Peter Mahoney on How Salon Owners Can Stay Recession Proof

I was on a conference call recently with some colleagues in the industry and we were discussing the alarming rate of salon closures in the current economy and how fear has created a level of paranoia around decision making. Salon owners and stylists seem to be more afraid than ever to make a decision for fear of making the wrong one. Ironically enough, it is this very notion and the resulting paralysis that quickens the journey to despair. Believe it or not, the way we think has more to do with our success or failure than we care to admit.

When I reflect on the 20% of salons who are growing through this recession vs. the 80% that are struggling, some common points of difference come to mind. The “Top 20,†as I like to call them, are focused on retaining existing customers and generating new customers by providing added value through the use of pre-booking incentives, aggressive referral programs, loyalty points programs and complimentary services while guests are waiting. The mood in these salons is positive and the team is understanding and engaged in the process of client retention and new client development.

On the other hand, the bottom 80% of salons that are struggling seem to be focused on extracting more revenue from a declining client base to meet their own financial needs. They appear to be inflexible in their thought processes and would prefer to complain and blame their situation on the economy rather than do something about it. They often fall victim to the false belief that they have either tried everything and it didn’t work or their circumstances are somehow different than the rest of us.

I am of the belief that if we are to recession-proof our business, we must first recession-proof our attitude, allowing us to abandon these limiting beliefs, think like the “Top 20,†and approach our new reality with the same level of gusto and enthusiasm we had when we first opened our doors!

Peter Mahoney is the president of Salon Consultants International Inc., president of Summit Salon Business Center, lead judge for the 2008 Global Salon Business awards and the proud owner of 25 full service salons, spas and schools in Canada. He is also a Redken Business Partner. Accredited with the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year" Award, Peter's ability to inspire and evoke personal change in his audience is unparalleled as he teaches modern day philosophies of communication and leadership. His down to earth, pragmatic approach to the needs of his audiences has gained him a reputation as one of the most effective trainers in the salon industry today.