This post originally appeared on solasalonstudios.com
When COVID-19 first arrived—suddenly bringing our industry to a screeching halt—nobody saw it coming. We were all instantly thrown into a sea of unknowns and had to learn how to adapt and survive in a completely new world. By now, you’ve hopefully made adjustments in your everyday life that have helped you get your feet back on the ground —whether it feels like “normal” or not.
The saying goes, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” As some parts of the country approach what feels like a looming second wave, we have two options: we can ignore it, or we can prepare.
We do not know what the future will bring, and we can not prepare for what we do not know, but we can take a look at the past and ask, “If I had known, how would I have prepared myself and my business differently?” Many say they would have put more in savings and been smarter with their finances. If that feels like you, keep on reading.
Don’t wait until you’re in crisis mode to get prepared. Start now with these six tips to set yourself up for financial stability through financially unstable times.
1. Track Your Spending
The first step to preparedness is awareness. You want to understand what you are currently spending—both in your business and your personal life—so you can have a clear baseline of what you need to survive and what sort of cushion you have to fall back on. This way, if you do have a dip in your income, you know immediately what you can afford to lose and still be able to cover the necessities.
When tracking your expenses, make note of your fixed expenses (the ones that don’t change from month to month like your rent/mortgage, health insurance, utilities, car payments, student loans, etc. )The others, mark as your variable expenses (the ones that can change from month to month like food, online shopping, entertainment, etc.).
Also, indicate which expenses are discretionary (you don’t need them to survive). These could include a subscription streaming service, workout membership, etc. vs non-discretionary. If the time does come to start cutting back, you can instantly see what discretionary expenses you can cut first.
2. Simplify & Save
With a potential second wave on the horizon, now is not the time for retail therapy. Don’t deprive yourself of what you need to survive, but get creative in finding ways to help your dollar stretch a little further!
With the holidays around the corner, change things up this year with some inexpensive to no-cost DIY gifts. Write letters to your friends and family or treat your loved ones to an at-home spa day. Maybe offer your closest friends a free treatment in your salon. Not only will you save some money, but it could also remind them to come in and visit you and possibly upgrade their service, too!
3. Know Your Options
It’s always easier to process information when we aren’t in a state of panic. Don’t wait until you’re in desperate need of a loan to start your research. Have a list of banks and associations you can contact if you find yourself in need of a loan. You can bookmark the websites or fill out applications in advance, so in case you should need it, it’s ready for you to just press send. Knowing your options before you need them can keep you calm in a storm right from the start.
Take advantage of this prime marketing season to get some extra cash flowing. Put extra emphasis on non-service offerings: i.e. gift cards and retail. Remind your clients that there’s no better gift than the gift of self-care, so whether you put together special at-home spa packages or offer $20 off every $100 gift card, make sure your entire clientele knows you are their one-stop holiday shop for everybody on their shopping list.
5. Become Financially Literate
Information is power, especially when it comes to your finances. Spend some time brushing up on your financial acumen so you can have more impactful, effective conversations with people like your accountants, lenders and tax professionals.
6. Balance Your Mind (Not Just Your Checkbook)
A stable life starts with a stable mind. Practicing meditation, gratitude and (many) self-care rituals come without a price tag. The moment you need a Band-Aid is not the time to run to the store to buy a box. You want to have them waiting for you when you need them. The same goes for the mental health and self-care tools that help you manage stress and anxiety—you want to make sure you’ve already put them in your toolbox before you’re pressing the panic button.