A new year is just around the corner. And that means it’s time to start thinking about your 2018 resolutions! Whether you want to concentrate on your salon and spa, focus on yourself, or find the right balance of both, creating goals can help you set the direction and keep you on the right path throughout the year.
Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time to craft your strategy if you want to experience long-term success. Goals should be stepping stones towards reaching your company's vision and values. Think of them as the checkpoints in a race. If mapped out properly, you know that you are on the right track when you reach them.
To map out your goals, consider the acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Timely. You should know where you are aiming, when to achieve it by, and how you will get there.
Stay on the Path
Remember three-legged races? When two people are connected but each has a different goal, they’ll fall flat. But when they work towards the same finish line, they can easily reach it. Similarly, when setting multiple goals, consider how they will work together rather than separately.
It would be awesome to aim for a 10% increase across the board: client retention, prebooking rates, frequency of visit, average ticket price, etc. But would all of this be realistic? Unless there are glaring weaknesses in that salon with easy fixes, probably not. The salon would spread themselves out by trying to improve each little area and end up falling short of most their goals.
Instead, start with fewer, higher priority objectives. Once you achieve these, you can build on your successes and set your aim on new targets.
Growing revenue. Cutting costs. Increasing profit. Those are all great objectives, but they are too broad. Be specific in regards to how you will achieve this. Identify at least one key performance indicator (KPI) that will help you get where you want to go.
Instead of simply aiming to “increase revenue,” you can set a goal to “raise the average value of each transaction by 5%.”
As mentioned earlier though, it’s best to select and focus on just a couple areas, not all of them at the same time. Perhaps, you choose to focus on building your brand and attracting new clients in the first quarter. Then in the second quarter, you build on your branding campaign by launching a loyalty program.
Branding & Reputation
While your marketing efforts certainly affect your financial situation, they often have a less direct impact and can be difficult to properly measure.
From a branding perspective, you want to increase the recognition & recall of your salon or spa. Give thought to the marketing campaigns you want to run – when will they be, which mediums will you utilize, how much will you spend, etc.
With reputation, your aim will be to increase customer satisfaction which will lead to client loyalty and referrals! To measure satisfaction, you can request feedback, conduct surveys, or monitor reviews (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.).
When setting your goals, please keep in mind that having more newsletter subscribers or social media followers should not be a primary focus as they do not necessarily translate into more customers. Remember that quality is just as important as, if not more than, quantity. For example, it’s better to have 5 loyal clients than have 10 single-visit customers.
Your team defines your business. Their technical skills, the way they treat your guests, their passion–it all affects how successful your salon & spa will be. By investing in your staff, you will see the return in all areas including client satisfaction, customer retention, employee morale, and revenue growth.
One simple way to develop your salon & spa team is to provide regular feedback. If you don’t already have formal one-on-ones, your first goal could be to conduct employee evaluations on a quarterly basis.
Another area to look at is your staffing decisions. Employee turnover is a real concern for most salons & spas. Do you go into panic mode and rush the hiring process? Be proactive by working out the process now, including preparing job descriptions and interview questions. Even if you do not currently have any vacant positions, you can accept general applications and build a pipeline of candidates for when a spot becomes available.
Of course, investing in your team also means supporting their continuing education. There are multiple ways you can encourage your stylists’ growth. The obvious ways are to send them to conferences or to bring in educators. However, not every budget allows for this. If you can’t afford to send them to conferences, you can still potentially help out by giving them extra paid days off in order to attend trade shows on their own dime.
Beyond your salon's finances, branding, and team, what else is important to your business? Is the year to become more environmentally friendly, to network with local beauty schools and nearby businesses, or to get involved with charity work?
Not all your goals have to revolve around the salon though. What do you personally value most? It might be faith, family, friends, a hobby...the list goes on. Finding the proper balance between work and “life” is a struggle for most people and even more so for entrepreneurs.
While values seem to be more abstract, you can still set measurable goals: devote one day each month towards a charitable cause or work one less evening each week to spend it with your kids. By quantifying these goals, you can later look back to see if you're truly making progress.
Whatever goals you set, be sure that they are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Timely. As much as possible, break them down into steps so you know what needs to be done and plan deliverables along the way. For example, you may need to get software to help increase efficiency and measure productivity. Or before reducing your hours, you may need to hire an additional team member. The more planning you do, the easier it is to achieve your objectives.
As a final note, setting goals will help you; however, it's also good to maintain flexibility. Managing a salon & spa involves many variables. New trends emerge, and priorities change. The final destination may be fixed, but a slight detour may need to be taken. Throughout the year, check your map and make any necessary adjustments.
Have a great year!