Every salon owner has a common, yet unspoken, goal; to stay successful long-term. While this is a great thing to shoot for, the most important goal is actually reinvention. Salon owners who know how to reinvent their focus and offerings to align with customers desires and industry trends regularly are much more likely to succeed.
Mark Gonzales, owner of Mark Pardo Salon Spa has practiced this approach for the last 40 years. Between his partnerships with Aveda and SalonBiz, combined with a watchful eye on industry innovations, Gonzales and staff created a powerful blend of service and technology tools. These tactics built Mark Pardo into a salon success story.
“I believe technology provides a competitive edge for a salon, especially when combined with business know-how,” says Gonzales. He shared that reading “The E-Myth: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It”, by Michael Gerber provided a useful guideline for how to run his business from the start, and create a strong foundation long-term.
For Gonzales, leveraging key technology tools and growing the right relationships were key to being able to reinvent his salon over the years. He also focused on four key areas of business development.
4 Key Areas of Focus Help Salon Owners Stay Innovative and Create Long-Term Success
There are four key focus areas that helped Mark Pardo salon stand out and build a positive reputation, along with financial success.
- Relationship Building and Events
- Staff Support
When you break down all aspects of salon management into these categories, it’s easier to organize efforts and stay creative within them. A desire to be creative is what inspires people to become a salon owner in the first place, and is an essential part of helping owners maintain a clear vision for their business.
Here’s how Mark was able to stay innovative in these four focus areas:
Technology used in the salon should be simple, easy, and customer focused to maintain a competitive edge. Gonzales believes in using technology in a way that best serves clients and staff. “Tools including online booking and confirmation through text and email via the client makes it easy for clients to reach out at any time,” says Gonzales. This ease of use creates a positive experience for clients and provides a clear path to repeat business.
He also shared that using iPads at the station to pre-book the next appointment or upsell products used during the guest’s visit are an easy way to leverage technology people are already using in daily life. Staff can easily manage check out steps generally handled by the front desk, while maintaining a close connection to clients until the end of the guest cycle.
“We’ve also used SalonBiz for the last 20 years, taking advantage of features like merchant accounts, online booking services, and technical tools and apps to improve client outreach in between appointments,” says Gonzales. When you create greater access to services, products and talent through cutting edge technology, you create a more open, accessible feel to the salon, too, he added.
Relationship Building and Events
Relationship building and events should include product partners, staff, and the community. Mark Pardo had a charter retail outlet with Aveda when the salon started, which helped with distribution and building a client base. Then, the salon was able to use the context of the experience on the retail floor to engage with customers, and later offered online purchase options through their salon website for added convenience.
It’s also important to stay connected with the immediate community through local events like fashion shows or styling shoots for businesses and photographers. The more people see your salon as a supportive business partner, the easier it is to grow organic relationships and word of mouth business.
If you want staff feel more inspired, offer up a challenge such as participating in hair competition event. It’s a great way to step out of day to day business, and gives stylists an opportunity to show off skills while learning from others.
From an industry perspective, stay involved in the International Salon Spa Network (https://salonspanetwork.org/) to stay informed about the latest tech, trends, and industry events helping salon owners grow and expand.
The happiness of the staff is central to salon success, which means it’s essential to provide skill building regularly. Some staff may be seasoned, but others are fresh out of school. Offer specific training regularly around key treatments, skills and products. Also demonstrate how to make the most of technology tools to help them build a personal following on social media.
Most importantly, help staff feel like they are part of the business, not just employees. Give them opportunities to feel appreciated, and demonstrate how you are helping them build a career. Offer benefits such as healthcare, paid vacation, paid time off, and a 401K to inspire talent to commit and grow with your salon.
Education is most effective when it covers staff and clients. Host customer-centric events to introduce them to products, or host staff events to do the same. The more stylists know about products and how they serve clients, the easier it is for them to build relationships and organic sales simply by sharing what they know.
For all salon owners excited to learn about how to reinvent their salon over the years, the most important thing is to focus on what’s new in the marketplace. Gonzales says, “Anticipate change and constantly be open to innovation and development. Seek it out! Salon owners need to work on their business from a visionary standpoint, not in it.”
“I’m always thinking of how I can replace myself in my own business through skill training others while I work on reengineering, innovating and educating,” adds Gonzales.