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Pivoting your Beauty and Spa business during a time of change

beauty Salon - eyebrow treatment

Most experienced business people will agree that the key to success is being flexible and open to change – especially when things get tough. For the health and beauty industry, no time has been tougher than during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Many salons, spas and hair stylists have been shuttered for the majority of the last 12 months, with only a brief respite in the summer and at Christmas. And now, during these early months of 2021, while normality is in sight thanks to the availability of new vaccines, it looks certain that it will be a slow, cautious and phased return for beauty professionals and other “hands-on” businesses.

So what will the professional beauty business look like when it opens up again? And what will your clients, and your market, look like? And how can you prepare? In this feature, we look at how you can pivot your business in a time of great change.

Pivoting your Beauty and Spa business during a time of change

Look at your market – has it changed?

In a period of rapid change, it’s important to update yourself on your market, both potential and existing. Has it changed? Do you need to refocus your marketing efforts on a new market sector? One very lovely thing that did emerge during the pandemic is a renewed sense of community, and the realisation that we need to look out for each other. This extended to local businesses, with more and more people making the effort to “shop local” in the run-up to Christmas. For beauty businesses, this means looking after your existing and loyal clients, and reaching out to the local community as much as possible. Most towns and villages have specific community pages on Facebook, along with club and organisation pages – reach out to these and see how you can support your locality now and in the future. Perhaps offer local delivery for retail products during lockdown, or a special offer for locals when reopening. For your existing clients, keep in touch with an email campaign offering practical tips and advice for getting through the lockdown. For instance, if you specialise in skincare, offer some tips on keeping your skin in order while staying inside. And, when you have a date for reopening, offer appointments to your existing clientele first. Keep communication friendly and light, and resist the urge to sell, sell, sell.

Pivoting your Beauty and Spa business during a time of change

Do you need to change your premises to suit the changing needs of your clientele?

Naturally, if your target market and their needs have changed, you may need to look at how you run your business and the physical state of your business. The immediate big change that springs to mind when it comes to the current pandemic is the need for strict cleaning and tracking protocols. For the hair and beauty industry, these can be found through HABIC. But while it’s tempting to think of these as temporary, the reality is that your clients’ perceptions and expectations have changed permanently. Cleanliness and tidiness are now all-important for clients to have confidence in your business. In a practical sense, go that extra mile by cleaning down tools and surfaces in front of customers, ensuring your staff is wearing a clean and smart uniform, supplying plenty of cleanser or soap and water at key points in the salon, removing any clutter from the salon, issuing a questionnaire and safety guidelines in advance or at the start of the appointment, and ensuring every part of the salon is tidy – even those hidden corners such as tanning booths, bathrooms and staffrooms.

Pivoting your Beauty and Spa business during a time of change

Have your clients’ needs changed?

The third consideration is what you offer your clients – do you need to pivot your offerings to suit your new market and their needs? This should be looked at on both a short-term and a long-term basis. In the short term, beauty clients might be looking for “damage control” treatments, eg corrective facials, grooming treatments like waxing and laser, haircuts and colour. However, the pandemic has potentially had a permanent effect on the business. Online retail became more important than before, and if you don’t have an online presence, get one now. Ideally, clients should be able to buy products and book online. Another potentially useful online offering is a virtual consultation, for either retail or professional treatments. This reduces the number of people in the salon if they need a consultation before booking; it also gives you a chance to upsell and market your services to clients without them having to physically come into the salon. In a time of change, thinking outside the box and getting creative are key. Use this downtime to research, renew and prepare. Look for expert advice from those in the business and find resources that give sound advice. For instance, Professional Beauty offers a number of great resources for pivoting your business – these are well worth a watch.

Don’t just take our word for it, see our experts’ advice below:

Liz McKeon - Top Global Salon Business Expert

“Your business plan is your tool to see you through the next 12 months. It’s a good idea to revisit it and try and streamline your business to ensure it is set for success in our new normal. Look at furthering retail opportunities, so you are not completely reliant on services. Keep in touch with your existing clients and look after them with your marketing efforts. Ensure your services are enjoyable and hassle-free for your clients, and cost-effective for you too. Most importantly, when lockdown lifts, it is vital to keep positive and make sure you and your team is healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally. It will give your salon a positive and happy image, which will be passed on then to your clients.” To get more advice on how to improve your salon business, please contact Liz through her website here.
Pivoting your Beauty and Spa business during a time of change

Grace Crowley – Buttercups Uniforms

“The first impression is vital, especially during the current situation. The salon and staff members need to look clean, stylish and professional to help your clients have absolute confidence in your business. Adding an embroidered logo to your uniform gives the best professional finish for your business. If you look and feel professional, clients will feel at ease and see you as trustworthy. Alongside our wide range of uniforms, we also provide a new fabulous selection of high-quality scrubs that are not only fashion-forward but extremely comfortable – these promote your salon as a serious, health-aware business that has incredibly high hygiene standards – essential in today’s “new normal”.
Pivoting your Beauty and Spa business during a time of change

Jane Casey - Pluto Digital

“Make sure you keep communicating with your clients. Meet them where they already are – on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. Since the start of the pandemic, screen time has skyrocketed and brands that were quick to leverage the increase in social media use made massive gains in 2020. Learn from this, and in 2021, increase your social media presence with regular content – if you have a little advertising budget, target your consumers through social media ads and engage with micro-influencers. Maybe you could even do weekly Instagram live beauty tutorials? Get creative and you won’t regret it.” For more, see Pluto Digital
Pivoting your Beauty and Spa business during a time of change

Hidai Degani - Global Consultant, Advisor, Mentor & Speaker

“Try to engage with your customers, by being active on social media, posting on treatments they can do at home like facial & nail, tips & tricks to keep their beauty routine etc. (videos ideally). You can also send a newsletter and if you have a close relationship even call them and have a chat. See if there are any products or services that you can sell online, e.g. online consultations and/or unique beauty products that you can deliver (or offer collection). This might be a good time to improve your digital presence and your digital tools – your website, social media, booking system, CRM system, etc. Make a plan for reopening, with a list of customers to contact (VIPs first) and schedule their appointments, maybe offer vouchers to buy in advance, ordering materials if needed, etc, so you will be in the best position to hit the ground running as soon as restrictions are lifted. The world will go back to normal eventually, but at the same time people are getting used to being and doing more online, so adapting to that will make your business stronger.” Contact Hidai to discuss further via LinkedIn or on his website.
Pivoting your Beauty and Spa business during a time of change

Upskills Webinars

Magazine has a fantastic range of webinars available during the lockdown. If you haven’t already, we would recommend following them and checking out their previous webinars.

Professional Beauty

Scratch Magazine<

Irish Beauty

Virtual Showcase and Awards

Always keep an eye out for opportunity getting your skills showcase and any types of beauty awards.

Beauty Serve – Showcase your skills at the Virtual Hair Beauty Show

SMHBA Awards

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