My Salon Insurance Claim Scare And What You Can Learn From It

Have You ever had a Salon Insurance Claim Scare?

I did. Read here how I overcame the experience and my lessons learnt…

This is something that I have never really talked about but it seems so appropriate in light of a new safety guidelines booklet released this month.
I’ve got the guideline download for you too.

My experience and this can happen to any of us

In this ever-increasing world of ‘Claim Culture’, It is imperative that we, as salon business owners, protect and arm both ourselves, and our staff with the best protocols and continually stay updated on safety protocols. Even though the ‘Have you had an accident at work’ adverts have dulled down, work-related claims are still on the increase.

I have always prided myself and my business on our really high standards of health and safety and the personal protective equipment we enforce.
All that didn’t stop a small loophole forming and resulting in over a year of worry and mixed emotions when an employee tried to make a claim.

This was back in 2000, and it was the worst time I have ever experienced in the 31 years of owning my salon. I contested, along with my Insurance company, against an employee who was trying to make a claim for industrial dermatitis.

I could have opted just to expect my insurance to pay out but that just didn’t seem fair on my insurance company either. Instead of paying out, they decided to fully back my decision to fight the claim.

The support from my insurance company was amazing, as the case turned out to be very complex taking up lots of time and resources.

Their support totally instilled in me the benefit of having legal support as part of my insurance package.

Cutting a long story very short, at the end of the day there was no real winner, but that didn’t stop such sad energy which overshadowed my whole life at the time.
Although I was repeatedly told not to take it personally, I found it so hard to separate myself, my business and my reputation from it all.

The 10 happy years of experience I had from building my business, seemed to pale into insignificance when the biggest dose of imposter syndrome kicked in making me question if I even wanted to still be a salon owner.

That feeling thankfully past with the support from my friends, family and amazing team who I will be forever grateful to.

My thoughts Now

I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone, but now, I look at it all as a blessing. That may sound crazy, but I always believe things happen for a reason. To be totally honest, I am sure that I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if it hadn’t all happened. I learnt so much.

It also propelled my whole passion for our Industry and high standards further, enabling me to work closer with standard-setting organisations and to offer help and guidance from an employer’s perspective.

It pushed me to succeed further, allowing me to help fellow salon owners to achieve, by utilising best business systems for the long-term.

What to do if it happens to you?

Please remember, that If ever you get thrown into a similar situation with either a client or staff member trying to claim against your business, that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that some good will eventually come of it all.

It makes you super vigilant so that it will never hopefully ever happen again. I am sure like me that it will take you to a new level with your business.

Please try not to take it personally. That was the hardest part for me. A better way to look at the situation is that it is all part and parcel of being a business owner.
Things happen to learn and grow from.

How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Business?

A good idea is to regularly review your insurance policy to make sure that you are covered in every area.

We will be covering how to handle uncomfortable and challenging work situations further in our 2020 Beauty Directors Club Business Bootcamp. More details are at the bottom of the page.

Protect your salon environment with The New Safety Guidelines from the CPTA.

A great way to start protecting you and your team is to read the new guidelines that I was privileged to work along with a team of experts and the CPTA, (The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association), addressing issues that Salon Owners face in relation to safe practice.

The CPTA website also has oodles of useful information.

You can download the CTPA Guideline on Artificial Nails and Minimising the Risk of Allergy. In this link CTPA Guideline on Artificial Nails and Minimising the Risk of Allergy

Join us in The Beauty Entrepreneurs Hub, my free Facebook community.

…oh and if you want to learn first-hand how to avoid ever landing in hot water with any aspect of your business then watch out for our 2020 Beauty Directors Business Bootcamp. More details will be released soon in our facebook group.

Here’s a snapshot video from 2019 giving you an insight into what’s to expect.

5 Ways To Better Salon Sales Without Discounting

There is often a myth in our industry that discounting is a way to lure new clients through your door, and also a way to get lapsed clients back in to fill our appointment books to overflowing.

I am sure if you have tried discounting that you know that it simply isn’t that easy and can backfire in so many ways.

I have witnessed some great salons fall from grace and ruin their reputation by trying to grow their client base with deep discounting.

Discounts, inadvertently show your client that you can afford to do their treatment for a far lesser price, or else how could you be doing it?
I see treatment offers slashing up to 50% off. 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 forever and causes cash flow issues for the long term.

The deal site model is sold to businesses as a popular route to gain new clients but please, please be extremely careful!

A lot of these new clients will constantly be chasing the next latest offer, with little chance of ever becoming loyal to any one business.

During periods of deep discounting, you will often see your loyal regular clientele running for the hills. The change in how the business has to run to cope with demand, can totally change the salon ambience and team dynamics…

I have seen lovely salons literally turned into conveyor belts for little or no gain whilst trying to accommodate deal site or discount offers.

So what can you do instead…

  1. Address the underlying issues
  2. Look firstly at why you think you need to give discounts. Rather than chasing new clients, look in depth at why you aren’t retaining existing clients, ask for honest feedback and act fast to fix any issues. It is far easier to make past clients raving fans again with a little TLC, rather than constantly chasing new business.

  3. Always have a reason
  4. Any offer needs an explanation or reason behind it. This way a client can understand the discount. The offer could be a new treatment launch, salon anniversary, client birthday, refer a friend scheme or rebooking incentive.

  5. Plan Ahead
  6. Be proactive rather than reactive. Plan your marketing calendar well ahead so all offers are structured throughout the year. This way you can create a constant salon buzz, and excite and delight your clients with upcoming special treatments and events. This also gives clients a great reason to talk about your salon and to recommend your services to friends.

  7. Use Add-ons
  8. A common mistake is to run a promotion on an unpopular treatment thinking it will draw clients in, but a far better idea is to run a promotion on a busier treatment linking it to an add-on, upsell offer including the less appealing treatment.
    Doing this will give your existing clients a real sense of value by allowing them to try a taster of the less popular treatment and also it will generate extra business to an already established and popular treatment.

  9. Get Help from Suppliers
  10. Suppliers can be a great resource of free gifts, sample products or discounted products to add value to your treatments. Also ask your suppliers to help you to promote with events, workshops etc too

Here’s to your great business success

Susan x

In Beauty Directors Club there are over 12 courses to help you grow your client base, cash flow, staff retention and business confidence…

Plus lots, lots more. Try a month’s membership to see if it’s for you.

Are You Killing Your Salon Cash-Flow?

Imagine someone gave you £30,000 to spend in your business. No strings attached.

Being An Owner Of A Salon – What would you do?

I bet you’re thinking Wow; I would love that. I could buy that extra piece of equipment, put it towards a refurb, take on extra staff…

But would it really make a difference to your long -term cash flow?

Sadly, statistics show that it wouldn’t.

Shockingly, there is over a 90% chance that you would end up in the same financial situation as you started within less than a year!!

That is unless you were to change both your mindset around money and also restructure your business systems to accommodate the new cash injection.

Salon owners often tell me that they are working so hard, and feel like they have totally exhausted every idea to get more money in the bank, and then when they get cash, it is gone again in a flash.

There are two things that have magnified as a result of their situation.

These are their feelings about lack of money and also how they are handling their business in general by running on low self-esteem, even though on the surface they seem fine.

So what can you do?

Firstly, realise that there is nothing wrong with either you, or your business.

I firmly believe that everything in life happens for a reason and that as salon owners, we have to accept 100% responsibly for our current situation.

How we handle the situation in our head is the difference between great results or continued mediocracy.

Mindset is such a huge topic, but simply said, you must become very aware of your internal and external dialogue.

It has been proven over and over again, that if you speak in terms of lack and not enough-ness, that it will continue to be your reality.

How often are you talking about how bad things are? talking about what is going wrong around you? jealous that others have what you want?…then STOP!!

Instead, consciously look at what you can learn from where you are now, and feel truly grateful for all you have no matter how big or small.

We take so much for granted and don’t give ourselves credit for how far we have come, or all that we have.

Secondly, Take time to sit quietly and start to forge a plan of action to get you to where you want to be, and regularly revel in your mind at what your next success and milestone will look like.

If £30,000 appeals to you, then what would it take for you to get that next extra £30,000 in the bank, and then grow it further?

It may seem like a distant dream currently, but the more you can visualise it, then the more likely it will become your reality.

Make sure you focus on getting the result and not the current lack of not having it. It does take a lot of focus to steer away from negative thoughts to start with, but it does get easier with time.

Thirdly, Write down your ideas, and most importantly the reasons why they are important. What systems and processes do you need to implement or change to help aid your goal into reality?

List these out in a notebook so you can clearly see the steps you need to take.

List who’s help you need to enlist to help you achieve your goal. The clearer you are on your vision, then the easier it is to get others on board with your future plans.

Keep your journal close to you at all times, and stay focused by re-reading your ideas regularly.

I can always remember writing goals such as winning Professional Beauty Salon of the year, dreaming of speaking in Dubai and getting a diamond ring that I literally had a photo of for 10 years before manifesting it. All came true, even though they seemed outrageous dreams to start with.

We are always taught that seeing is believing, but it is strongly proven to be the other way around.

If you can believe it, then you will see it, and all by keeping firm focus on the result, rather than lack of it.

I love the fact that every business worldwide, started with an idea in a business owners head.

Everyone has started with that first ever customer and a vision for the future.

It’s what happens from there that defines the difference of your success, and that comes solely down to YOU, so get planning and dreaming now!!

Here’s to your great business success.

Susan x

For a whole reference library of different ways to improve your profits and salon success, grab a 2-week trial of Beauty Directors Club for just £1 here.

Salon Accounting Made Easy!

What Figures Should You Be Looking At?

Salon Accountancy - What Figures Should You Be Looking At?In business, knowing your figures is an absolute necessity. I don’t think that’s a particularly bold thing to say, but, as I’ve learnt during my time as a consultant, you would be surprised at how many salon and clinic owners just do not have a handle on their figures!!

Now, admittedly, I doubt any of us got into the beauty industry so we could sit and pour over our business figures all day every day, that’s what our accountants are for.. Right?

Well, that’s both true and untrue. We must be accountable ourselves too. If you don’t know what you’re operating at, and what you’re trying to achieve, how will you ever get there? However, we should also have an accountant handling and overseeing our figures for us. How often have you set time aside to do your accounting, only to spend those hours doing anything but your accounting?

So, if you shouldn’t be doing all your accounting yourself, what figures should you actually be looking at?

Recently, I interviewed Chris Cheeney, a dedicated salon accountant with experience of doing accounting for his own salon and many others. I asked him this question and here’s what he had to say:

Chris Cheeney - CDC Accounting

Dedicated salon accountant Chris Cheeney

“…It’s not all about turnover… lots of people I speak to say ‘well I want to turnover £1 million.’ And I just say ‘why?’ and they don’t usually have an answer…

I very often do an exercise with them, I say ‘would you like to have £50,000 profit in your business?’  so, I say ‘let’s see how easy it is to make £50,000 profit’. I ask them to get a calculator and put in £50,000 and divide that by 5%… they need to generate £1 million for them to hit a £50,000 profit and that figure really scares people.

When I flip it around and say ‘do that same sum, £50,000 divided by 20%’ they only need £250,000 in revenue which is far more achievable”

You can watch the full interview HERE on my YouTube channel

This was the first video of a fantastic video series that I did with Chris, tackling the common questions that many salon and clinic owners have when it comes to their accounting.

Here are the 5 Other topics we cover

1 – What is My Business Worth?

2 – How Much Do I Need to Make?

3 – How Often Should I Look at My Figures?

4 – What Can I Do? What Should My Accountant Do?

5 – What Do I Do if I Get in a Pickle?

If you want to watch the full series of videos you can find out how to do so on this page

Chris was also kind enough to do this month’s business bundle on beauty directors club, in which he tackled how you can effectively double your profits within twelve months in just a few simple steps by implementing small manageable changes.

It builds on absolutely everything that is covered in this series and includes plenty of tools and worksheets to help you along the way.

You can sign up for Beauty Directors Club today for 14 days for just £1

Heres to your business success!

Susan x

Win £5500 in the Support Our Salons Competition…

Win £5500 to spend on Your Business

The deadline is fast approaching to enter the SOS Support Our Salons competition.

We ALL face business dilemmas on a daily basis. All you need to do to enter this competition is to describe a business challenge you have faced and let us know how you corrected it (in less than 100 words). Click here to enter>>

It‘s really that simple!

I’ve put together a 2-minute video so you can learn more about this fabulous prize…

Prize Highlights:

The winner gets FULL ACCESS to my 9-month online business programme Salon Success Freedom.
And can you imagine Marketing Expert Catherine Trebble PERSONALLY writing your newsletters for you AND sending them out to your clients for a whole 6 months? That’s part of this amazing prize too!

Here’s to YOUR great business,

Susan. x

P.S. I’m DELIGHTED to congratulate Emma Heaney of the Elite Aesthetic Clinic as the winner of the Support Our Salons £5500 prize at Professional Beauty Ireland.

Don’t miss out, YOU could be the winner, but only if you enter!

Click the link here….and Good Luck

Employment Law–Can an Employee Legally Steal Your Clients?

You Really Can legally protect your client base once an employee leaves!

In the last video in our series with Employment Law Expert David Wright, David covers your legal position on what you can do when an ex-employee attempts to take your clients with them when they leave.

David also offers some frank advice on how to protect yourself from an unwelcome tax investigation and a hefty fine if you don’t meet the criteria on the HMRC Checklist.

Self Employed or Employed? This is an important question, as there’s a fine line with this one. Cross it and it could easily cost you a £10,000 HMRC bill.

At 10 minutes’ duration, this is the longest of our videos, but you really don’t want to miss a moment.



David will be speaking at Professional Beauty North on Monday 23rd October on Staff & Employment – The reality & Myths.

Click the link here to book David’s seminar…or any of the other business seminars. I’ll be speaking there too, so make sure to come and see there!


If you missed Video 1 Click Here to view>>

If you missed Video 2 Click Here to view>>

If you missed Video 3 Click Here to view>>


Here’s to YOUR great business,

Susan. x

P.S. Do you have any burning business issues you would like me to tackle for you? Drop me a line in the Ask Susan box or comment below and we will tackle your business issues TOGETHER.


How to avoid a hefty fine…

Are you aware that HMRC has a dedicated team where there only focus is to hunt out businesses who are not paying the minimum wage?

In Part 3 of this Employment Law series, David Wright explains how one of his clients who thought they were doing things correctly ended up with a hefty fine even though they fell foul of the minimum wage laws by only a few coppers.

The fine can be up to £20,000—Gulp!

Click on the video below to hear David tell this story and explain exactly why hair and beauty salons are a favourite target for the HMRC team.



PLEASE NOTE. The video was recorded Pre April 1st 2017 and the rates have now changed.
The New Minimum Pay Rates from April 1st 2017 are:
25 years & Over   £7.50
21-24 years           £7.05
18-20 years           £5.60
Under 18 years     £4.50
Apprentice Rate   £3.50

Ignorance of the law is never a valid defence, so make sure you don’t miss any of this important 4-video employment law series where the following topics are addressed:

You can find out more information on David and his work at

If you have a burning question for David or I, you can comment below. We love your feedback! Or you can pop your query in the Ask Susan box and David or I will respond as soon as we can.

If you missed Video 1 Click Here to view>>

If you missed Video 2 Click Here to view>>

Here’s to YOUR great business,

Susan. x


2 Minutes And You’ll Have It Right…

“Do you owe extra holiday pay if someone works a few extra hours for you?”

I constantly get asked this question…so I passed it over to our employment law specialist David Wright to answer for us.

Part 2 of this Employment Law series continues to define Holiday Pay and our Legal Obligations.

This video is less than 3 minutes long, but it will provide you with the right information to ensure you are paying the correct holiday/sick pay.


Ignorance of the law is never a valid defence, so make sure you don’t miss any of this important 4-video employment law series where the following topics are addressed:

You can find out more information on David and his work at

If you have a burning question for David or I, you can comment below. We love your feedback! Or you can pop your query in the Ask Susan box and David or I will respond as soon as we can.

If you missed Video 1 Click Here to view>>

Here’s to YOUR great business,

Susan. x


Are You Risking a £20,000 Fine?

Where staff and your legal obligations are concerned, the law can be an absolute minefield. To make matters worse, UK Salons can be easy targets for the tax man when it comes to employment law.

To find out more so our lovely salon owners can protect themselves, I recently persuaded employment law expert David Wright to answer some of the more pressing legal questions salon owners have. These question and answer sessions turned into a fascinating 4-video series with David.

David is not only the Employment Law Expert in my Salon Success Freedom Online Programme, you may also have seen his monthly column in Professional Beauty magazine. David also advises government organisations such as HABIA on employment law on our obligations.

Part 1 of this Employment Law series is all about Holiday Pay and our Legal Obligations.

David also addresses what we need to do if you find you aren’t paying your team correctly.

Ignorance of the law is never a valid defence, so make sure you don’t miss any of this important 4-video employment law series!

The next 3 videos will be released over the next 2 weeks. David covers hot topics such as

You can find out more information on David and his work at

If you have a burning question for David or I, you can comment below. We love your feedback! Or you can pop your query in the Ask Susan box and David or I will respond as soon as we can.

Watch out for Video 2 on Friday.

Here’s to YOUR great business,

Susan. x


30 Days 2 Grow Challenge

I’ve put together a 2 minute video telling you all about a great NEW 30 Days to Grow Your Business Challenge that the guys at Phorest have put together for us all. This Challenge will run through July.

Every day you get a new idea to help transform and grow your business.

I know one of the tips in there saved me £5000 when I implemented it, and I always encourage everyone in my SSF Programme to do it too.

Watch the video and see what you think…


By the way…30days2grow is totally FREE. It’s a great Gift from the guys at Phorest

So sign up now, I’m all signed up.

Here’s to your great business success…in July and beyond !!

Susan. x

5 Simple Salon Reception Rules to Boost Your Business

salon reception rulesThe NHF Salon Focus magazine this month featured my 5 Simple Salon Reception Rules for a new team member or receptionist to learn.
And there’s a discount code at the end of this page to book one of the last few slots for the reception course I am running on the 12th June!


I emphasise to receptionists always to contact a client if they have missed an appointment.

You should always confirm the appointment at least 24-hours prior, by text or telephone. If they don’t show on the day, contact them to make sure they are OK and reschedule.  Most clients will be extremely apologetic and grateful for the call. But the key is, if you don’t contact them, then they may be too embarrassed to return.


I find it incredibly disrespectful when a regular client gets moved from one column to another without being asked or consulted.

When taking a booking, always repeat back to a client their appointment time, treatment and who the appointment is with at the time of booking. This should now be set in stone, unless there are circumstances completely out of your control.

If you do have to change an appointment, the client should always be fully informed and give their approval. Change without acknowledgement at your peril!

It should be no different with new clients. They may have noted who their appointment is with and will feel totally undervalued instantly at their first (and possibly as a result only) ever visit to you.


Always introduce yourself and preferably wear a name badge. One sure way to make a client feel worthless is to refer to them in a three-way conversation as “he”, “she”, “him” or “her”.

Always ensure you remember a client’s name – and know the preferred name they wish to be addressed by, and then use it frequently during the conversation. If you have inadvertently forgotten, then apologise and ask again.

In correspondence, where possible either always use a person’s name or a simple “hi” but never, ever refer to a client as “Dear client”. This is so impersonal!


If you need to contact a client and cannot get in touch, please only ever leave a message on a personal mobile phone. Never leave a personal message with a family member or friend, or on a landline answerphone.

Remember, it is a client’s own private business to choose to visit you, and you may be breaking their confidence and trust in you by revealing to a third party that they use your services.

If necessary, only ever leave a personal name, along with a contact number asking them to call you back. Never mention the business name unless you are 100% certain that you are not divulging unknown information.


I always say that there is one thing you don’t ever know about a client – and that is what they don’t want you to know. When a client arrives, you don’t know what kind of day they have had, or what is truly going on within their work, family or life in general.

If a client does arrive in a less than pleasant mood, it is essential to read the situation and never, ever react. There is a saying “attitude breeds attitude” and it takes very little to accelerate a situation.

Always stay 100% professional, as there is a strong possibility that the client is unaware that their behaviour and attitude is noticeable to you. If they are aware, then they will apologise on the next visit and thank you for their tolerance.

But if a client is being abusive or aggressive, that’s not right and not something you should have to tolerate. Call on someone senior and more experienced – ideally the owner – to help and intervene. If nothing else, they need to know what has happened – and perhaps why – and take a firm decision on how to respond.

To Book a place on Let Your Reception Team Boost Your Business on 12th June, make sure you get your £80 discount by calling the NHF on 01234 831965 or email [email protected] using my special code SRTREAM.

That means your Beauty Entrepreneur price is only £170 instead of the full price of £250 🙂

See you there?

Here’s to your great business!

Susan x

Lifting The Lid On Awards Judging

I was thrilled by your response to last week’s newsletter about the benefits of entering the Professional Beauty Regional Awards. Amongst all the excitement though, there were one or two comments expressing concerns such as– “Am I giving away my business secrets to competitors and judges?” and “Aren’t the beauty awards rigged anyway?

Both valid questions. But, after nearly a decade as a judge, I want you to know just how hardworking and deserving the winners are year-after-year.

So, with the blessing of Eve Oxberry, Professional Beauty’s Head of Editorial, I’m here to lift the lid on the judging process and dispel any doubts about any underhand activities…

How the Judges are Chosen

Across all the awards categories there are about 60 judges, each handpicked by Professional Beauty. It’s completely voluntary and totally unpaid. Judges can’t get rich this way! They’re all passionate experts in the field, often with award-winning backgrounds. Crucially, every judge signs a confidentially agreement, keeping everything they read on an entry form Top Secret.

Professional Beauty gets the final word on who judges what, with around six experts per panel. No judge can assess any business they have a vested interest in, nor can they judge in their own region.

Initial Judging

You, the salon owner, submit the best entry form possible (with the help of my free ebook, of course). All entries are then distributed to the relevant judges who get a fixed time to review and electronically score out of 10 each contender against 10 criteria. There’s no conferring and, let me tell you, it can be a very solitary, weekend-killing task!

Making the Shortlist

As you’d expect, the finalists are those salons racking up the most points from the collected, confidential scores. What you may not realise is that the judges find out the shortlist exactly the same way as everybody else – by eagerly waiting for the Professional Beauty website announcement. It’s a great achievement to get this far, and Professional Beauty staff contact each salon to offer congratulations and explain what comes next…

Coming to Visit

And, for many people, what does come next is the scariest part of the process: a judge visiting your salon or spa. The announced judges, all industry experts, announce at the time of booking who they are and arrange a time to visit as a client to sample a range of treatments and learn a bit more about the business. You don’t have mystery shoppers at this stage.

The announced judge files a separate report on everything from pre- to post-visit care, but their real job is to check that your initial entry form is a fair reflection of day-to-day reality.

Delicate Deliberation

When the regional judging panel get together for final deliberation, usually by conference call, the announced judge feeds back all the info from the visits and the panel ask their own questions. Each judge separately re-scores the finalists across the criteria, in all ten critical areas, and submits their new scores electronically, ready for the big awards event in Manchester.

And the winner is…

It’s not just the nominees who get an adrenalin rush, it’s us  judges too. We’ve all formed personal attachments to outstanding businesses and we’re willing them to succeed. But, just like you, we don’t know the winner until that envelope opens:

“And the winner is…” I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

Are the Beauty Awards Rigged? No!!!

So please, trust that your entry is well looked after by people who care with no hidden agendas. There’s still just about time to rush in a last-minute entry by clicking here. Don’t forget to also download my ebook, How to Successfully Enter and Win Business Awards, here. Be quick – there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Here’s to your great business,

Susan x