In a world based on appointments one of the most important goods is time. Being able to effectively leverage time can have an immediate impact on a company's income. Moreover, and especially with regards to small businesses, a smart way of handling the costs, retaining incomes, and reducing expenses is a continuous challenge. However, the new year gives you a chance to think how you can leverage your resources more effectively. Most probably, if you stand aside for a minute and think over why you follow some procedures in your business, you will wonder: “Why are we doing this in this way?” And very often the answer is: “Because this is how we've always done it”. The beginning of the new year is, therefore, the ideal moment to ask yourself: “Is there a better way?”
Working hours and employees
Last year surely gave you some valuable lessons regarding rush hours, low seasons, and your employees' productivity. You can now configure your weekly/monthly schedule according to the “lessons learned”, so that you can increase your personnel's productivity and reduce the “dead times”. Is there too much workload? Then it's the right moment to consider hiring an extra employee.
Very often the equipment we use can make our work easier or harder, for it affects our costs. The new year is a new chance to look for new products - bearing always in mind the quality-price ratio – and to listen to your clients' needs. Furthermore, by replacing your old equipment with one that is up-to-date or purchasing new equipment (e.g. an extra LED lamp) you can offer services of higher quality to your clients or save valuable time, thereby reducing your costs.
Offering the right products at the right moment and in reasonable prices does make a difference – because your customers will prefer your shop to buy their beauty products. It is essential that you are in constant contact with your customers and are informed about their needs and preferences, in order to be able to offer them exactly what they need and when they need it. However, it is time consuming to have enough products in stock. You can start by evaluating your ordering process. From the moment you note the lack of a product how long does it take to order a new set of products, receive them and place them on the shelf? If this cycle lasts 8 days and you can reduce that to 5 days, then you'll probably make more sales in the same period of time.
It happens to everyone. You surely have some clients who constantly forget their appointment and show up late or don't show up at all. In this way you have “dead times” in your schedule because most of the times it is too late to add a last-minute appointment. How could you eliminate this phenomenon and save time and money? Sending SMS reminders a few hours or one day before the appointment can guarantee that your customers will be notified about their upcoming manicure/make-up/hairdo in time.
Whether you own a hair salon, a make-up studio or a massage studio, the pattern is the same. The phone keeps ringing all the time and you pick up with one hand, while you hold the scissors/nail file/massage oil in the other hand. Unless you have a receptionist. Nevertheless, if you could reduce the phone calls you would probably save some time for another appointment (hence extra income) or for a short break. How? By giving your clients the chance to book their appointments by themselves. In this way you'll have your hands free to better serve the customers in your shop and you'll have a 24/7 reception without any extra costs.
Saving some time or reducing some costs might depend on a tiny detail of your everyday business process. However, you don't notice it because you take if for granted. Therefore, taking a look at things from another perspective or having an open mind to changes can help you find the best possible way to improve the productivity and profitability of your business during the new year.