November 2009

Charlene Abretske

Beauty Business Buzz | Charlene Abretske


Overspending on Technology?

When it comes to technology for our businesses we all want the best, right?

Sometimes that means parting with thousands of dollars for the latest and greatest pieces of technology in the hope that whatever innovation it provides will make us back our initial investment and help our businesses grow by leaps and bounds.

It makes me think about my love for kitchen gadgets and how every once in a while I venture out and purchase a product that “slices and dices” and clean up is a breeze. I use the item once or twice and it ends up in a cupboard somewhere, never using all the amazing features I absolutely had to have. Usually I forget about it and then return to using my knife and cutting board.

We want all the bells and whistles when it comes to software; there are so many great features that can help you. I do hear from many salon and spa owners about what they love about their software and what they don’t like so much.

I advocate all salons have some sort of financial software like Quick Books or something to have accurate numbers recording for accounting and a basic client management system. What may not be necessary are all the extra features depending on your situation. Here is something to think about if you are in the market for a new software system.

Cost The cost of software should be relative to what you will be using it for. If you invest thousands into a software system, make sure you are using it effectively, not as a glorified cash register. There are many credit card processing systems out there that offer basic reporting about service and retail purchases. If you are smaller salon or just starting up, the investment for software can be a huge chunk of your budget so make sure you use it wisely.

Time investment How much time do you have to learn and understand the basic reporting menus, analyzing data, administrative uses and mastering the updates? If you are a salon owner with limited support staff and spends the majority of your time behind a chair, it is difficult to find time to fully utilize what is available to you. Mark off plenty of time for hands on exploration of the systems you are interested in before you purchase them.

Customer Service This can get costly, especially when you first implement your system. Many companies offer unlimited customer service and service manuals, for quick reference items, others charge for every phone call placed. It can get costly if you do not have someone on staff properly trained and experienced in troubleshooting potential issues if you have software that charges a fee for every question. You will have more questions than you think.

Reporting Being able to pull reports is essential and it should be simple and easy. If it is difficult or doesn’t make sense how the info is pulled find one that does make sense and make sure you have been entering your information correctly.

If any of the above items are causes for concern for you, hold off and find out more before you invest your time and money. Schedule yourself time to explore your possibilities before and exhaust all of the questions you have about basic and enhanced functioning before you sign on the dotted line.

While you are searching or if your current system has gaps; consider a service like Your Beauty Network, which has features to help you with basic numbers analysis, booking, emarketing, business education and customer support. The habits and knowledge you learn will only help you enhance your existing or future software and are well worth helping you be proactive and profitable.

Charlene Abretske is a business advisor with Your Beauty Network and supports salons and spas with growing their businesses through on demand back office tools designed for beauty professionals. For more information call (866)364-4926 or email