There are observers of the nail industry who believe that the days of the “mom-and-pop” salon are numbered. They predict that the mid-priced salon cannot survive what they see as the polarization of the market: Either you’re an upscale salon/day spa or you are a discount salon with super-low prices, relying not on a loyal clientele but on volume service sales. I’ve heard main nail industry watchers say that if salons are unwilling to either upgrade their services or downgrade their prices, they will find themselves without any business at all. I disagree. I think the mid-level salon is the foundation of the salon industry and will bring the industry into its next stage of growth. However, these salon owners won’t survive the transition if they don’t ask themselves some critical questions.
Have I identified my target client? Do you understand who your client is and are you striving to take care of her and not everyone? What is your client base and how are you cultivating it?
Do I know what my customers want? Can you truly sit down with a client list and identify what is important to each one? Are you still doing the same kind of nails you did five years ago because clients haven’t asked for a change? Do you play the music clients want? Do you have the hours clients need? Do you offer the; services they ask for?
Do I understand the profitability of my business? If you think you can compete with lower-priced salons by lowering your prices and not lowering your cost of doing business, you’ll run yourself out of business. If you attempt to raise your prices without raising your service and product standards you won’t command those prices for long. Before you adjust your service prices, you have to know what it costs you to do a set of nails and how much money you put into your pocket after you pay your expenses.
Do I know what makes me and my service unique? If you cannot identify what it is about you that defines your business you are never going to be able to carve out your niche. Is it your painstaking attention to detail with manicures? Is it a 90-minute pedicure that sends clients straight to heaven? Is it an atmosphere of such pampering pleasure that clients make appointments even when they don’t need their nails done? What is it? Identify it and market it. Promote it. Remind everyone all the time what makes your salon unique.
If you’re finding yourself squished in the middle, don’t copy those on either side of you. Step out in front and set your own new level.