Open (and Closed) for Business

By: Jaime Schrabeck

Working within the limits of your licensed scope of practice, you refine your skills and define yourself through the services you offer. The broader your scope, the more services you can make available. The temptation to please everyone can be strong, making it difficult to know what limits to deliberately impose on your own business. Should you invest in every service possible to appease a broad clientele, or restrict services to attract a targeted clientele?

Beauty pros who resist specializing remain “open” to performing many different services, but sacrifice the opportunity to become truly expert and be compensated accordingly.

Advising beauty pros to do more with their business may seem reasonable: introduce new services, extend hours, increase retail, expand the salon. But the challenge should be to do better quality work, not necessarily more. Before adding ear candling and chakra healing to the service menu, or selling nutritional supplements and essential oils, ask yourself, “How does this enhance my reputation as a beauty professional?” If the answer is “It doesn’t,” why risk your reputation?

Chasing new clients won’t be worthwhile if those efforts detract from the experience your loyal clients expect and appreciate.

Let’s say your work appeals strongly to a particular demographic, such as millennial professionals. Social media and industry trends could entice you to target a younger audience with different services, pricing and marketing. However, your well-intentioned efforts to expand your clientele may backfire. So unless you’re willing to lose clients, proceed carefully to avoid alienating them, wasting financial resources or diluting your brand. You may not need a different audience, just more effective ways to reach potential clients in your preferred demographic.

Understanding what’s working, and what’s not, is a crucial first step before committing to any major changes.

Salon consultants make thousands of dollars explaining what should be obvious if only we could objectively and critically evaluate ourselves. Growing your business requires information, much of which you can discover with the help of your existing clients and industry colleagues. The following questions, while not exhaustive, are meant to generate discussion to guide your decisions:

•   What’s the culture of your salon?

•   What makes your salon and/or services unique?

•   What’s the first thing someone notices upon entering?

•   How would you describe the relationships among coworkers?

•   How would you describe your clients?

•   What do they value most: convenience, price, time, etc?

•   How do new clients find you?

•   Which services are your most/least popular and why?

•   Which services are most/least profitable?

•   Are clients requesting services you don’t offer, specific products or procedures?

•   What products sell the most/least?

•   What compliments/complaints do you hear most often?

•   How well does your location serve your business?

•   How does your salon contribute to the community?

•   What’s your biggest obstacle to being more successful?

•   What aspect of your business do you enjoy most/least?


If you’d like to share your experience and be featured in a future column, please email me at




Tags: Skills, Beauty Industry, Career

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