Your Salon, Spa or Clinic Business Plan for SUCCESS!

susan routledge business planningOne of the biggest mistakes that business owners commit these days is to believe that a business plan is something you would only do for your bank manager.

Creating a working document that will serve as road map is always USEFUL for your business – it’s your plan for success!

Can you imagine how hard it would be to get on holiday if you didn’t know where you were going? Even if you did know the destination, but you haven’t planned or booked how you were going to get there then it would be virtually impossible to get there and really hard work!

People run businesses like this though. They usually don’t have any clear plan or thought of where they want to go and it costs them dearly in time, effort and money.

There is a well-known saying – “fail to plan and you plan to fail”.  And it is very true.

The direction you want your business to go in needs to be clearly charted with both yourself and your team on a clear path of that journey. You simply cannot experience a profitable business without a plan for success.

Your plan may be to stay the size you are now or it may be to be double the size in 2 years. Whatever it is you envision for your business, you need to have a plan.

Your plans may change and you may end up taking a detour, but you should have markers or steps to get your business running on a good solid route. Written down plans are always more effective than thoughts in your head, so get a plan done and down on paper as soon as possible.

Your markers could be things like the next piece of equipment you want, a course you want to do, or monthly targets for growth in turnover. They will always be things that you can strive to achieve and then you will naturally move on to your next challenge.

You should also have a long-term plan for success in place too.

  • How long do you want to have the business for?
  • Do you want to sell it eventually?
  • If so how much would you like to sell it for?

These are all key parts and elements to your business and don’t forget, this should be a fun exercise and updated regularly.

Happy planning!

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>

Promote Yourself and Your Business

promote your businessThis is such a grey area now and so many people get it wrong and it ends up backfiring on them. You really can promote yourself and your business without slashing prices. Yes, you can do it for FREE!

A common mistake is to run a promotion on a quiet treatment thinking it will draw people in, but a far better idea is to run a promotion on a busier treatment linking it to your quiet treatment. Doing this will give your existing clients a chance to take advantage of a new treatment AND it will also generate new business to a well established treatment….double whammy!

I always think it’s a bad idea to reduce prices. Once you do this you are really telling your clients that you can afford to do the treatment for less, or else how could you be doing it? I see treatment offers slashing up to 50% off a price. That treatment will never have the same worth to a client at full price ever again, and more often than not it kills sales of that treatment.

A far better idea is to do add on’s. This can be a free addition or upgrade to that treatment or a free gift, hopefully supplied free to you by your supplier. Always check what freebie gifts are available. You will be surprised what suppliers can give to you.

There is no point in having a great offer if no one knows about it, so you need to tell every client who comes into your salon. To successfully promote yourself and your business, your mindset should be that if you miss one person out you could really offend and upset that client. Don’t think of it as a sales pitch.

Another great idea is to email your client list with a call to action to get the phones ringing i.e. ‘only available to the first 20 clients who book so ring now to confirm your place’.

Direct contact will always get a far better response than standard advertising methods, and there are now so many ways to promote for free – including popular media such as Facebook and other social media sites.

The deal sites like Groupon are a popular offer route too but please, please be extremely careful! Once again, I have seen businesses really suffer and some go out of business at the lure of all these new clients. A lot of these clients could simply be Groupon Groupies who just chase the latest offer.

Often your own clientele suffers greatly because of the change in how the business has to run to cope with the extra demand. I have seen lovely salons literally turned into conveyor belts for little or no gain.

There are marketing specialists such as Catherine Trebble from Full Appointment Book Systems who have spent hours and hours on mastering the best way to make profit and maximum benefit from these deal sites, and I would highly recommend learning from an expert before jumping head-first in to offering a deal site deal.

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>

How to Properly Handle Salon NO SHOWS

no showsOne of the most common questions I get asked by Salon Owners is how to handle salon no shows. The first question I would always ask in return is ‘Which part of this problem are you responsible for? Most of the replies will put total responsibility on the client and never on the salon.

I know it can be so frustrating and sometimes infuriating when a client doesn’t show up, but it is far too easy to put the blame totally on the client.

I really don’t think there is a bank of clients out there trying to disrupt your appointment system and jeopardise your continued business. Instead I believe that we have to take more responsibility to handle salon no shows by helping your client remember and respect their appointment booking.

Nowadays everyone, including your clients, have extremely busy lives trying to remember so many things, whilst also juggling work and family life. Although your treatments and appointments are a huge focus in your daily life, the importance of remembering a facial appointment can easily and unintentionally pale into insignificance in the hectic world of your client. You must therefore do all you can to ensure that your client has their appointment in the forefront of their thinking by contacting her with gentle reminders.

Historically, most businesses will just sit back and hope and pray that the client will remember this appointment time, which could be anything up to 6 weeks away. Does that now sound crazy to you?

Here are some tips to help reduce the ‘No Show’ problem:

  • It is essential with existing clients to re-book their next treatment before they leave you. This not only improves your client retention and appointment planning, but it also means that you can confirm correct details on an appointment card for a client’s safe keeping.
  • If a client telephones to make the booking then you must reiterate all of the details back to the client, and then either text or email a confirmation to them.
  • You must have contact with clients at least 48 hours before their appointment. This can be a friendly phone call or a quick text or email reminder. Many software programmes now can automate this process for you.
  • Staying in touch with a salon newsletter also keeps your business in a position of importance for the client.
  • Make sure you have a written cancelation policy in place as a deterrent. I always feel it’s hard to impose a policy unless your services are very unique. You can easily lose a client if they think they have incurred charges on their account, and they will simply move to another salon. My advice would be to give your client the grace of forgetting or missing one appointment, then if it happens again, simply explain how you love offering treatments but that you would need to take payment in advance. If they refuse, then they would likely re-offend, so let the client go.
  • A pre or part payment booking system is a fantastic way to eliminate no shows and is most easily implemented with online booking. No shows can be a thing of the past with consistent action.

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>

Be Knowledgeable about Beauty Treatments

beauty treatment knowledgeThe easiest way to WOW your clients and to knock spots off your competition is to be knowledgeable about beauty treatments. Keep yourself updated about everything that concerns your business and further your information about the craft.

Standard training from college is no longer enough to set you apart from the huge amount of other beauty establishments out there. It is no longer the case that a client wants to come for beauty treatments for purely pampering reasons, they also want professional advice and you need to able to give it.

You and your team need to be constantly learning. The least you can do is to read articles constantly on new treatments and changes within the industry along with updates and refreshers from suppliers.

Clients now demand far more to get the perceived value of their money. I know of clients who have more knowledge than the therapists because they keep abreast of  information relating to beauty treatments provided on the web. Clients expect to get this from you. You need to set yourself and your team to shine in outstanding knowledge and impress your clients.

It is great if a therapist can explain what is in a cream and what it can do, but to be fair, so can every consultant on every beauty counter in the UK. This isn’t going to set you apart from your competitors. Update your basic skills to a far higher standard and your sales will soar naturally because ‘knowledge sells’.

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>

How to Provide Excellent Client Service

excellent customer service for spa

excellent customer service for spa

You think you know your business, but how does everyone else see it? Are you providing excellent client service to make your clients coming back for more treatments?

I see all too often, salon owners can build a business solely around themselves, and are totally blinkered to everything and everyone around them. Don’t get me wrong, your business needs to take on your identity, but it also needs to identify the needs of your clients.

The only way you can truly know what your clients want is to ask them in general conversation, but make sure you are not only hearing what you want to hear. You could also be more formal and do an anonymous questionnaire if you prefer.

Clients will often open up more to your staff, but you need to take on board everything you are told and act on it as soon as possible…good or bad! As we all know some clients do like to have a bit of a moan, so please only question clients who you know will give you honest constructive feedback.

Never ignore the moaners or their gripes will get told to all their friends and possible future clients if you don’t address them in a positive manner.

Do you really know if your clients like the music you play, or does it become irritating to them? This is the kind of information you need, whether you think it is relevant or not. These little things can be the difference between a good client experience and a great one.

It is far easier and cheaper to keep your existing clients happy than constantly having to look at new ways to source extra ones. A happy client will tell all of her friends, bringing in a stream of new clients. But equally so an unhappy client will also tell all of her friends, which could literally cost you your business!

It really is the little things that make the difference. Excellent customer service costs nothing but unfortunately a lot of salons just can’t be bothered to go that extra mile to make a client feel special and valued.

People love to feel part of something and your staff and clients are no different and should totally feel part of your business.

Businesses pay consultants huge fees to analyse their organisations, yet they haven’t even consulted their own staff or clients as to where they can improve. You have your own personal team of consultants at your fingertips. Make sure you use them!

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>

Effective Tips to Increase Business Turnover

increase business turnoverTo efficiently increase business turnover, I suggest you take at least one day out and totally dedicate it to looking at your business from the outside.

You need to make a list of as many areas as possible you can look at in your business, and I suggest initially you do this alone – as you are the only person who truly knows your business.

I want you to look at each area as critically as possible.


I am going to look at the most obvious first point of reference, and this of course is your finance within the business.

Firstly look at the money you have coming in.

  • Is it stable amounts or are there huge fluctuences from day to day or week to week? Try to work out ways in which you could look to maximise and make the week flow better.
  • Are there any days where you can’t accommodate clients? It may be that on certain days opening later and offering later appointments may be better.
  • It could be that you could offer a special offer every Tuesday if that is a quiet day leaving more space for appointments on busier days.

The more ideas you come up with, the better your chance is to increase business turnover.

They may not be your most popular options but you are in a service business and you need to work to fit in with what is best for your clients.

Your staff may have a bit of a moan too, as no one likes change. Make sure they understand WHY you need to make changes and that it is helping to secure their employment too, and they will soon understand.

Once you have a clear picture of what you have coming in and where you can make improvements, then you need to look at what is going out – your costs. You need to evaluate if everything is necessary…honestly!

The bonding staff night out once a month to the local restaurant may have to be a girl’s night in!

You need to really grill down your stock too.

Check with your suppliers to if you can reduce your minimum orders, or extend your credit terms. It is so much better to sell your stock before you have to pay for it. Always pay your suppliers on time too to maintain the best relationship.

This also may be a golden opportunity to look at your utility suppliers. It is so easy to carry on paying for gas, electricity, phone etc but changing companies can save you literally hundreds of pounds.

You can do this yourself, or you can use an independent utilities consultant who can give you no obligation quotes. It’s all far easier than you think. Once you have looked at utilities then knuckle down every expense and where you can change and improve.

This exercise can be very liberating, but it initially can be very daunting – and even upsetting.

Once you have compiled your improvements then you may feel comfortable to move forward with them or check with your accountant the best ways to implement them.

Susan Routledge works with salons, spas and clinics to help them to get the most out of their businesses. You can contact Susan here>>