As the covid-19 virus continues to spread, and cases are on the rise, salons, spas, and clinics everywhere are tackling many unanswered questions. The most frightening question of all, “Will this second shutdown leave my business unsustainable?”. Discussion of a second shutdown is being circulated throughout the United States. However, many states are encouraging a simple solution of re-imposing restrictions. Many areas of Europe, such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, have already issued a second stay-at-home order. They are expected to wait for reevaluation come December. These recent coronavirus precautionary steps have been noted in *NPR’s Nov. 2nd article:
France imposed a stricter lockdown on Friday, ordering people to stay home except for essential work or medical reasons. French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the second wave of the coronavirus is “likely to be deadlier than the first.”
Germany also ordered the closing of restaurants, bars, gyms, and theaters starting this week, with Chancellor Angela Merkel calling on her country to abide by the new rules in hopes of returning to relatively normal conditions by December. Other European countries, such as Spain and Italy, have seen a surge in new cases as well.
*(NPR) Neuman, S. (2020, November 02). Britain’s Boris Johnson: ‘No Alternative’ To Strict New Coronavirus Lockdown. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/11/02/930398019/britains-boris-johnson-no-alternative-to-strict-new-coronavirus-lockdown
In the hair industry, we are battling the label of “essential business.” Some salons are classified as hair restoration operations, while others fall under the “personal care” category. It is puzzling to think that “personal care” businesses wouldn’t be considered essential. Physical appearance plays a massive role throughout our professional lives. To talk about personal care businesses with such low regard is seemingly appalling. In this article, our businesses (essential or not) can find guidance on how to not only stay afloat during these trying times but guidance that will push us towards a thriving future.
We must all face the possibility of a shutdown without a stimulus package or loan program offered to small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program(PPP) was a first wave response to aid small businesses affected by covid-19 in the United States. If your business doesn’t receive a PPP stimulus this time around, will you be ready to maintain revenue and retain your dependable employees?
To gain revenue during a closure, maintenance products need to be available online. We live in an online world where zero-contact home delivery is too easy to pass up. Building an e-commerce site for your business allows you to make revenue beyond your business hours, 24/7. You’re also able to reach clients past your zip code, even clients who live outside of your state. For those of you who have willing employees, they can assist with contactless deliveries within your local area as well.
For those just diving into the online world, E-commerce is the activity of electronically buying or selling products from an online service. If your business isn’t selling products online, you need to set aside the time to get it started now. *Beginning this process, while you are still engaging with your clients, will connect your clients to this new sales portal even faster. This is how we can stay connected to our salon clients, if a covid-19 closure prohibits walking into our workspace. Even just expanding your online presence through social media by posting regularly and asking followers to share the content can give your business a boost into a potential client’s network.
Now is the time to create e-commerce opportunities through your business website and, more importantly, through social media. Facebook and Instagram are two of the simplest, user-friendly applications to implement marketing strategies. You want your business account to catch the eye of a viewer scrolling online. A post can advertise a promotional campaign, prompt a holiday reminder, or simply showcase a picture of a product. Instragam internal data from 2019 found:
130 million Instagram accounts tap on a shopping post to learn more about products every month (March 2019).
500 million accounts visit Instagram Stories daily (January 2019).
*“Instagram Shopping: Sell Products Online.” Facebook for Business, Retrieved November 17, 2020, from: https://www.facebook.com/business/instagram/shopping
* The Hair Society offers a wide variety of online e-commerce solutions, including social media marketing and lead generation. Call (786) 496-0519 today, and be selling online in not no time at all. We know the industry, we know how to market it. We can help you.
Perhaps your salon has already built a robust online presence; now, what can you do? The best approach to make your clients and potential clients feel at ease is through clear communication. Some of your clients may be more engaged online than others. Some of your clients may need more assistance or interaction with a human over the phone. However your clients are connecting with your salon, you need to provide communication about any changes that are occurring. Automation can feel impersonal and frustrating to any audience. If your salon can offer personalized emails, letters, or real phone interactions with a staff/team member, do it! Receiving personalized attention will make clients feel supported throughout this stressful transition. Your clients walk into a salon to have a customized, genuine interaction with your business. They want to look good AND feel good! If your salon can still offer a little personalized attention during this pandemic, your clients will thank you later by coming back for more.
Now to tackle the goal of retaining your employees, what can they do when you are unable to see clients? There are always in house chores that need your attention such as: inventory, employee training, & targeted self-checks. The self-checks are vital. As a business owner, you want to have a system in place to check-in on your employees. This isn’t just a “How are you doing?”. This check-in might be more of an open-ended conversation about what is working in your workspace and what could be improved. Your employees may bring up valuable feedback you might not have made time for during a busy week to week schedule. A covid-19 closure may also provide your staff/team the time needed to do online education. This additional proactive approach will fill the downtime with up-to-date techniques and knowledge. Why tell your staff to remain stagnant, when you can be staying relevant in the industry? Use downtime to your advantage. It will maximize workplace efficiency and keep your employees happy.
A happy staff/team makes for a happy work environment that everyone is sure to notice! Make your salon a business they can access when your doors are closed, a space that runs efficiently with knowledgeable staff/team, and a business that invites you to learn as we go. We are in this hair world together! We will get through this and come out stronger.