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How to future-proof your business

How to future-proof your business

One of the joys of being alive in 2018 is how interconnected we are as a global community. From Sydney to Singapore, Brisbane to Berlin, the world wide web offers an instantaneous portal into other worlds that hold more possibilities than we’ve ever dreamed of.

We can share a friend’s journey as they road trip across the USA, get business advice from an expert in Sweden (anyone else been on a Ted Talk binge lately?), or splurge on the latest Korean skincare. And we can do it all without ever having to leave the house (or get changed out of our favourite pair of Lululemons).

The ideas and ideals of our friends and family no longer confine us, and the patterns of thinking shared by people in our postcode no longer define who we are. And yet, as a salon owner, how often do you draw on this endless stream of inspiration to fine-tune the way you do business?

Here’s how to keep your finger on the pulse and push through the information fatigue to future-proof your business.

Wrap your head around consumer behaviour

Sure, you’re no scientist or statistician, but if you’ve already made the switch from advertising in your local paper to investing in your Instagram feed, you’re already halfway there. Whether you realise it or not, you’ve made a decision based on current consumer habits. Winning!

Understanding consumer behaviour – aka how your clients think – should inform every single decision you make. If you don’t know who they’re following on social media, what they’re up to this weekend, what income bracket they’re in or what their great aunt Nellie’s dog’s ate for breakfast, it’s time to find out.

All this info will help you hone your approach so you can build authentic connections with your community, which will ultimately translate to more paying customers. If you’re interested, I highly recommend doing some Googling about the way people’s emotions affect their spending habits too, I promise it’s more interesting than it sounds.

Draw inspiration from other industries

Today’s everyday technology in one industry is tomorrow’s ground-breaking innovation in another. Take the travel industry, for example: they’ve been asking guests to pay upfront when they book a hotel room or flight, since forever. Why? Because they know that people are more likely to show up if they’ve already parted with their cold, hard cash.

This thinking has recently been translated into the hair and beauty industry, with big benefits for salons, spas and barbers (Want a 20k increase in revenue? Thought so!). If you can spot a trend and implement it in your business before the masses get to it, you’re sure to gain the competitive edge.

So, don’t just turn to award-winning salons or your favourite hair and beauty brands for inspiration – take a look further afield and you might be surprised at what you discover.

Don’t succumb to the “Kodak effect”

When’s the last time you bought a roll of film? Yep, there’s a reason why these guys are no longer at the top of their game: it’s because they stuck stubbornly to their guns and refused to innovate. Convinced that digital photography was a passing craze, they clung to their outdated cameras and even more outdated business model, and watched as their world (and share price) came crashing down.

Don’t have a Kodak moment. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking: I’m already killing it, I’m sweet. Because, let me tell you, tomorrow’s business superstars are today’s boundary-pushers and risk-takers, not the guy who’s sitting at the back of the bar, patting himself on the back with a self-congratulatory glass of whiskey in hand.

Creativity and longevity go together like smashed avo and toast, so if you want your business to be thriving in 10 years’ time it’s time to start challenging the status quo. Encourage creative conversations with your team and collaborators and, become hungry for new ideas, and your business will be so much more likely to stand the test of time.

For goodness sakes, ask for help

Let me tell you a true story. Last month, I had a new washing machine delivered, and the hose was one incredibly frustrating inch too short. No problems, I told myself. Armed with blithe optimism and the delivery guy’s dubious advice, I dashed off to Bunnings for supplies and dived right in. Needless to say, it did not end well.

You know what? This mistake was a valuable lesson in knowing my limits. I learned the hard way that sometimes it is perfectly acceptable to admit defeat and to call in the experts. Just don’t leave it until you’re a damp mess of defeat sitting in a growing puddle of water in the middle of your laundry floor.

Something tells me you’ve got a bit of common sense. You wouldn’t try to fit out your entire salon without calling in an interior designer (or at least stalking their Pinterest boards for inspo #salongoals). And you definitely wouldn’t try to re-plumb your entire laundry without phoning a friend. So when it comes to wrapping your head around the latest tech, get professional advice. We’re here to help, after all.