A Client Focus Group?

As the end of the calendar year approaches, I have my eye on my goals for this year and am already looking ahead to 2012. As of the end of October, I am ahead of my service goal for 2011 by 63 services. Yahoo....But wait! My 2012 goal calls for almost a 50% increase over 2011! In a previous post I mentioned my to-do list, created on the fly over a busy summer, where any old idea that occurred to me got put on that list. Looking at what it is that I really want to accomplish, I’ve realized I need a freshly focused to-do list based on creating that unique Panache Nail Studio package.

So over the next several weeks I will be assessing what I’ve already done and what needs improving. One area I know needs improving is communicating in writing the things I’m alreay doing! My sanitation is excellent, and I tell people about it, but I don’t have it in printed format for people to look at and consider. I think there are many things like that where I haven’t followed through with the finer details, so I’m really going to be looking at the studio atmosphere, sanitation, client retention system, new client process, menu, and promotions and focusing in on where I can take things to the next level.

During a recent appointment, one of my clients had a great idea for me. I don’t remember what we were talking about, or what the idea was, but she saw something I didn’t see, and it was pretty basic! What I realized is that as a solo tech I am relying almost entirely on my own ideas. Sure, I read the magazines and the forums, attend classes, and snoop around on other salon websites, but when it comes to making decisions, it’s all on me. I love being self-employed, but when I’m tossing around ideas, or trying to make decisions, I am only working with one point of view.

Then she had the brilliant idea that I should create a focus group. Basically that I should have a few of my regular clients meet periodically to give feedback on the studio and on new ideas or changes that I am considering. So, what do YOU think? Has anyone tried this before? Do you have any ideas on what a focus group looks like and how to use one effectively? I would love feedback on this from anyone who has done it before.

— Candice, Panache Nail Studio, Stanwood, Wash.

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