Published 19th March 2017
As a company that serves the Hair and Beauty industries, we keep a pretty keen eye on what makes or breaks small businesses -- after all, we do have a vested interest in making sure our customers have all the tools they need to succeed! Skill and passion are essential, but there are a few more things you need to make your business stand out in a crowded market.
Embrace your niche
One-stop shops will always have their place, but specialised, boutique experiences are becoming more and more popular -- and successful. Clients have come to appreciate (and seek out) experiences that prioritize specific skills over ease of access or familiarity.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should change course and cut out 70% of your services. But it’s worth taking a look at the path your business is on at the moment. Are all of your offerings serving you well? See if you can answer these questions quickly and easily:
- What do clients most value about my business?
- What is the service that gets booked most often?
- What is the service that gets booked least often?
- What can I do better than anyone else in my area?
Whatever it is that makes you different – and better – than everyone else, don’t be afraid to double down on that.
Specialising can take a few forms. Maybe it’s cutting out some of your services that are taking up your staff’s time but not really gaining you much. It could mean you need to invest in extra training or tools to bring some of your current offerings up to the next level. If this is something you can build into your budget over the next six months to a year, why not go for it? Start where you’re at now, and see what you can build, slowly and steadily.
Keep your clients loyal
Of course, offering a great treatment or service is the number one thing that will keep clients coming back. But you’ve already got that covered! So how else can you make sure your customers are loving their experience with you?
The short answer: make it easy.
Make sure you’re easy to find online -- about 80% of people do online research before making purchasing decisions. If you don’t have a website, make sure you at least have a Facebook profile and a Google business profile, so that your salon, spa or clinic comes up in the search results.
Make it easy for them to book with you. An online booking button on your website, Facebook and Instagram can mean the difference between someone making their booking with you or someone else. After all, if someone’s pondering making a haircut appointment at 9.30pm at night, are they more likely to go with someone they’ll have to remember to call the next day, or the person who will let them book in right then and there?
And finally, make sure you’ve got all the little things in place, like reminders and client notes. The less work your clients have to do -- remembering their appointments, reminding you of their allergies or coffee preferences -- the more pampered they’ll feel, and the more they’ll love coming to see you. And finally, if you rebook them as they’re leaving, you’ve just taken another to-do off their list, whether their next appointment is six weeks later or six months later.
Removing barriers that stress clients out won’t just make you look good, it will make your clients feel important and cared for.
Now that you’ve done all this work, to stand out, the word of mouth should start spreading! But why not help it along a bit?
You’ve figured out what your value propositions are -- make sure that’s reflected on your website. Why do people come to you? Is it because you have stylists who specialize in curly hair? Is it because you use your own skincare line? Whatever it is that sets you apart, make sure you mention that on your website.
As mentioned earlier, about 80% of people do their research online. And that means reviews are your friend. There are a few tricks for mastering online reviews, but it’s mostly about doing your homework (setting up review site profiles) and getting the word out (asking your clients to review you).
Grace is the Content Manager at Timely, the best-rated appointment scheduling software on the market for salons, spas, fitness professionals and wellness clinics. She spends her days researching and writing to create awesome stuff to help people grow their businesses. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.