Your staff, clients, investors and resource partners rely on you to have a clear vision of your spa or salon’s direction and how to capitalize on current industry trends. So how do you stay informed?
When you started your spa or salon, you probably had a vision of how the company would look at some point in the future: how large it would be, how many people would work there, or what kinds of cutting-edge treatments and press coverage your business would enjoy. What often happens, however, is that owners and managers get bogged down with the day-to-day details of operating a business, and your vision can get put on the back burner. Annual budgets, recruitment drives, marketing and promotional strategies and capital improvement plans end up eating into time that might be spent developing a roadmap to help you reach your future goals.
I just returned from the IECSC Florida show, where attendance in education classes was up by double digits. This is a good sign, for sure, because the best thinking and vision planning is not usually done from your office. You need to get out of the regular environment into fresh surroundings But the fact is, going to beauty trade shows will only take you so far. While undeniably useful, conferences are probably not the place to discover a trend or idea that you can call your own.
Clients today have an ever-increasing appetite for new, different and innovative products and treatments—and beyond that, new ways of doing business. Online booking used to be a very cutting-edge concept, but now consumers expect it. Having a mobile-optimized website falls into the same category. If you really want to give your business an advantage over your competition, you need to think outside of the beauty box.
There are two areas to focus on: your business and yourself. For your business, it can be worthwhile to pay attention to what is happening in similar industries—for example, those that take online bookings such as restaurants, or client-facing fields such as hospitality and retail. I get good ideas every month from Restaurant Hospitality magazine and website, many of which can apply to salons and spas. I also recommend Hotels, Hotel Business, and Retail Environments, which all have print publications as well as expansive websites. I know it’s tough to keep up with even beauty industry magazines, but consider that if you managed to get through just two of these publications in a month, you could pick up an idea or two that could really set your business apart.
As for personal development; next time you’re on hold on a phone call, or find yourself with 10 minutes to spare at your desk, Google “leadership development” and start reading. The resources out there are astounding. It’s also crucial that you have a sense of what is going on in the world; reading the Marketplace section of the Wall St. Journal and scanning the New York Times business section, even just on Sundays, will give you the latest news on what consumer product and retail companies are planning for the future. Even your local daily newspaper can be useful for staying abreast of developments in politics, business, and the world in general.
Why is it important that you have a vision for your beauty business? There are numerous studies that have shown strong links between employee / customer engagement and the vision / culture of the business they interact with. For example, this article, “Leader and Follower Factors in Employee and Customer Satisfaction,” published by the Journal of Applied Business Research, states that “In terms of shared vision, it is interesting that the more store managers and their employees share a vision, the higher both customer and employee satisfaction. A shared vision between a leader and his/her followers is indeed critical to overall organizational performance since both customer and employee satisfaction are usually highly correlated, and customer satisfaction frequently brings about superior overall performance.” Another study, published by the Corporate Leadership Council, shares that businesses experience improved financial performance as a result of employee and customer happiness.
So while you may feel that you don’t have time to invest in your business’s long-term vision or researching current trends, remember that your future success, and the continued happiness of your employees, and therefore your clients, may depend on it.
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