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The Salon Business

Setting Business Goals for Your Salon Heading into 2021 with a Strength, Gratitude, and Optimism

As we head towards the close of an unforgettable year, many salon owners and beauty professionals are taking the opportunity to look back and evaluate 2020 before they look ahead to the new year. There’s no doubt that this past year has required many of us to change direction and become more flexible and creative in ways we hadn’t imagined before. As we move forward, it is quite apparent that in 2021, salons won’t resemble anything close to “normal” for a long time, yet despite the challenges we face, there is still cause for optimism at this time.

While we cannot overlook the anxiety and uncertainty that is still upon us, gratitude and hope can allow us to see a silver lining behind the dark clouds. Finding gratitude and embracing unexpected changes in both our personal and professional lives can help us to remain optimistic toward the future. Although we may need to set a new course for how we live and work, resilience is key.

Focus on Positive Change

The new year can still be a good time to review what’s working, plan ahead, and look for new opportunities to support your business and career. Most people are more than ready to bid farewell to 2020, but as the saying goes, “You can’t move forward without looking back.” Although we may not want to look back at this past year – we can certainly learn from many of the changes that we made in our salons and the new processes that we have put in place. In some cases, these changes may have even had a surprisingly positive effect on our clients, staff, businesses, and our own personal lives.

When you examine your progress over the past year, your goal should be to decide what’s working well for you and where your efforts may be better spent elsewhere. Kristen Linares, owner of Thirteenth and Washington Salon in St. Louis explains, “2020 has taught me what is most worth my time behind the chair as well as who and what is worth my time and energy.” She also shared some post-COVID changes in her salon that she has embraced and plans to continue, “Our clients love the touchless invoices that we send to their email after each appointment. We plan to continue that service because it has made charging our worth a bit easier since clients can open up their invoice and see a detailed summary of their visit and what they paid for.”

Other beauty industry professionals, who have found themselves with additional time on their hands due to the pandemic, have embraced the extra time to enhance their craft. Tamar Slaughter, a professional hairstylist and beauty consultant reveals, “I now have time I’ve never had before to explore different aspects of my creative expression through the expansion of my print portfolio, as well as my resume for the TV hair industry.”

The Year in Review

Other ways to evaluate this past year and embrace positive changes may include:

  • Think about new ideas or changes that worked in your salon and continue doing them. For example, maybe you only scheduled hair color services on certain days of the week and cutting services on others. If that worked – keep doing it!
  • Ask yourself – what didn’t work and why? Consider things that you can do differently and things that you should eliminate. If your salon was closed on Mondays due to the pandemic but you found yourself constantly working late every night to accommodate your clients – it may be time to reopen that extra day.
  • Reach out to your clients. Send a short survey through email or social media to get their feedback about their experiences this past year. If your website is set up for it, ask clients to submit reviews.
  • Think of the new year as a time to purge and get rid of anything that is not useful to your business or your craft. Perhaps you have a shelf full of old, hair care products that have been collecting dust for years – consider selling them for a deep discount to make room for newer, more exciting products.
  • Stay grateful – remember to focus on even the smallest acts of kindness: those you have given and those you have received.
  • Don’t forget to focus on your physical and mental health and the resilience that comes with self-care and positive change. If you don’t take care of yourself first – how can you properly take care of your family, employees or your clients?

While there may be limitations and restrictions on the way you normally do business in the new year, it is still a good time to press the restart button on your salon, your business, and your professional career. 

Change Focus

Most salons have changed their focus for the upcoming year as a direct result of the pandemic. The past year has forced many beauty professionals to slow down and focus more on the quality, rather than the quantity of services, and the overall attention that they give to one client at a time. While this may not always be the most cost-effective option, if planned properly, the end result is often a positive experience for all involved. Kristen Linares adds, “I have stopped taking haircut appointments without color services. Going forward, I will only be offering package appointments. With the new standard of cleaning and no option to double book, the way I utilize my time now is very important. I am now focusing on booking fewer clients but with a higher dollar amount attached to each visit. Not only do I love working this way but my clients have also enjoyed this laser-focused approach and have been very supportive.”

Adjust Your Goals

Stylists and salon owners across the country agree that to succeed in the new year they have to focus on the things that are working within their businesses. In light of this past year’s events, many hair professionals are focusing more on adjusting their goals to align with their clients’ needs while being mindful of their own healthy work/life balance. Toni Garcia-Jackson, a freelance hair and makeup artist explains how she is going to adjust her focus in the new year to achieve her goals, “My business goals for 2021 are to get sales back up to 2019 numbers by engaging with clients more through social media and email campaigns that are centered around safety and addressing client concerns.” 

Looking Ahead

The salon industry is still facing a complicated landscape, so a well-thought-out plan for the upcoming year can help things run more smoothly. In difficult times, planning can help you, your salon, and your staff become more resilient and ready to adapt to anything the future holds. Studies have shown that people who set goals far in advance, adapt more easily, and are more successful than those who don’t. 

Create SMART Goals

The most effective way to develop measurable and achievable goals is to stick with a proven SMART framework. Writing SMART goals will keep you focused on what needs to be achieved in your salon in the new year:

  • Specific:  Create clear, concise, and meaningful goals.
  • Measurable:  You must be able to track and measure the progress of your goals.
  • Attainable: Set realistic goals that you have the tools and resources to attain.
  • Relevant: Goals must align with your business mission and the world we are living in today.
  • Time-Based: Your goals should have specific timeframes and deadlines

When you create SMART goals, you increase the chances of creating positive change and growth for your business. As you think about your goals for 2021 and move forward with a business plan, remember to pay special attention to your employee and customer needs. 2020 has taken a huge emotional, financial, and spiritual toll on many people and it is important to keep that in mind as you start planning.

Be Flexible

It is also important to leave room to be flexible. 2020 has created unprecedented circumstances and as you prepare for 2021, keep in mind that being flexible makes it easier to adapt to whatever comes your way. Tamar Slaughter explains how being flexible has helped her adjust to unexpected changes in her business and career, “Even as my world is adapting to this new normal, I haven’t so much adjusted my goals as I have allowed myself to remain open and flexible in my approach to achieving them. I make sure to always practice a key principle taught to me by a beloved mentor – if you stay ready, you won’t have to get ready.”

Stay Optimistic

It can be difficult to remain optimistic when the future is still uncertain. Many issues are beyond our control but we can at least control our attitude. Our attitudes affect everything we do, from our health, relationships, and finances — to our outlook on life. Staying positive and showing gratitude, even for the smallest of blessings, can help us to stay focused on what is really important and approach each day with a sense of resilience. Winnie Hart, a motivational speaker and the Global Director of the Entrepreneurs Organization explains how optimism can be a powerful tool to use during unpredictable times, “Remain as optimistic as possible. How you show up in a crisis has a significant impact. Positive thoughts and actions focus on strengths, successes, opportunities and collaboration. Hope and optimism lead to positive energy, confidence and purpose.”

In the beauty industry, stylists and salon owners have always had to reinvent themselves and their businesses to stay current and relevant, however, this past year has been extremely challenging. While the climate of the new year is still very uncertain, if we embrace change, stay optimistic and practice even the smallest measures of gratitude, through adversity we can come out even stronger than before.

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