Salon Marketing Plan Strategy: Has the Gorilla Got You in its Grip?
Is it little wonder that so many in the hair and beauty business find themselves in more trouble than a blind, one-legged dog?
Every week, our fax machine pours forth with a stream of ‘HELP’ letters, from hair stylists and estheticians who’ve suddenly found themselves owning a salon, with not a clue about a marketing plan for their salon or how to generate business.
Like this one:
|“Dear Greg, My name is (name withheld), I’ve just purchased a cute little hair salon in (location witheld) on the Gold Coast – it settles in two weeks. “The lady I purchased it from has let the salon run down, she has only been taking about $2,500 a week. I’m so worried that there will be no clients in chairs when I open my doors on June 2nd. I have very little money to play with so I was just going to do a discounted mail drop and hope for the best.
“I have just watched your DVD and I don’t know what the hell to do – I feel sick now, knowing that my mail drop won’t work. I think I have bitten off more than I can chew. I’m keeping the apprentice on but I don’t know how I will pay her if I don’t get bums on seats.
“Please, please, please can you help me so I don’t fail before I start.”
Without wishing to sound like a broken record (I do) I’ll keep nagging until I’m blue in the face. Fancy fit-outs, expensive equipment, swish furniture, state-of-the-art software systems, up-market products, pretty pictures on the walls, flat screen TVs…. NONE of that stuff matters a damn unless you know how to get customers.
In an average, garden variety day, we interview at least half a dozen applicants for Inner Circle membership. And I kid you not, nearly half of those fall into the category above – having bought or in the process of buying themselves a job because ‘I always wanted to own my own business’, and only too late discovering that the business owns them, clasping them ever-tighter to its breast like a hairy, grumpy gorilla intent on squeezing the life out of its prey.
Far too many stylists and aestheticians fall victim to the romantic notion of ‘being my own boss’, without for a moment employing what I call ‘accurate thinking’ – e.g., “I need X clients per week/month, each spending an average of $Y, to pay the bills. Then I need another Z of those clients in order to give me a profit. How do I get the extra clients I need?”
There is ONLY one way of getting extra clients. And that’s simply a marketing plan. (And before you diss me for failing to mention ‘referrals’ – what are referrals if they’re not word-of-mouth marketing???)
Treat your business like a 10,000 pound gorilla. Your very FIRST priority is to feed it a never-ending smorgasbord of juicy, ripe customers. Every single day. Then shut the door while it eats, and go get some more.
And you can’t be out hunting for customers while you’re inside the beast, working on the tools, digesting the food your gorilla is swallowing.