April 5, 2020

Don’t panic: How salon owners can survive the coronavirus lockdown


The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to rethink the way we live and work. Salon owners uniquely experienced this. What started with a few cancellations and uncertainty soon turned into a complete lockdown. You can't see clients at your salon, and you can’t even visit them at home.

Salon owners are set to be some of the worst-hit by recent events. When you turn on the news in the morning and see the doom and gloom staring back at you, there are two options available. 

You can either panic and think about every possible terrible outcome available. 

Or you can buckle up and turn this short-term negative into a long-term positive. 

You might not be able to see it now, but all of those extra free hours in your schedule could be a blessing in disguise. While you’re staying safe at home, there are productive things you could be doing to make sure that your business is fighting fit when the time comes to open again.

We do not wish to minimise the devastating effects of this virus in any way. Some of us have already lost loved ones and others are worried about their friends and family. Some businesses might not survive this unprecedented event, and that's also a devastating reality. What we hope to do in this article is to share some ways in which you can use your time at home to make sure your business can thrive when the lockdown is eventually lifted.

You might be looking at months and months of empty appointment slots, but don’t dwell on this. Instead, here are some things you can do right now to ensure your business is in great shape when you can open as normal again.

Keep in touch with your customers

Keep in touch with your customers

Your marketing messages might be very different at the moment, but you can still keep in touch! Let your loyal customers know what your plans are for the shutdown to keep them in the loop. 

Anyone who regularly visits a salon will be concerned about when they will be able to visit again for a touch-up. We don’t have an exact date when it will be safe to open, but communication is important during these uncertain times.

Pivot your business model

You may have seen lots of food and beverage businesses switching up their business model to stay compliant. You could offer a similar service. Your salon is likely stocked with beauty items that your customers want during this time. 

Could you offer a contact-free delivery service on items like shampoo and conditioner? This can help you to get rid of old stock, help your customers and also make sure you have a little bit of extra income during these difficult times. 

Donate materials you can’t use

Hospitals and care homes are in desperate need of PPE (personal protective equipment) to keep their staff safe from infection. If you have suitable gloves or masks around your salon, consider donating these items to the NHS or local care homes.

You might be wondering how donating supplies could help your business? After all, you’ll need to re-order these when you get back to work. 

Now more than ever, your clients are looking for a shred of good news. They want to know how people are helping. And they’re paying close attention to how businesses react to the crisis. 

When life returns to normal, many will go out of their way to frequent local businesses that responded helpfully and selflessly. So why not take to social media and offer to collect up PPE supplies from similar businesses in the area? Your followers will appreciate a heartwarming story.

Get your marketing plans in order

Many salons are guilty of letting marketing plans fall to the wayside and simply responding to events as they happen. Anyone familiar with a salon owner's workload will understand why they run their marketing this way. When your schedule is full, it’s easier to plan your marketing on the fly. But when you suddenly have a lot of time on your hands, there are no excuses for not getting ahead on your marketing planning.

When salons can open again, you can expect a rush of customers. There will be split ends, overgrown cuticles and inch-long roots to deal with. You won’t have time to be planning your social media and pushing promotions. If you want to hit the ground running, start planning your marketing now.

You don’t have to settle on any specific dates at this point. Simply plan your opening week of social media activity, and then decide on any promotions you want to run to keep the momentum going. You could even plan a few social media promotions to deploy if you have to have a slowdown.

If you want to get serious with your social media, consider setting up scheduling software like Hootsuite or Later. This will allow you to plan weeks and months ahead of time so you always know you have social media content ready to go.

Explore live streaming

You have likely seen plenty of live streams cropping up. From musicians offering an alternative to the live gig experience, to fitness instructors helping to keep us fit during the lockdown. If you want to boost your profile and share your experience, you should consider joining sharing your own live streams. 

Your clients will no doubt have lots of questions about how to care for their hair nails and skin during this difficult time. Hosting a live Q&A is a great way to give something back.

If you’re social distancing with someone who wouldn’t mind being a live model, you could even share hair, nail or skincare tutorials right from your own home. Remember that people will be stuck at home and looking for any source of inspiration and entertainment at this time.

If you’re nervous about going live, don’t be! Most things are scary before you’ve tried them, but once you’ve finished your first video, you’ll realise there’s nothing to be scared of. Remember, these are your customers. Just speak to them as you would when they’re in the chair and you’ll soon relax. Before going live, think of a few talking points to get you started and then wait for the questions to start rolling in.

Learn some new skills

If you find yourself with a lot of spare time on your hands, it could be a great time to think about learning some new skills. Learn about new treatments you could add to your salon treatment list. Or brush up on your marketing skills. 

Plenty of companies offer free training in things like social media management and email marketing. Here are just a few free marketing training courses you could try:

Plan your online business strategy from Google

Introduction to Video Marketing: Plan, Produce & Publish to Drive Results from Skillshare

Advanced Social Media Marketing for Picking Up Clients from Udemy

Final thoughts

It’s okay to be scared during this time. And it’s okay to be worried about your business. But try to push yourself to do something productive with this time. By looking for the positive side in this unprecedented situation, your salon will be in an excellent position when the time comes to open again.

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