May 2010

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Growing Business by Expanding Your Service Offerings

Are you spending the same way you did two or three years ago?

Or are you stopping before you write the check to make sounder decisions as to how and where you allocate your resources?

If you are doing this, then guess what? so are your clients and guests.

With all the challenges of this ever evolving economic reality we find ourselves in, one theme remains constant: those who are willing to adapt and seek new horizons are gaining abundance while those who are still following the same past business formulas are struggling to stay alive.

Beginning 10 years ago, the average salon client was coming less often; many had gone from a monthly visit of four – six weeks to six -- nine weeks. This required a larger client list.

We are seeing now that many clients who used to bundle services are spreading them out. So rather than a color and cut every visit they are prioritizing the most important service and putting the second services on an alternating basis. So with fewer overall visits and a smaller demand for regular service offerings how are we expected to grow in a declining market.

Many of the more progressive salons and spas are growing their businesses by expanding their “Service Offerings.”

With the expansion of new services and selling products to support them, new opportunities are created. This takes some initial investment to research the demands of the customer base to find what motivates them as well as investing in your own education. It also takes courage.

Unfortunately, the demands of our clients are always in flux and changing. Many salons are giving the same service offerings they always did. They may have been cutting edge years ago but those services now are far behind what their client base is looking for and what meets their current needs or desires.

The “Baby Boomer” customer base is concerned with long term wellness and fighting the effects of aging, so any goods or services that promote longevity or maintaining their quality of life is of interest to them.

Many salons and spas have moved their treatments from the treatment room to the salon floor therefore cutting service costs with the long term benefits of convenience of mini services that highlight proper product usage and a higher service to retail percentage.

For the “Generation X” 30-40 year olds, cutting edge technology in new services that enhances their lifestyle and self image is what is driving that service and product sector. Add a demand for convenience and perceived high quality. Many successful salon business models have added the new services of Keratin Rebonding to control unwanted hair textures and the addition of hair enhancement in the forms of hair extensions for greater length and volume.

Many salons are expanding their service offerings in the area of event services with the focus on fashion and the Red Carpet. Some salons offer event driven service packages for special events and weddings. Even networking with other professionals who provide services other than what the salon or spa may offer such as fashion stylists or make up artists on an outcall basis. This will take an investment to learn these techniques such as the long hair styles often only found in the editorial world of high fashion.

Also, many weddings are now theme-oriented as to a particular era or fashion focus so staying current with these demands takes continual observation of trends.

By upgrading and expanding our service offerings, we can not only grow our businesses financially, but grow creatively as well. And to remain empowered successful salon professionals is what should always be our goal and focus no matter what the current economics.

Jerry Tyler’s column Blue Highways is his “Road Less Traveled” perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. Jerry Tyler has been a stylist since 1975 serving as the former artistic director for Vidal Sassoon Academy and currently as Director of Education for Carlton Hair salons. He is also a licensed cosmetology instructor and has served as President of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.