It was interesting to observe the focus of the SalonLife’07 Forum, which will take place July 16-17 in Vegas by the National Cosmetology Association will continue to focus on Life Balance, Personal Finance, Health & Wellness and Energy and Connection. These are things not normally highlighted in the Cosmetology industry and even with this venture the concentration, as always, is on the Salon and Spa Owner. But, I think the trends are moving slowing in the direction of the beauty professional. The big question is WHY? Why is the primary focus on those who own a salon or own a spa? Does that mean that every hair stylist, manicurist, esthetician and spa therapist works for a salon or spa owner?
Well that’s the approach taken by the industry to date. I for one, being a CPA and CFO for several companies before starting my own company, don’t understand why these beauty professionals do not think of themselves as business owners. Certainly if they rent a station or work on commission they truly work for themselves, don’t they?
Make no mistake, the big money is in the salon, that’s where the products are purchased and our major suppliers control the industry media. But what of the individual in this industry?
In 2003 the NCA determined that there were over 1.6 million cosmetologists working in salons and spas across this country. That’s a very large audience that is primarily focused, by the industry, on the latest styles, color theory, product blends and so on.
I believe the time has come to focus on teaching them how to be a good business person. We need to teach them how to manage their finances, increase their hourly profit, farm for more customers, up sell product, end the no shows, manage their customer database, contact customers they think they may have lost and so on. This is a very valuable lesson for each and every cosmetologist out there. Paradigm Shift in the making? Yes, to have a cosmetologist answer the question: “Who do you work for” without them naming the salon or spa they work at is a paradigm shift for sure!
They need to answer “I work for myself!” They must learn to distinguish where they work at from who they work for. This will only come with training, information flow and focus on the individual, not the salon.
I contend that if they can be exposed to tools and training such as SalonLife’07, client management software, business education and communication daily , the paradigm shift will occur.
If they can see that business tools can be focused on them instead of the salon, amazing things can happen. They can improve their ability to advertise, relate to their current customers and contact their customers with automated interactive email reminders to manage their work calendar. They will begin to see themselves as self sufficient income creators and yes, business persons.
The theory that the only way to make money is to open your own salon is yesterday’s approach. Today, you can rent a station or two, hire your own assistant’s create more hourly income for yourself and not spend the cost of running the salon, just run your operation within the salon.
No one person, tool or software product can make this happen all at once. It’s going to take getting traction to the programs. Its going to take the realization that yes, even the cosmetologist needs to understand a computer, not just a paper calendar and index cards with customer names on them. It’s going to take moving the beauty professional into the 21st Century!
So, I would like to challenge all the salon and spa owners to look at their crew and ask themselves “How can I make them better business people?” The answer is let them be their own business person, bring clients to the salon and spa with their own business skills and tools , manage their calendars efficiently and effectively and make everyone more money! Salon and Spa owners need to partner with their beauty professional rather than “employ” them. Take a chance, you never know what you might find… maybe true success.