Unfortunately not many of us in the industry were trained on business, leaving us to figure it out along the way. By building smart business practices in your business, you can set yourself apart from the rest and really determine the future of your business.

Technology: The ins and outs
Do you need to be a member of the Geek Squad? Absolutely not. But anyone in business today needs to learn how to use modern computer technology effectively. Whether you are a spa owner or an independent massage therapist, having the technology to keep accurate records of your clients and your business is imperative to growth and success. Being able to access client records ranging from previous services and retail purchases to their likes and dislikes at a click of a button will provide better customer service and save you a lot of time. For salon/spa owners, you want to consider having salon/spa software with a point of sale. For independent massage therapists, you may consider a PDA to keep your clients’ information or a smaller version of a software program.

Keeping track of your business is not limited to just keeping track of your clients; it also includes keeping track of money coming in and money going out in a way that will support you in knowing where your business stands.

It’s all about the maintenance
The client is the number one priority! Implementing smart business practices in how you serve your clients will not only have you exceeding customer’s expectations, but it will also support you in growing your business. The grass is green where you water it! Today it comes down to what you are doing different. No fault to you, no fault to me— you are a commodity, and the client can go anywhere. So what are you doing to set yourself apart?

Ask yourself these questions to evaluate where you stand in the minds of your clients:

  • Is your client being greeted in the first 60 seconds of walking through the door? 
  • Is there an area for them to relax and unwind before stepping in the room with you? 
  • Are you taking the time to do a Needs Assessment, meaning prior to having your client change, spending three to five minutes face to face, asking open ended questions to find out what their needs are so you can make the appropriate recommendations? 
  • Are you educating them on how they can manage their well-being at home in between visits and recommending when they should be back to maintain the way they want to feel?

All of the above are smart business practices to support you in producing the highest quality in client service. The best source in building your business is building your client relationships, so they will want to come back for more.

Marketing: Money well spent
Another aspect in creating smart business practices is marketing. There are a variety of ways to do this. The best source is through the clients you already have—word of mouth, also known as “the referral.” Think about it: When you have experienced great service, you are likely to tell everyone you know, right?  Well, the same mentality applies to your clients. Build a great marketing campaign through referrals. Offer incentives to clients to send their friends and family. For example, for each client sent to you, your existing client receives $5 off her next service. Then up the ante with a quarterly drawing—for every client they refer, they get their name entered into a drawing to win their services free for a year. Of course there would be a cap on what you would be giving away, but the return on a new referred client is monumental.

The long and short to building smart business practices is to first be a great service provider. Treat your clients like they have never been treated before.  

Combining great customer service with planning, technology and marketing is a good start to building smart business practices. Once you have mastered these business practices, look at what will move your business forward and to the next level and execute your plan.

Kim Lento has more than 15 years experience in the salon industry as a salon owner and hairstylist, and is currently a business consultant for Salon Training International, a part of Milady. As an owner, she took her team to new levels of success having the salon grow by 22 percent in sales. Kim attributes her success to the coaching skills learned through the coaching program. Her compassion when supporting salon professionals leads participants to have a business and life they love. For more information on coaching, visit www.salontraining.com.