Several weeks into lockdown, reality has begun to set in, and there is a very real question mark hanging over the survival of our businesses.
Every cupboard in the house has been sorted. The wardrobe is positively capsule. Every recipe ooh-ed and ahh-ed at over the past couple years has now been tried, mastered and mmm-ed!
Yoga with Adrienne can do one, and Grace Beverley … well good for her!
The gurus have spoken. We are all going to be fitter, more empowered and more knowledgeable by the end of this lockdown. Apparently we will have established a long sought-after balance in our lives.
In the natural world, the birds are singing louder than ever and there are an abundance of bumblebees and butterflies. The air feels cleaner, and the sky most definitely seems bluer.
But the burning question lurking at the back of our minds during this period, despite the welcome distractions of cooking, cleaning, homeschooling etc., is will I have a business to return to when all this is over?
The answer is YES! However, will it be the same business you left behind at the start of this period? Probably not.
Diversification is the key here.
L’Oréal has taken up the mantle of backing start-up business ideas. They are seeking online tech models, virtual sales platforms, and other innovations. The big boys have spotted a niche and are acting quickly to market new alternatives, that still guarantee clients the ability to consult and buy products for their skin.
Many business models will need to negotiate change within their offering. Adapting the way we interact with clients in order to maintain their interest is essential to our survival as an industry.
How can I put all of those years of accumulated experience, knowledge and practice into a Facebook post I hear you say? You can’t. But the consolation here is that neither can anyone else.
During these unprecedented times, focus on holding on to those clients that have already experienced your hands, your warmth, your expertise. Make sure they want to see you on the other side, and let them know that you’re missing them.
However, an extended lockdown doesn’t have to mean a period of absolutely no income. Here are some initial ideas to get your business wheels turning; they might be doing 30mph for now instead of 60, but it’s better than being at a standstill!
1. Get your website up to date. Add all products currently available for sale and make online purchasing an easy endeavour.
2. Offer FaceTime or Zoom skin consultations. If you have a booking system keep this updated with virtual appointments for organisational purposes.
3. Create sample packs and send them to clients to increase their spend.
4. Send VIP sample packs or trial size/leftover gift packs to your top 10-50 clients. This will retain their interest and thank them for their loyal custom.
5. Buy in at-home machines/devices, to retail to clients that want an alternative to their salon treatment.
6. Continue to Post regularly on social media.
7. Keep in touch with staff. Keep them motivated by getting them involved with client contact, and enlist their help to run social media campaigns and competitions. Give them each a business-building project to complete during their time off.
8.Expand your own knowledge via online training and tell your customers all about it! Get them excited about revisiting you with all your new skills.
9.Make sure you write a regular newsletter keeping clients updated. Keep them positive and loaded with useful tips.
10.Post treatment video tutorials. For example, you could educate your clients on how to massage their own faces. Create a facial pack to retail alongside your tutorial and instructions.
On a practical note, think about the fact that when those doors are allowed to reopen, there needs to have been a super deep clean to the entire space. Heightened hygiene policies and procedures need to be implemented and advertised in order for clients to have confidence in your company.
So, lots to be getting on with! Great community spirit to help you on your way, and a light at the end of the tunnel! Stay positive!