How To Create the Perfect Survey

are you listening to your best customers?Creating a survey is an easy, affordable, effective way to dig into your customer’s psyche, find out what they want, and discover exactly what they think of your brand.

So why does it seem next to impossible to get people to take your survey in the first place?

There is a science to survey creation that is often overlooked by business owners seeking insight into customer behavior. Without the right building blocks, customers won’t take the time to answer your survey questions, and you’ll remain in the dark as to what they want.      [Read more…]

How To Concoct Undeniably Irresistible Marketing Offers

You know that feeling…

When it seems like your marketing is falling on deaf ears?

If your customer engagement feels more like a monologue than a dialogue, it could be because your strategies are not pulling the right response.

In other words, your ‘call to action’ (like click an email link) is either not clear or not compelling.

Fortunately for you, there are a lot of great ways to increase engagement and motivate your audience to respond in exactly the way you want (like make a purchase).

One simple way to pull a response and engage the customer is by concocting undeniably irresistible offers and promotions. Let’s take a look at what we mean by “offers and promotions” before showing you a simple, 5-step system to create opportunities your customers will love.      [Read more…]

10 Ways That Your Small Business Can Compete With Big-Box Retailers

Shopkeeper and saleswoman at cash register or cash deskIf you’re going to compete with bigger businesses on your terms, you need to think and act quickly. Here are ten tips to guide you:

  1. Be agile when responding to your customers
    Like a speedboat compared to an oil-tanker, smaller businesses can move faster than larger ones when market conditions change. Keep careful track of your customers’ interests and preferences and you’ll be able to anticipate their requirements. You can also take advantage of these relationships to check in with customers and prospects on a periodic basis. Ask for their feedback on your product or service, shop and website.
  2. Don’t slash your prices
    Competing on price with the big players is usually a bad idea. Economies of scale mean that the larger stores have more purchasing power than you, and can drive down their suppliers’ prices.     Read more about 10 Ways That Your Small Business Can Compete With Big-Box Retailers

How to Gather Fabulous Testimonials About Your Work Without Feeling Uncomfortable

It feels great, doesn’t it?

To be commended for the great work you do is one of the best feelings. There’s nothing better than knowing you’ve truly made a difference in someone’s life or business and have helped them reach a new level of success.

Even better than your personal feelings is the fact that receiving positive feedback from your clients creates social proof for prospective clients. This is one of the reasons websites like YELP are so popular. Like it or not, the folks who are considering hiring you are going to details about what it’s like to work with you.

Most professionals I know don’t feel comfortable flat out asking for feedback and a testimonial. Perhaps that is true of you. If so, you’ll be happy to know you can easily circumvent any uncomfortable feelings by having a system in place to regularly collect testimonials from your clients.

Here’s how you do it: Read more about How to Gather Fabulous Testimonials About Your Work Without Feeling Uncomfortable

Startling Statistics on How Multitasking is REALLY Hurting Your Business

Your scheduling system is open. Instant message programs are pinging. Your unread email count is rising. Your Internet browser has 8 tabs open. There are 5 documents open on your desktop. Your calendar alerts are popping up and you stop to send a quick text message to a friedn. Sound familiar? You probably think you’re being efficient, but you’re not. Multitasking is a big mistake and it’s hurting your productivity. Which in turn is hurting your profits.

Consider these startling statistics that highlight the negative effects of multitasking:

  • Multitasking leads to as much as a 40% drop in productivity.  (Bergman, P. (2010, May 20). How (and why) to stop multitasking. Harvard Business Review.)
  • The estimated cost of interruptions to the American economy is nearly $650 billion a year. (Jonathan B. Spira, chief analyst at Basex, a business-research firm)
  • Multitasking causes a 10% drop in IQ. (Bergman, P. 2010, May 20. How (and why) to stop multitasking. Harvard Business Review.)

The scientific evidence against multitasking is overwhelming. Consider the evidence:

  • Studies show that the human brain can’t handle more than one task at a time. Even though we think we’re multitasking, our brains are actually switching rapidly between tasks. (The Myth of Multitasking. Scientific America. 2009, July.)
  • Only 2.5% of the population actually process tasks simultaneously. (James Watson of the University of Utah)
  • In a study of Microsoft employees, workers took, on average, 15 minutes to get back to intense mental tasks, like writing reports or computer code, after responding to e-mail or instant messages. (New York Times)
  • It actually takes more time to get things done when you try to multitask. People who are interrupted – and therefore have to switch their attention back and forth – take 50% longer to accomplish a task. (John Medina, Brain Rules)
  • Multitaskers make up to 50% more errors. (John Medina, Brain Rules)

Ready to give up on the myth of multitasking? Use these tips to overcome the urge to do two things at once and become truly efficient and productive.

Batch your tasks.

Try grouping like work together so you’re working within the same mode for blocks of time. Have specific times of day when you read and answer emails. Train your contacts not to expect instant answers to email. Let them know you check email at 10 am and 3 pm, for example. Stop answering the phone every time it rings. Instead, schedule phone calls so you aren’t interrupted.

Prioritize your to do list.

Track your energy throughout the day to find the times when you have the most energy. Schedule the tasks that require “heavy lifting” at the times when you are at your peak. Try alternating tasks that take a lot of focus with tasks that are less intense.

Delegate

You don’t have to do it all on your own. Delegate tasks to specific staff members. Encourage them to document the steps they take so you have a written process in place that anyone can follow. Be proactive about looking for  where time and effort is being wasted. Tackle one issue at a time and assign your Receptionist the job of developing an operations manual that outlines company policies for all team members.

There was a period of time when job descriptions claimed that multitasking was a must. Current research proves that thinking wrong. Multitasking hurts your productivity, causes you to be inefficient and make more mistakes. Do yourself a favor and focus on one project at a time. Batch tasks to help you stay focused. Prioritize and delegate to streamline your to-do list. Become the productive and efficient business owner you want to be. You’ll be more confident, more focused, more profitable and more successful in your business.

5 Easy Steps to Ending Your Procrastinating Habits for Good

Procrastination and distraction instantly derail your efforts to grow your spa or salon business and achieve your goals. Follow these five steps to banish distraction and work more efficiently:

Step 1 – Get honest with yourself.

This step is hard for most busy entrepreneurs. It can be difficult to admit that you’re not focused – but it’s essential to get real about the situation. This isn’t about judging yourself or beating yourself up. Your goal is to be more efficient and more productive, so take a deep breath and ask, “Where am I procrastinating or getting distracted?”

Make a list of the projects you seem to avoid. Pause and notice when you feel the urge to goof off on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other diversions. Notice what you are working on when you get distracted. In contrast, think about what you are working on when you get in the flow. When does time seem to fly by? You can use this evaluation to become more aware of your work habits.       [Read more…]

How to Set Specific Marketing Goals for Your Business

Want to see increase the revenue at your spa or salon? You’ve got to set goals and take consistent action in working towards them!

This may sound simplistic, but setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is key to making progress no matter what type of success you want to see. (S.M.A.R.T.  stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely). If you skip this step, you don’t have a way to organize your efforts, get your staff on board or track your success. Use these tips to set specific, measurable goals for marketing your spa or salon business.

You don’t have to do everything at once.

Obviously there are a LOT of different ways you can go about marketing your business. The options online and offline are limitless. For example, using social media alone presents dozens of opportunities for marketing your products and services. It’s easy to get pulled in multiple directions and not accomplish anything. When you look over all of your options, remind yourself that you don’t have to do it all right now. (Pinterest and Instagram will still be there next month. 🙂

Pick one or two marketing activities and create your plan.

In order to get focused with your spa or salon marketing efforts, narrow down your options to one or two strategies and focus on those. You’ll get better, faster results if consistently execute these instead of spreading yourself too thin.  If you decide you have the resources to pursue only two marketing activities, choose one online and one offline activity.

Plan to work on those activities exclusively for the next 60-90 days. You’ve got to give the strategy time to work for you. At the beginning of the month plan out which actions you will take each day to market your business. (No, that’s not a typo.) For example, if your focus for the quarter is on a social media activity, print out a calendar and decide which tweets or updates you will post. Plan out the actions you will take to add to your followers or your fan base. Choose the offers you will make to your followers and fans.

When you create your calendar, keep in mind that you can use online tools like Hootsuite, Gremln or Buffer to schedule your updates. Plan your calendar with your sales goals top of mind, not how much time you have. Use the tool of your choice to schedule updates in advance.

Do some research before you decide on an offline goal. Many offline marketing activities will require you (or a staff member) to be present. Make sure you are able to be show up consistently and that the activities make sense for the time of year. For example, if you want to increase the number of bridal parties you serve in the Summer; plan to go to bridal shows in the winter months.

Narrow your focus to the marketing activities in your plan.

Do the activities you decided on full out! Give them your all and really work to make them a success. Dedicate specific blocks of time on your calendar to work the next step of your marketing plan. Don’t get distracted by the latest social media site or new idea. It will be there when you outline your next 30-90 day plan. If you stay focused, you’ll be more likely to follow through and see results.

Create a measurable outcome.

Your outcome should be tied directly into your business goals. A goal of attending six bridal shows doesn’t go far enough. What do you expect to happen from those shows? Perhaps your goal might be to book one wedding party from each of the shows you attend. Or  maybe you have a goal to generate $10,000 in new business from attending bridal shows. At the end of your 30-90 day plan, look back over your results. What worked? What didn’t? Use that information to draft your next 30-90 day plan based on what you’ve learned.

Marketing success doesn’t have to be elusive. Once you set a goal and make a plan, it is in your grasp! Don’t spread yourself thin by trying to do everything at once. Focused effort will always succeed over scattered energies.

The Hottest “NEW” Thing You Can Do to Grow Your Business

There is always some “hot new thing” in the marketplace that is supposedly designed to end your marketing woes. Sometimes the new thing works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I want to share with you the new smart, simple, “hot”, “new” thing that IS working right now. What is that Hot New (or actually old successful thing)? It comes in the form of three simple words: Plan, Execute, and Results!

How often do you take time to look at your business objectively? Every day you fight to not get bogged down in the minutia of things that are thrown at you. After putting out multiple fires each week, it is easy to forget the very reason you are started your spa or salon in the first place. It can be difficult to step away from the hustle to detect areas where you could simplify and improve operations. If you are constantly in a mental fog, you will miss opportunities to increase your revenue. If you aren’t careful, your business can put you in the same rat race that you sought to escape when you were working for someone else.

It is time for you to go “old school” and do what successful entrepreneurs have done for centuries. That is plan the work that you must do. Execute the plan that you have created. Benefit from and duplicatethe results you enjoy. Let me show you how.     [Read more…]

3 Mistakes Spa Owners Make With Referrals

Referrals are the best source for new business for your salon or spa.  People trust recommendations they get from friends or family over advertising hands down. Even better, referrals feed on themselves: your happy clients refer their friends building your base of happy clients who refer their friends.

Even though a word-of-mouth campaign is the least expensive, most profitable sales tool you have, most spa owners aren’t taking advantage of this lucrative source for leads. Don’t make these common mistakes. Right this minute, they are literally costing you thousands in new business.

Letting feelings of shyness stand in your way

Many spa and salon professionals feel uncomfortable asking for referrals. I had a client who was afraid she would look desperate if she “hounded clients for referrals.”

If you feel sheepish, take a breath and remind yourself that your clients love what you do. Don’t be shy!

You provide a great value to the people you serve and many more people could benefit from your services. Be proud of the services you provide. Take the plunge and ask for the referral.

It’s OK to feel shy or uncomfortable about this. But don’t let that stop you from asking!

Keep in mind that most people won’t think to tell their friends about you unless you remind them. You have to ask regularly. For example, a few times each year, my dentist sends me a note and a gift card for a seriously discounted introductory service and asks that I pass it along to a friend. I’ve been going to the same Dentist since I was 5 years old and trust him implicitly. But I rarely think to refer business to him outside of getting the cards he sends. Can you relate?

People aren’t surprised when you ask them for a referral. Think about all the service providers who’ve asked you: your realtor, banker, handyman. You didn’t feel put out or annoyed, you were probably glad to help.  Your customers will feel the same. Make the assumption that people want to refer you. They’ll let you know if they’re uncomfortable making a referral.

Not saying thank you

Another major mistake is forgetting to say thank you to the client who made the referral. This is a big no-no.

Mind your manners! If someone sends you business, you must thank them for it. If you don’t, you look cheap and seriously ungrateful, which is really bad for your business brand.

Ideally you want to say thank you with a gift, such as free services, discounts or products but at minimum send a thank you card. Remember, you didn’t have to advertise to get this business. Referrals are free. A nice gift and a handwritten note goes a long way towards making  for the referrer feel special and expressing your gratitude.Your existing clients are sending their friends in because they loved your services. Show your appreciation and you’ll encourage them to keep sending their friends to you.

Making vague requests

Teach your staff to ask the right questions. Rather than saying “I’d love it if you referred your friends to me,” train your service providers to ask for referrals using what they know about clients. A better way to ask is, “Is there anyone else in your office who would like to get her nails done on her lunch break?” The key is to get the client thinking about who she knows.

Make these mistakes at your own peril! Advertising costs hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Referrals cost next to nothing. Make every effort you can to create a successful word-of-mouth marketing campaign, including overcoming your own shyness. You’ll be glad you did.

How to Create an Easy Referral System for Your Spa or Salon

Referrals are the lifeblood of your business.  You need a consistent flow of referrals from your existing clients to achieve your weekly sales goals. A well designed referral program taps into your clients’ networks rather than relying on you to make one-on-one connections.

Don’t be one of those spas or salons who leaves this to chance or throws together a program without much thought. Instead, create a system to generate referrals with grace, efficiency and consistency.

Here is a simple formula for a system you can setup this week to encourage and reward referrals from your existing clients:    [Read more…]