how do I expanding my business

How Rapid Salon Growth Took Me By Surprise

How Rapid Salon Growth Took Me By Surprise

Two years after I sold my 3 room, 7 staffed spa, I moved to tiny little sea-side town on Vancouver Island and opened my third esthetic business as a single owner/operator model. By the time I completed my first year in business in 2007, I had a full, happy clientele and a booming bank account. However, I quickly became a victim of my success three months later.

I was so good at generating new clients that nobody could get in for an appointment for three months.

Now…you may be thinking, “I wish I had that problem!” but I want to explain why having such rapid growth came at a price and how you can avoid my growing pains.

 1.  I was overworked with admin and non-billable duties.

You need time to develop business systems that will ease your workload. The systems you use right now may not be scalable when you are fully booked.  For future ease, plan for bringing on digital systems that can handle the mundane administrative work you shouldn’t be wasting your time on. Or start researching companies that you can contract the work to.

I finally hired a laundry service to relieve my workload, signed up for a new booking/POS system that was more efficient and did a trade for my bookkeeping needs. This allowed me true down time outside of salon hours.

 2.   I hit a ceiling with my earning potential.

As you are slowly growing, that is the best time to think about how you will increase your earning potential....and then Make. A. Plan.

Will you build a larger location? Are you budgeting for that? Will you hire staff?  Don’t be that salon owners who throws new hires on the floor with very little training and wonder why you have high client and staff turnover. Unsexy but essential business strategies and systems will need drafting: business plans, policy and procedure manuals, training protocols, and salon systems. All of that development takes a huge amount of time to prepare for successful growth.  Why not start those now?

If you don’t want to hire staff and choose to keep it small, how are you going to leverage your time? Will you raise your rates? Become specialized? Working longer hours won’t be an option at that point, or you’ll quickly burn out.

I chose to drop the services that were not popular, hard on my body, took too much time to set up & clean up or were just not enjoyable to me anymore. By removing them, I opened up my schedule for the treatments truly I loved doing (waxing) and were much more lucrative per hour.

My advice? Consciously decide how you are going to work smarter, not harder.

3.   I was completely exhausted.

At the beginning stages of building my clientele I could be much more flexible with my schedule. But as I got busier I had to learn how to say ‘no.’ By then I was also a single mom, and it was important for me to be physically, mentally & emotionally present for my son and I was not willing to comprise that part of my life.  Saying 'no' to the extra booking requests was really hard, but I needed to stick to my hours so I could have longevity in my career.

When I realized clients couldn’t get on the books for three months, I stopped taking any new clients and waited for attrition to happen in my business.   It took approximately one year for my schedule to get to a place in which I felt more balanced. And when the recession hit here in 2009/2010, I simply stepped up my client attraction tactics to begin the building process again.

The bottom line is; use the extra time you have while your business is growing to design it in a conscious way. And if your business does happen to explode with 10x the clients, you are prepared to handle the scale with grace and professionalism.

No one can predict the future, but if you can embrace your slower growth periods to make plans for a scalable business, you will be able to protect your energy, keep your passion and still allow for higher earning potential for when rapid growth hits!

How To Know If You're Ready To Expand Your Salon

How to Know If You're Ready To Expand Your Salon

Many salon and spa practitioners go into this industry with dreams of owning their own salon. And the beauty of the business models we have available to us (home-based, mobile, office space, room rental, storefront) is that you have the option of starting small with flexibility to grow, so as to minimize your financial risks.

But how do you start small then grow BIG?

Once you’ve got a steady clientele, a schedule that is consistently booked and perhaps even a wait list…. at what point should you expand your business?

There are 2 questions to ask yourself before you make a financial commitment to expand your salon business.

1) Is my schedule at least 80% booked?

The time to start seriously looking into expanding is when your productivity has reached 80%. If you’re at 90% or higher, you’re risking burnout and need to create a strategy so you don’t end up physically crippled or emotionally drained.

If you are currently 80% productive and you think you might want to expand your business, ask yourself…

2) Do I really have the drive to grow bigger?

This may seem ridiculously obvious, but you’d be surprised how many micro-salon owners I’ve come across who say they want a bigger business, but when I explain what’s entailed with the cost and leadership requirements of a larger space and more staff, they start reconsidering.

I don’t want to freak you out, but you need to know, specifically, what you’re planning on getting yourself into. Yes, fountains, beautiful lighting and décor is the vision you had for your dream salon, but did you look into the cost of that?

And what about your role as a leader? Are you willing to make those tough decisions that “no-compromise” leaders make? And are you prepared to coach your staff to help them reach the salon goals.  Will you still have time to do your hands-on work?  Probably not as much as you think.

Consider if you truly have the drive to plan, strategize and follow through with what’s needed to build this expanded salon and keep growing. Owning a business takes hustle; operating a bigger salon needs bucket loads of hustle.

Do you have the energy it will take to expand and sustain your business? Click to Tweet

It does not matter whether you have the drive or not. What matters is that you know... so you can plan accordingly.

It’s exhilarating to see your business finally maturing, but I urge you to see both the light and dark sides of your endeavor. Being prepared and creating strategies for what’s coming down the line is the difference between making record sales or laying off staff and closing your doors.

So whatever you choose…choose wisely, make your plan and follow through.

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