Off the top of your head, you can probably rattle off all the salons within a five-mile radius of yours. If challenged, you might even know what services each salon offers and their price ranges. It is important to know your competition, and most people do. But besides other salons, who else is a competitor to you? You have to know who (and what) your competitors are so that you can best meet and serve your customers’ needs.

You compete with full-service salons, because many clients like to have all their beauty services tended to at one location. They may opt for marginally inferior, but more convenient, service if they can kill two birds with one stone. If you offer skin care services, you are also going head to head with skin care specially salons.

If you sell retail products, you compete with the supermarket, the department store, and the drugstore. Your client can usually get less expensive products at the supermarket, a wider variety of products at the drugstore, and plenty of personal attention (and usually free samples) at the department store. If you’re going to obtain and retain clients’ retail business, you had better be aware of these impressive rivals.

Best you think that if you beat out all these competitors that you’ve won the client’s eternal loyalty don’t forget that nail care is just one of a client’s personal indulgences. You are competing for the money she spends on herself. You are going up against the gym, new clothes, the theater, movies, lunch out, and vacations. That weekly nail appointment has got to have real value in today’s economy for it to hold its own in company like that.

Once you’ve won over this client, your final battle is to win her time. In this category, you face very worthy adversaries. You are fighting for a chunk of this client’s week that will have to be wrested away from her family, her job, other entertainment and her time alone. No easy task.

The moral of this story is to know who all your competitors are so that you can stay a step ahead of them. Be careful not to become so complacent that you believe you only have to keep clients from going to other salons.


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