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Christmas is only 52 short days away and although some Grinches think it’s still too early to start thinking about Christmas (like my husband, ahem) there’s actually no better time than now to get a head start so that December can be a time of celebration instead of frustration.

We’ve compiled 14 things for you to wrap your head around before you wrap your presents to keep you on track for a bumper December this year!

  1. Styling your space
    Now, I know your mind went here first, presents and wrapping and tinsel – oh my! When considering decorating your business in Christmas theme, please for the love of prawns and cocktail sauce, consider your branding and style aesthetic. Yes, that’s right I’m telling you to put down the shiny red tinsel and back away from the purple baubles – that is unless your brand’s style guide approves of these colours being used! What’s a style guide you might ask? It’s a guide on your brand’s style, imagine that! A style guide shows you all of the colours acceptable for use with items like your logo, furniture, tone of voice and other collateral like website and menus. For example, In our Beaute Industrie Style Guide, our approved colours are Black, White, Dark Blue, Grey and Gold. Therefore if I were to decorate our office, I would select only those colour tinsels, bells and decorations. If I stray away from the approved colours in my style guide and start going wild on red, pink and greens, then it looks like Santa exploded onto our business, rather than our business including Christmas, makes sense right?
  2. Reflect on last year
    Now your mind is buzzing with decoration ideas and perhaps you’re reflecting on what style decoration crimes you committed last Christmas in your business, I want to keep you there for a moment of reflection. Spend a couple of minutes thinking about what worked during December last year (maybe you ran a promotion that went bananas, or even hired an extra team member to help be a clinic elf and pick up some calls on reception) and then spend a couple of minutes digesting what didn’t work last year (perhaps you forget to implement a cancellation policy and introduce a waitlist and clients were cancelling left right and centre without a backup appointment to take their place?) whatever worked, do again, whatever didn’t, find the solution quick-smart!
  3. Christmas Casuals
    Speaking of staff, do you need more? Will you need more? How many more will you need? Take a leaf out of the retail books and hire yourself some Christmas Casuals. A huge advantage of a Christmas Casual is that they know retail which helps with your sales, they want to work and are generally pretty flexible in doing so, they’re happy to do extended hours so perfect for covering shifts and late nights and there’s little commitment to keep them on after the Christmas period. Do they need industry experience? No. Do you need to spend hours training them to perfect their skills? No. They’re there to help assist with the little things like checking in and out clients, keeping lounge refreshments topped up, turning over towels and beds, selling retail from a counter level and assisting clients with gift vouchers. Don’t over complicate the process, the extra hands are a blessing – especially if you’re an owner-operator!
  4. Arrange your Roster
    If there’s anything that goes wild during the silly season, it’s generally the roster. Save yourself time and stress and start to look at your roster now. Your client’s appointments are making their way into December and possibly even January already so you know the next three months are going to be jam-packed with facials, hair removal, tanning and traditional beauty treatments. Because you know these treatments are most popular during this time, schedule your strongest staff who love these treatments for extended hours, busy Saturday mornings and even consider opening up another day of treating, should you need to anticipate demand closer to the week of Christmas.Due to the nature of overlapping shifts in our industry, make sure you pre-plan things and set tasks like clean/rapport times between appointments, schedule late-night finishers a late start the following morning or early finishes early starts the next morning and please for bon-bons sake, schedule and fix your lunch breaks. We all know there’s nothing worse than a hungry therapist who rushes through a treatment just to take a quick nibble from the staff food bench between clients because they’re starving!
  5. Project and Forecast
    Sounds boring, I know, but let me tell you there is nothing boring about making money – in fact it should be the conversation you like hearing about the most! After all, a business that’s not making good money really isn’t in good business is it?When it comes to projecting and forecasting many businesses choose to look at year on year (YOY) in which case you’ll want to measure months that are similar (ie. there’s no point measuring March and December with each other because their month’s income and cash flow will be completely different. This generally works, however, we are now in the new normal, so your year might have been significantly lower than 2019 to date, or significantly higher depending on how much COVID impacted your business.Generally speaking, in businesses that are growing you should be aiming for at least 30% growth year on year. ie. if your business made $20,050~ in December in 2019 and you aim to grow 30% YOY then your forecasted figure would look like $26,065~. Consider YOY variables such as how many team members you have now and then, your business age and the services you perform to see if this calculation is viable for your business or check in with your accountant who will be able to provide you with exact figures as per your business.
  6. Set Targets
    If you’re going to forecast and aim for a figure you’re wanting the business to achieve, then you’ll need targets to help you get there. How you do that is by breaking down the number of days you’re trading in December which will give you your daily target. (ie $26,065 open 30 days your daily target is $868.83)You can further break this down as per the number of clients you have (ie. $868.83 sees 23 clients through the door = $37.77 minimum spend per client) or by the number of therapists you have rostered onto that day (ie. $868.83 sees 3 therapists working = $289.61 minimum to reach the target)Now in saying this, these numbers are for your business to grow, not for your therapists to be incentivised on. If you gave your business growth dollars as an incentive to your team, then your business wouldn’t be growing now, would it? Instead, incentivise therapists if and when they achieve an amount over the business growth target, as that’s when they’re contributing to the business above and beyond their requirements of being employed.
  7. Order your stock
    So, you’ve set the forecast and calculated your targets, ready for therapists to morphe into Christmas elves and wrap retail presents from your shelves to give to clients but there’s just one problem – you’ve run out of stock. Classic December rookie error! In fact, this rookie error seems to happen time and time again. Your product distributors tell you, your BDM prepares you and your team asks you, yet it always seems to be the last thing on a business owners mind.Retail, as we have experienced in 2020, is the bread and butter of a service-based business. Take away services as we did in lockdown, and a business can survive if they have a strong retail base – we’ve just been witness to this exact situation happen! Run back over your last couple of months retail items and take a look per product at how much you moved, then order double that amount to order. Think of fun gift-giving ways to encourage retail spend like creating hot-spots on the counter of your most popular products or luxury sized items and even create your own gift-packs at various monetary increments to cater for Kris Kringle spends of $20 – $50, teacher spends of $80-$100 and splurge spends of $150- $300.Speaking of stock, it’s not just all about retail and we’ve all been there when you’re setting up for a 4.45pm spray tan and at 4.35 realise you’ve got no solution left because it hasn’t been ordered – insert therapist worst nightmare. Think consumables, gift vouchers, menus, Christmas cards, ink, paper, pens, tan, wax, cotton rounds, honey – whatever your business cannot live without, stock up on!
  8. Gift Vouchers
    Do your clients know that you sell gift vouchers? Are you sure? If you’re not sure, tell them. Tell them in all of the ways you can possibly tell them including, in-person after their treatment, on social media via posts and stories, on email via an email database blast and lastly on SMS through a text message automation.Now that they know you sell gift vouchers, tell them how they can buy them. Can they make a phone order? Can they click and collect? Do you sell them online? Do you post the voucher out to them or their client? Can you email the voucher? Take the pain away from shopping and solve the client’s problem with some simple solutions to gift-vouchers sales.
  9. VIP Shopping Nights
    You know who loves VIP shopping nights? VIP Clients! Combine one “VIP only” invitation via phone or letter, with a list of activations and promotions on the night with a glass of champagne and the choice to bring a friend and santa on a treatment bed you’ve got yourself one cracking VIP Shopping night.Gather a list of your top 30 spenders of the year and start planning. Create activations like treatment demonstrations, giveaways, buy one get one treatment gift vouchers (to be used in March – June of the following year), 10% off retail and a few other fun ideas and you’ll have made half your monthly forecast within the first few hours.
  10. Cancellation Policies
    No one likes them, we get it, but the fact of the matter is when you have a 3-hour full-body hair removal treatment phone and cancel half hour before treatment and your therapist is standing around doing diddly-squat for the next three hours ‘cleaning’, you better make sure you can cover her wage, or better yet, fill the spot, but I’ll get to that one in a minute!It should already be (but if it’s not, now is the perfect time to introduce it!) a non-negotiable policy within your business. Cancel within 24 hours of your appointment and your deposit/payment/portion of your payment is forfeit. This is standard practice for any service-based business so please do not give me the old ‘but, my clients will leave’ or ‘I don’t have the heart to do it’ – if they have the heart to not show and waste your precious time, you can have the heart to cover the cost of your team and overheads. My hairdresser implemented a $50 deposit when I phoned last to make my appointment and without hesitation, I read card numbers out over the phone. That $50 had the option to be taken off my treatment on the day, or rolled over as the deposit for future appointments – simple. Set the policy, make it non-negotiable for your team to implement and it becomes the norm. Start changing and making rules for different clients and the policy falls down and the system starts to break.
  11. Implement a waitlist
    It will save your life and make someone very very happy. Most salon software systems have integrated waitlist options available for you to activate, however, if yours doesn’t then you might need to go old school and create a ‘waitlist book’. When taking appointments who cannot get in and need to be placed on the waitlist, let them know that at any time should you call, there’s a chance that you’ll have a treatment for the in the not too distant future, so be ready to roll if that is the case. Takedown waitlist appointments names, numbers and the treatment they require – this way you can see if the amount of time that has been cancelled can actually accommodate the requested treatment.When a client cancels their appointment, immediately phone the first client on the waitlist and offer the appointment. If you reach voicemail, phone the next one and so on until you fill the space. Then (crucial step!) remove that clients name from the waitlist and place them into your appointment book to fill the gap and viola, the end to nightmare last-minute cancellations and hello to happy accommodated waitlist clients.
  12. Holiday here this year
    Let’s face it, international (and possibly even interstate travel) is pretty much off the cards for 2020, but if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that people like holidaying nonetheless. So, this year, talk about how nice it is to see the tail end of the-year-who-must-not-be-named with focus on all of the amazing DIY options your client can continue whilst holiday-ing, so that the copious amounts of pork crackle and brandy custard don’t erupt on their face in that special space between Christmas and New Year. Think SPF products, body products, eye treatments as well as leave on enzyme and sheet masks.
  13. 12 days of Christmas activations 
    Notice the heading, 12 days of activations, not 12 days of promotions – there is a difference! Let me ask you this, it’s the busiest month for retail and you’re full to the appointment book brim of clients – so why do promotions? Instead, do activations. Activations can include things such as ‘spend x and save y’ or ‘purchase x and get y’. Rather than promoting a discount or percentage off something for the heck of it, with activations, you’re actually aiming to increase the client spend by offering them something, preferably something they don’t already have. ie. book a full leg wax in January and receive a bikini wax half price or purchase any three products and choose from our lucky dip.These activations can span across a traditional 12 days of Christmas style campaign by which you have a different activation for every day – told in advance to your clients through communication so they’re ready to purchase, or you can pick and choose specific days to activate should you want to boost your revenue on that particular day.
  14. Communicate with your team
    There’s almost nothing worse than asking a therapist about a promotion, or a special, or a gift pack only to see their eyes glaze over before hitting the deer-in-headlights look. Do you know why this happens? This happens because therapists have no-bloody clue whats going on in the business! Instead, therapists should be involved in a monthly team meeting by which the business owner sits down and briefs the entire team on the month ahead agenda, target, activations and promotions. Only when this is done properly, are therapists able to completely understand their language across retail, gift vouchers, cancellation policies, waitlists and activations you’re working so hard to create in your business!

So, there you have it, fourteen things to think about in November, to build a bumper December. What have you taken away from our top 14? What will you implement first? Can you add a few more? Would love to hear what you think and act on first!