Business Insights from My Salon Software – #16 Thinking Out Of The Box

June 16, 2021 LNE Editor

Business Insights #16  

Thinking Out Of The Box

In 1961, when President John F Kennedy announced the US would fly a man to the moon they had absolutely no idea how they were going to achieve this. They literally had to think out of the box. And again in 1965 when SA surgeon Chris Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant there had to be a lot of thinking out of the box. And in 1915 when the Titanic struck an iceberg I’m sure they wished they had done more thinking out of the box especially in risk assessment.

Desperate times call for extraordinary action and extraordinary can only be found outside of the box.

For example:

Rent – according to many landlords rents are not negotiable. Sorry for them but there is a wake-up coming for retail shopping centres. Retail is undergoing a major transformation world-wide. It’s called ecommerce or on-line shopping.  With more and more shoppers shopping on-line there is increasingly less reason for shoppers to visit centres to shop, except for services. If this continues retail centres will become mainly service centres. Armed with the right information you could renegotiate your rent by showing your landlord exactly how many repeat clients you bring into the centre as well as new referrals that would not otherwise come to the centre from which other tenants benefit.

Staff commissions – paying commission was originally introduced to incentivise producers to be more productive, today it is just a way of dividing payroll to calculate tax and benefits. Basic conditions of employment state that qualified staff may not earn less than 40% commission but that doesn’t mean they can’t earn a constant commission on regulars, a lower one on walk-ins and a higher one on referred clients. Because regular clients and referrals represent 80% of the turnover you generate this will keep staff focussed on those two areas of sourcing new clients.

‘Getting bums in chairs’ has always been the name of the game in hair and beauty salons. While that is still true clients are not visiting salons as often as they used to. This means you have to create more ways to get clients into the salon. Hospitality plays a major part in the ‘client experience’ so it makes sense that all communications with clients be perceived as an invitation. This includes things such as overdue visit reminders, happy birthday calls, newsletters and all promotional activity. Clients do go where they are invited.

‘Muscle build your team’ – while having staff that specialise in certain things is great, in the long term it is not as effective as staff being multi-skilled. Regular staff performance reviews will identify each person’s strengths and weaknesses which, in turn, identifies training needs. This approach helps muscle-build your team. Together with regular performance reviews (feedback) will result in lower staff turnover.

Charging what you’re worth – This is probably the ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to thinking out of the box. Believe it or not clients do recognise creative ability, expertise and experience. It’s not really about how much you charge your clients as opposed to how much clients will pay for a job well done. I have no argument with people who under-charge for who better than they know the value of their own work!


Please feel free to contact us about this or any other challenges you may be experiencing in your business.

This blog is one of a series of business insights which can be accessed on If you have any questions or specific requests please email




Avoiding Conflict

Avoiding Conflict

Conflict in the workplace, or at home, or anywhere is both ugly and destructive. Unfortunately conflict is inevitable when people are under pressure and from time to time, other people’s opinions differ from their own. In a business, conflict can totally destroy the ambience and relaxation that clients come to hair and beauty salons and spas for in the first place. Conflict arises whenever individuals have different values, opinions, needs, interests and are unable to find a middle way.

Conflict resolution is often called conflict management however, I believe conflicts need to be resolved, not just managed. And with the right leadership approach, 90% of conflicts could be avoided in the first place.

How to deal with conflict. Well, I suppose the best way to win an argument is to not have one in the first place. Easier said than done? Here are a few things you can do to actually minimise the causes of conflict.

Create a strong Salon or Spa Culture. These are the salon’s rules, regulations, values, philosophies, mission statement, policies and procedures. These are the things that make your business great. Great for whom? Everybody, every stakeholder that has an interest in the success of your business – your clients, your staff, owners, product suppliers, even SARS.

During disagreements in the salon or spa, protecting these values becomes the main priority and staff need to understand exactly how important the salon or spa culture is. Once a business is opened it has a right to be successful. Exactly the same rights that staff are entitled to – the right to be happy, the right to their own opinion and the right to be successful. However, nobody has the right to deny others of their right to be happy and successful.

Before entering the salon or spa, staff need to leave all their personal “issues” on an imaginary hook outside the salon or spa and enter the salon everyday with the primary thought “what more can I do to make the business more successful?” This shows the salon or spa has a strong salon or spa culture. If staff continue to have a difference of opinion just send them to a coffee shop until they can agree on something. Teach the John Maxwell’s 101% theory in building relationships i.e. find just one thing to like about the other person and put 100% of your effort behind that one thing.

Regular staff meetings to discuss the state of the business is not only a good idea, it is essential to keep everybody on the same page by sharing the successes of the salon or spa as well as areas for improvement. Staff meetings should not just be about housekeeping – controlling costs, punctuality etc, they should also be brainstorming sessions where everybody has to contribute. Neither should they be bitching sessions where individuals are picked on for wrong-doing. The golden rule for respect-based leadership is “complement in public but criticise in private.”

Another technique for avoiding conflict is by having a ‘Beefs and Bouquets’ component to your staff meeting. Allow each staff member to voice one complaint about something they are not happy with about something or someone in the salon… However, they must also voice something they like about that same person or thing.

Positive feedback from clients always boosts morale during a meeting. Encourage clients to comment on their salon experience in a ‘Compliments & Complaints’ book and get each staff member to take turns reading the comments to the rest of the staff.

The most successful way to pre-empt conflict in the salon or spa is by having regular one-on-one sessions with every staff member. This is a fool-proof strategy for dealing with under-performance, unsatisfactory behaviour and disciplinary issues.

Conflict often comes from misunderstanding. For example, a staff member might think they are not being given a fair share of walk-in business or that they are not being paid fairly. This is where KPI reports from My Salon Software provide the facts of the matter. KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators show a complete picture of your business – by staff member, by department, by day and by date (monthly, quarterly, annually).

These are just a few ideas that will assist in 90% of avoidable conflict.


Please feel free to contact us about this or any other challenges you may be experiencing in your business.

This blog is one of a series of business insights which can be accessed on If you have any questions or specific requests please email


Business Insights #7


Of all the dynamics essential for running a successful business, the most important is growing a clientele (regular, money-in-the-bank clients.)

For me this is the fun part of the business, it’s like collecting friends on Facebook or having lots of people on your birthday list. Each new client you add to your clientele is a celebration to the success of your business.

However, in the real world, getting clients and keeping clients are two different things. There are four stages to growing a clientele.

Attracting clients – getting new clients is not as difficult as it sounds. Promotional activity, social media, good signage, networking and referrals provide a great source of attracting clients to your salon. In this four-stage-process it is vital to note how you got this client into the salon, what we call ‘client source’. Good software will ask you the source of new clients and this information will show you from where you are getting new clients. With My Salon Software the system automatically recognises a client’s cell number so that, working on the principle that you can’t be be a first time client twice, when she returns the client status changes the status to ‘regular’.

Getting clients to come back to the salon – the most obvious way is to give them a reason to want to. Treat first time clients as the start of a long journey you would like to have with them. Always plant a seed called ‘next’ – what is the next thing you would like to do for them, when is the next time you would like to see them in the salon, what is the next step to improving their maintenance programme at home. Or simply offering first time cut & blow clients a second blow dry ‘on the house’ if they come in within the next week for you to see how she is enjoying her hair.

Growing clients – it’s no secret, the only way to grow turnover is to get more clients, get existing clients to buy more of what you have to offer (upselling), or keep putting your prices up. We have looked at ways to get clients into the salon and to just keep putting your prices up to generate turnover is suicide. So it makes sense that we focus on growing clients. The operative word for this is consultation. Consultation sounds like something you do (a noun) however to be really effective it needs to be a way of doing things (a verb) during which you take your client on a journey of discovery to see what is going to be the ‘next’ service or product the client will buy.  Discover what problems, needs or desires your client has and to then make a professional recommendation to satisfy that problem, need or desire. It might be colour fade or hair loss or just generally bad hair condition. Once you have clients buying all areas of your offering the average spend of each client goes up and clients become more loyal to your salon. My Salon Software allows you assign clients to groups and to see the number of clients growing in each group.

Losing clients – getting and growing clients is one thing but holding on the them year after year can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know how many you are losing. To address the problem client you need to understand the problem.

Unfortunately clients die or move to another area or country and we can’t do much about that. However, more that 75% of clients change salons because they no longer feel they are getting the service they expect or feel your services are simply not worth what you’re charging.

There are two ways to gauge the number of clients you lose over a given period of time.  Firstly, on My Salon Software the system can show you a breakdown of how many clients came to the salon broken down by source, by month. So, if you had 100 clients in month one and got 5 new first-time clients a month and kept all 100 of your original clients you should see 115 clients coming in in month 4. This estimation is more accurate the longer the period of time you monitor. If the 15 first-time client are included in month 4 then you are losing existing clients.

The other is to generate a report of your top spending clients.  This report sorts your clients by spend starting from highest spender to lowest. The value in this report is that it shows you the date of clients’ last visit. So, if you see that some of your top spenders haven’t been to the salon for 30, 60, 90 days etc you have the opportunity to follow up with them.

If there are take-aways from this blog they are:

  1. Clients go where they’re invited, stay where they’re wanted and grow where they’re consulted.
  2. Always treat clients as though they were first-time clients.
  3. Remember clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care

Making you think! 

By Terry Mile





This blog in one of a series of business insights which can accessed on If you have any questions or specific requests please email

The post Business Insights from My Salon Software – #16 Thinking Out Of The Box appeared first on Les Nouvelles Esthetiques South Africa.

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