Monday, June 21, 2010

Color Touches Will Drive Your Retail Sales

Growing your retail business is a crucial ingredient in increasing bottom line profitability and building brand awareness. Accomplishing this takes time, creativity, ingenuity and thinking BIG! Last holiday season I was driving through a local strip plaza where I live on my way to the store when I was blown away by the colorful and festive holiday decorations from a salon in the plaza, The Vanity Room in Yorba Linda, CA. It was so well done it stayed in my mind and I decided to go in and give them a try a month later. I am now a regular client.

Over the last five months I have been in four times and my wife is also a regular client. Each time I went into the salon there was something different visually to stimulate the senses and increase retail awareness. As a salon business coach I loved seeing a salon practice what we preach so I decided to ask the owner, Shelly Elliott to sit down for an interview.

Successful retail branding comes from the following components:

- great retail products
- education for the staff
- good use of retail space
- adding color to entice consumer senses and awareness
- strategic incentives and promotions
- thinking like a retailer
- creating diversity (accessories, purses, jewelry, etc.)
- team involvement & follow through

What jumps right out to you when you visit Shelly’s space is that she thinks like a retailer, creating diversity and she incorporates color wisely. She stated, “I added decorations one year for the holidays and our customers noticed. They really enjoyed it, asked about what we were going to do next and grew to expect it. Our customers reacted to the colors powerfully so I had to keep stepping up each time and it has become fun. We like to add a little color that signifies the season or event and use it throughout the salon, from decorative eggs for Easter to multi-colored flowers for Mother’s Day.”

When asked how she sees her retail space Shelly shared, “I think of the business as a retail store, like Nordstrom’s for example, not just a salon. We added a boutique and we now sell jewelry, handbags, hats, shirts, etc. Not only that, we add the little touches like gift bags with bows and colorful wrapping paper when customers purchase something.”

As you can see by the pictures a little color and thought can go a long way and can freshen up your space which leads to sales growth and drives profitability.

The next time you walk into your salon or spa, stop and look around and imagine how you can infuse a little more color into your retail space to take it to the next level and give your customers even more to talk about!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Salon and Spa Owners you’ve got to EARN your ‘bragging’ rights!

In all the 20+ years that I’ve been managing, coaching and training I’ve met thousands of professionals and owners. Some were extremely successful, humble, lifelong learners and some not so successful individuals. The difference between these two professionals is that one developed deep experience through trial and error, success and celebration, and the other simply repeated their 1st year over and over again, 25 times.

So, you may ask, “What makes a successful salon and spa owner/professional in our industry?” “When do I get the right to toot my own horn?”

I’m sure that if you asked ten people you would get ten varying responses and qualifications. Success if often in the eye of the beholder, however, I’ve yet to meet an owner or technician who went into this industry or opened their business as a non-for-profit. At the core, regardless of job title you went into this business to be profitable, in other words…make money. Ideally, as an owner you wanted to create something that is sustainable, long lasting and provides a legacy or a vehicle for retirement. If you are like the many owners and professionals that view at least part of your success as gaining more profit/money then read below for a three ways to increase your profit potential.

1. PEOPLE CAPITAL: Money can be lost and/or gained by the individuals that you recruit, train and hire. Developing a consistent plan for building your team and growing their skills, knowledge and attitude is the most reliable way to increase your profit potential.

2. FINANCES: Know the story of your numbers. The numbers don’t lie and learning to organize, analyze and capitalize on the story they tell can make all the difference. You make money only by growing sales, number of clients and the number of times they visit…you KEEP money only by managing budgets and controlling expenses. Gaining greater financial acumen means gaining greater profitability.

3. BRAND: What makes you different? Whether you’ve established your brand or not you’ve got one. Developing a brand/marketing campaign in today’s marketplace is one of the vital contributors to not only survival but your profitability. From your vision to your business cards, from marketing to the way your team communicates to your customers, your brand needs to be clearly defined, marketed and managed.

Seems easy enough right? Well, if it was then I wouldn’t need to write an article on how to increase your profit potential. The way each individual measures success may vary from person to person, business to business, but what remains the same is the need to change. That’s where the rubber meets the road. In my opinion when people quit, or simply begin to coast it is because they were pushed up against the wall of change and it got too uncomfortable. Only those individuals who have an honest to goodness desire to grow and change are the ones who will rise above the challenges, the hard work, and the opponent’s pressure and simply dig in and do the work. Those individuals, in my opinion, have earned their bragging rights. They know what it takes and willingly ‘fail forward’. They learn and grow and grow and learn. They lend a hand to lift another up. They avoid being egotistical and judgmental. Success is like a magnet. Look around you, have you attracted success? If you have then you’ve earned bragging rights. Go ahead, toot your horn. When you are humble your contribution will open doors for others to learn and grow. Toot! Toot!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Who Moved My Cheddar? The Psychology of Financial Self Awareness

Before you can bring your team together in a common goal of profit, it’s essential that you become self-aware of your own current financial assumptions. The best teachers speak from an inner knowing- not from books or here say, but from the doing and failing that defines all the best lessons and the best laid plans. Think about it – when you bring your team together to discuss how to increase monthly revenue, what you’re actually asking is that they CHANGE. Change their behavior, in order to change their level of productivity, in order to change everyone’s level of profit. CHANGE assumes they must give something up, in order to take on something new.

The message in ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Dr. Spencer Johnson, is that if your team can come to see the change you’re asking from them, it is actually a blessing, but only if they come to realize the role that ‘cheese’, or in this case cheddar ($) plays in their lives. In this parable, there are four beings in a maze: two mice named Sniff and Scurry. And two little people named Hem and Haw. Sniff and Scurry are not big thinkers, they just want cheese and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Hem and Haw, on the other hand, have an entirely different relationship with cheese. It’s not just food for them- it’s their entire self image! Their entire lives and belief systems are built around all the cheese they’ve found, eaten, hidden, and hoarded. Readers of this parable can ascribe any part of life to cheese – jobs, relationships, kids whatever. But what if it is actually cheddar -($) Mula, bling, cash, bank, profit?

We have to be alert to changes in our cheddar ($), and be prepared to go running off in search of new sources of it when our original sources runs out. And conversely, be prepared to dig in and stay put when a cheddar ($) source runs deep and rich. After consulting with business managers Sniff and Scurry, Hem and Haw for many years, I’ve found the following list of biggest myths to have infected every industry, every age group, education level, success level, in every region in the U.S.:

· Having more cheddar ($) will make me more happy.
· Only small amounts of cheddar ($) stinks with age. Large quantities have a longer shelf life, therefore I don’t need to check/manage it that often.
· Finding more cheddar ($) depends on how well I can drag my old cheddar ($) along with me. I need a bigger purse!
· Fear of never having enough cheddar ($) is my best motivator.
· I really don’t have time to enjoy any of my cheddar ($). If I did take the time, it might distract me from my hunt for more cheddar ($).
· I should look for cheddar ($) only in my maze.
· However I found this cheddar ($) is the best way to find my next cheddar ($).

If you’ve fallen victim to any of these dangerous cheddar ($) myths, slow down and taste the gouda ($)! Reflect on what perspective might actually be the best motivator to your team, and develop a meeting around that. It may seem counterintuitive at first, but risk and honesty usually are when it comes to financial self-awareness. Good luck.