Raving Fans...

Raving fans!When I opened my first nail salon I wanted it to be all about the customer. If our service was about nails then we were going to do it all! Whatever a customer wanted we did it; gel, acrylic, fast manicures, slow manicures, nail art, French polish, American French, fiberglass, airbrushing, super fast drying top coats, slow drying but super shiny topcoats, nourishing cuticle oils, quick fixes, pedicures, the lot! As I became more experienced in the business I realized I had taken on a huge task. Having such a wide range of services, requiring so many different skills from a technician, meant that we were constantly in training. Applying fiberglass is a very different process from gel, airbrushing is very different from free-style hand painted nail art. But there wasn’t necessarily a market for ‘every’ service so why was I investing so much in training the team to airbrush nail art for example when most ladies in the area wanted straight plan French manicures?

Offering a huge variety of services in your salon may be nice but tailoring your service to your market is a lot more cost effective, profitable and most importantly ensures that you do a great job for every client, every time!  This was the beginning of me properly implementing a marketing idea in order to attract new customers and create raving fans.  

Ego Iwegbu-Daley

How to actually make money owning a salon…

The financial management of a business is of course crucial! I was actually pretty good with this as I started and continued to run my businesses with a full financial business plan. I always had up-to-date Profit & Loss information and a Cash Flow forecast showing me who I had to pay and when, but the one thing that really got me in the beginning was VAT! Whilst I knew it was a tax on goods that would need to be paid, I didn’t quite fully understand what that really meant - that a tenner in the till was not actually a tenner but £8.50! Now I know you get some VAT back from goods you purchase but in the salon business you generally generate more income than you spend on stock, so the VAT returned was minimal in comparison. So in the beginning, I was working my forecasts from the actual cash-in-till amounts, without accounting for VAT, and then got a super shock three months later when my accountant sent me a super VAT bill! “HOW MUCH??”

Not accounting for VAT and in fact many of the other not-so-obvious costs of running a salon is one of the biggest problems salon owners face. It’s always easy to see how much money you’re generating by just cashing-up at the end of the day, but how much it cost you to make that money if far less obvious. It is the mystery of these costs that mean most salon owners don’t know what profit, if any, they are making.

There are many ways of looking at costs, for example, you could find out how much it costs to do each facial or a manicure, down to the last detail and therefore understand the profit margins on each treatment offered in your salon; or you could look at how much it costs you to run your whole business on a daily or weekly basis. The latter is generally the easier to work out however I strongly recommend that you are fully aware of the profitability of every service and therefore sure that you are actually charging the correct amount! In my time as a salon business consultant I have discovered so many salons that are seriously undercharging for services all in the name of ‘promotion’ or worse ‘my clients will not pay more’ – The reality of this is that the business is ‘deliberately’ running at a loss and is therefore not viable! It’s like Tesco selling organic chicken for the same price as non-organic because customers won’t pay more. What Tesco will do is realise there isn’t a market for that particular chicken and not sell it, because they are not in the business of making a loss for the sake of cash-in-the-till! This is absolutely crucial to understand – you cannot provide services for little or no returns in your salon; your treatments must be priced to account for all your businesses costs and profit requirements. So lets make some money…

1)    Work out how much it costs to run your salon on a day-to-day basis. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look at your spending for one year and divide this by 51 weeks and then by the number of days a week your salon is open. So for example a salon trading 6 days a week has total yearly costs of £70k means, 70,000÷51 = £1,373 costs per week means, 1373÷6 = £230 costs per day

2)    Pinpoint the 5 most popular treatments in your salon and how many on average you do per week

3)    Answer this question – Are your most popular treatments generating enough income to cover the costs? If not then you must reconsider your prices, think about other ways of increasing income (could you sell more products, add more popular treatments, etc) and think seriously about whether your costs are ‘good’ or ‘bad’!

Find out more about how to be profitable and what good and bad costs are in the Kick-Start Your Salon Into Profit booklet

Shop Front – The Window To Your Business

The saying goes that the eyes are the window to your soul... For your salon, your shop front is the window to your business. Does your shop front communicate to passers-by a true reflection of your business? I would not be surprised if the answer to that question is "No!"... I can't tell you how many salons let themselves down with messy, junkyard style windows and shop fronts! This is truly unfortunate.

I've seen many shop fronts with everything from Blu-Tack used to display mostly irrelevant posters - irrelevant in this case meaning completely unexciting to a potential client, to sign-boards that are tired and dirty, to strings of either illegible or boring text. I've even seen some with the fax number displayed, as if this number has any relevance whatsoever to a potential client.

Now don't get me wrong, I know it's hard to run your own business. I know that most salon owners have to be head of marketing, HR, admin, finance, stock control, training and more all in one - all the time, and this is not easy. But if you let the 'on-going advert' that is your shop front, deteriorate, you may soon find that new business through your door dwindles. Because apart from the fact that a confused and messy shop front is unappealing it also suggests that making an effort is just not something you specialize in!

Anyway, enough of the badgering, I think I've made my point! What's the cost effective solution?

Firstly, have a good think about your salon - what is it that you do really well; what is it that you specialize in? Is it clear to a person who has 2 seconds to look at your window that you are, for example, experts in spray tans or that your team are award winning techs and your client’s delight in their nails after every visit? Create a short but powerful strap-line that articulates the best of your business… “Perfect speedy manicures that are worth every penny!”

Secondly, list the treatments or products you offer that are new, unique or just plain popular. Are these obvious to the passing trade? Make a power list of 3 of these items… Perfect Pedicures | Threading | Botox®. If your prices are also an attraction you can list them along side the items.

Third, remove every item stuck on your shop front and give it a proper wash - inside and out!

Now that you have a clean palette, you can start from the beginning and design your shop front as you would your website! Do a mock drawing of your shop front on paper first, including the sign, the door, window, etc. Have your strap-line and power list created from adhesive vinyl lettering; this can cost as little as £70 (try www.stickair.com). Remember to choose the colour and font carefully to match your logo and shop design.  Place these key attractions on your sparkling clean window and if you must display posters, make sure they are relevant and at least use the double-sided clear sticky dots, available at stationers, which are much more discreet.

Do these things to help you create a more appealing shop front on a shoestring budget and increase your chances of attracting new clients through your door in these tough economic times.

If you need assistance to start your own salon or are unsure about how to improve your current salon business contact Miss Salon on 0845 643 1619 or email misssalon@misssalon.com

Is your salon running efficiently?

Salon owners don't have time for thick text books or lengthy presentations to help solve their business woes... Having owned and managed 6 salons I know what it is like when you are trying to get some clarity and direction for the business but have to get through the days operations first before you can get to any strategic marketing or management!

Marketing is one of the major areas salon owners tend to under perform in, however there are many other areas that need attention and management - for example, staffing, training, product retailing, merchandising, salon maintenance, cost control, cash flow and more. A lot... and usually all in the hands of just one individual who may also find themselves working on the shop floor everyday! This is not great for growth and not great for sanity!

Through my now extensive work with other salons and my own personal experience I have compiled a 'short & straight-to-the-point' 10-Step Action Plan to profitability! This 72-page, Kick-Start Your Salon Into Profit booklet outlines the most effective and coherent steps to take to run a smoother ship and make more money... fast! Available on Amazon.

Listen in on my first Blog Talk Radio show on Friday the 8th May at 4pm GMT.

Don't miss it!
Ms Ego Iwegbu-Daley

Miss Salon Live on radio!

Hello Everyone!
We are really (really) excited to announce our new online radio channel on Blog Talk Radio! We will broadcast our first show this Friday the 8th at 4pm GMT! Visit Time Zone Converter to get the time in your city.

Miss Salon Radio click here to listen in!

Ego Iwegbu-Daley will be interviewed by Clarence Nappier, a US based business consultant on the subjects most effecting salon owners today. Apart from many other talents, Clarence has a unique and effective way of bringing new clients into a salon! We liked this so much that we decided to partner with Clarence in our quest to help salon owners run the best businesses they can.

Listen in and even call in during the show to ask any questions!!
Miss Salon Live on Blog Talk Radio - Friday 8th, 4pm GMT

"...be successful"

The Salon - a unique platform from which to retail...

I once met a salon owner who said to me “...retailing in the salon business is a mistake; no one comes to a salon to buy products.” Well I can’t tell you my horror! If you are like her then I suggest you give yourself a good shake, wake-up and listen to this... “Retailing is the only way to truly be successful in the salon business!!”

I opened my first salon completely not appreciating the importance of retail - I thought the treatments would make enough money. I soon realised this was a mistake and started trying to rectify the situation by creating displays and incentives for the team. Eventually the salon started retailing quite well, or so I thought... When I opened my second salon, I was lucky enough and through no conscious effort of my own to have two people join the team from pure retail backgrounds. Well it was phenomenal how the retail sales figures just shot up! We went from about 7% to around 30% after they joined! Yes, wow! That’s what you get when you know how to sell! Of course their abilities were inspirational and therefore infectious - everyone could see that selling wasn’t impossible!

If you personally have had average or limited success in retailing products then I can understand if you feel that this area of salon business is difficult - you don’t quite get it. You find that you generally avoid the subject and look to ‘blame’ the lack of sales on the client type, your location, the economy... anything but you!

So first things first, remove any personal mental blocks you may have about retailing in your salon and understand that salons offer a great and unique platform from which to sell!

Find out how to sell more products today...
£14.99 and we are told, worth every penny!

...be successful x

A New Year... A New Approach To Business

How can I ensure my business survives the economic downturn?
This must be the primary focus on the minds of most business owners; large and small. So rather than wait around for fate to decide, as a salon owner, now is the time to take matters into your own hands and steer your ship through the rough seas!

Tough times or not, the ultimate goal for any business is to maximize income whilst keeping costs low, without compromising on quality. Maximizing income includes getting regulars back into your salon as often as possible and getting new business through the door – in a nutshell, attracting customers. I think it goes without saying that if you’re not doing a good job, you’re not going to get much repeat business, so first and foremost, ensure that any services and treatments you offer are excellent and customer service is of a very high standard.

Attracting customers is a marketing function which requires thought and persistence. With most salon owners working on the shop-floor, caught-up in the day-to-day operations and staffing issues of the business; there always seems little time at the end of the day to think creatively about what needs to be done to ensure a continuous flow of clients. This means that many salon owners do not actively or effectively market their businesses; seeing it as a luxury and not a necessity and therefore never giving, this all-important function, the time and thought it needs. If you are guilty of this, stop today and make a decision to start marketing your salon properly, as it is one of the most important things you can do for your business.

Here are a few ways to start actively trying to attract customers to your salon:-

• Text all your clients whenever you have availability for a specific treatment or service they’d enjoy; for example – Hello Maureen, just a quick text to let you know that we are available today to give you that cut and colour you’ve been thinking about. Give us a call.

• Create eye-catching headlines for you client mail-shots, A-boards, window signs and leaflets; for example – Did you eat and drink too much over Christmas? Come in for a free skinny hot chocolate and some hot tips for a detox. Or, Wish you could have a hair makeover like on TV? Come in today to meet our expert makeover team! Or, Dry feet? Chilly toes? Enjoy a hot softening foot soak plus perfect polish pedicure for just £25... it's what you have been waiting for!

• Have a party; invite past clients, passers-by and local offices to enjoy a drink and meet the 2009 A-Team!

Once in the door, you and your team must be geared up to providing these potential clients with as much information as possible in the friendliest and most welcoming manner! Then of course it is absolutely paramount that you deliver on your offer and your promise; give them the best treatment they’ve ever had! They’ll have no choice but to come back to you… why would they want to waste their precious money anywhere else!

For more on how to create an effective marketing plan, kick-start your salon into profit or open your own salon, talk to Miss Salon on 0845 643 1619.

Kick-Start Your Salon Into Profit Fast!
The 10-step action plan for beauty salons, day spas, barbershops, nail salons and hair salons £11.99 – This booklet is available from 19 January.

Open Your Own Salon… The Right Way! (paperback)
The complete step by step guide to planning, launching and managing your own salon business from Amazon.co.uk or from Amazon.com

Good Luck!

Miss Salon at Clothes Show Live 2008

For the 3rd year running Superdrug and 2true requested Miss Salon professional beauty personnel and management for their stand and stage at the Birmingham NEC Clothes Show... and we gladly assisted!

Mirijana, ToniLee and Gina provided makeovers and manicures to 100's of stand visitors throughout the 6 day event. To see images visit our facebook page - click here.

Our charity pledge for 2009...

I recently caught a television advert for the NSPCC -  National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I have personally regularly donated to this charity for a while now as I feel deeply driven to support this cause, however this advert made me want to do more. I find any details of child cruelty or abuse very upsetting and difficult to listen to and as such have always shied away from any involvement but realised yesterday that I don't have to be on the 'front-line' to do more.

I can volunteer my time to support those who are stronger than me and able to work directly with affected children...

I can draw further attention to the charity through my business and network of associates and friends...


I can, and do, pledge 2% of all Miss Salon profits in 2009 to the NSPCC.

Click here to join us and make a donation to the NSPCC today.

Miss Salon™ loves Mr Site™... Get a website in 30 minutes from just £19.99!

Miss Salon™ are so impressed with Mr Site™ Websites that we just can't recommend them enough! Every salon should have an online presence and it has never been easier than with the Mr Site™ Websites. Click on the banner below for more info... you could have a fabulous website in 30 minutes from just £19.99! Don't miss it.

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What does it take to own your own salon and be your own boss?

Starting your own business is like creating something from nothing… An idea comes to mind and starts to grow bigger and bigger in your thoughts. If you are passionate about it, it starts to take over your entire existence; you just can’t stop thinking about it! Then with a huge amount of energy and commitment these thoughts turn into tangible assets - chairs, tables, a shop front, a reception desk, phone lines and hopefully customers! It really is creating something from nothing more than your energy and drive.

Of course, opening and running your own salon is tough, you will experience emotional extremes; super highs and frustrating lows. You will have to deal with stress, exhaustion, rejection and many moments of just wanting to give up, but if you are brave and determined nothing will stand in your way… not money (or the lack of), not self-doubt and not even negative people around you will stop you from getting there. And when you do, the personal and financial rewards, make it all worth it!

Skills you should acquire to get you through…
So it is clear that the first set of characteristics required of an entrepreneur are drive, determination, resilience and courage. With these characteristics you will be able to acquire the skills and abilities you will need to make a success of your business, these are...

Well, we can't give everything away! Get the Open Your Own Salon Handbook for more...:-)

Retail... The only way to make any real money in the salon business

This may sound drastic but it’s true. Better you understand this now, than realise it years later when you’re wondering why you’re not cash rich!

In general very few salons owners think of retail as a vital revenue stream for their business; with treatments usually providing over 90% of a salons income. I understand that you want to open a salon or a nail bar and not a shop, but I am here to tell you that sales from treatments alone is just not going to be enough in the long run. The difficulty though is that not many salon staff see themselves as sales people. However, to be successful, you are going to have to take product sales seriously and work very hard at training your team to be sales people.

Now when I say ‘take product sales seriously’ I don’t mean you need to turn yourself and your team into wild animals and mall down every customer to buy buy buy! That just doesn’t work. What I mean is that you will need to do three things:-
More in the Open Your Own Salon Handbook...

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