments and referrals. In addition raising retention by merely 5% will increase the value of an average patient, do the math that is lifetime profits from 25%-100%. Staying close to patients/clients who are drifting , send a “Miss You” letter invite them back .Meanwhile these steps takes little time and effort compared to trying to find a new patient. There is no Loyalty program or marketing tool that will work if your patients/clients are slipping away.

Everyone values Loyalty. Businesses value loyal customers and customers value businesses loyalty to them . We care if a patient /clients leaves us , so many large and small business dont even notice if customers leave. Stay close to your patients/clients

We use benchmarks from prior months and years. In addition use benchmarks
including average days between treatments,average months , average return visits per year, while measuring spending and average tickets. We populate this data and through this data are able to stay close to any patient who may be slipping or stretching out treatments.

So boost your average ticket , per technician and then look at the numbers . Sometimes its one add on a day for a technician….

IN a nut shell focus on and stay close to your clients , value each of them and work at keeping every single one of them… Its not the New Client that makes you money its the client that already loves you and sells you to there friends…

Keeping them loyal one client at a time…..

Lora Kassaros

Reply

Christopher

EXCELLENT response Lora, thank you so much.

Yes, the 3 pillars… get clients to spend more, more often and refer more are great pieces of advices, I strongly recommend them.

And “marketing” includes to existing clients, of course.

However, it all starts with a new client visit doesn’t it…

Plus a 4th pillar of more clients is always good too (and NEVER use groupon to get that done)!

Stay tuned to my story for what I discovered works best…

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