Hi Everyone and Happy New Year! 2017 is here and didn’t that come round quick?!
My goal for 2017 is to blog lots more, share some of my knowledge to help you guys boost your businesses and to make you more money. I’ll be writing tonnes on Web Design, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and Marketing. Keep an eye on our facebook and twitter as I’ll put an update out every time I post a new blog post as well as posting other tips so well worth liking/following us.
Anyway, moving on. As you guys may (or may not) know I’ve worked with a lot of salons and self-employed people in the hair and beauty industry over the last 3-4 years and have a very good understanding of the industry and what it takes to be successful. This year I may even start offering some consultancy to businesses in this sector but we shall see. This post will go over a couple of things I see all the time from both established and new businesses to the industry and how to avoid falling into the same traps.
Let’s kick things off.
1. Not defining a marketing budget
I get it, we all don’t have loads of money to start businesses with but that’s no excuse to not define a marketing budget. I myself didn’t start with barely any budget so I’ve been there and done it. Instead of ordering that Indian or Chinese takeaway how about making the other half cook and sticking that £20 into social media marketing? That £20 could bring you £100+ return in business if you do your social media marketing right. Small changes can make big differences long term.
Defining your budget is essential from the start. I’d recommend allocating as much as 50% of your start-up funds to marketing. The minimum, in my opinion, would be 25%. Whether you have a £100 starting budget or a £10,000 starting budget, the same principle applies. Having the perfect business is all well and good but if no one knows about it, you are dead in the water. It’s that simple.
Failure to plan, plan to fail – Benjamin Franklin.
2. Spending your money in the wrong area
I see this one so often it always makes me secretly bang my head against the wall (sorry guys). We all have low points in business and especially if you’ve just started and don’t really have many clients yet. You think of new ways to get people booking and rightly so. Unfortunately, one of the biggest things I notice in this industry is that when things are slow or you’ve just started your new business, you think new courses/training/products will bring in business. This is wrong!
It’s important to keep your finger on the ‘pulse’ in terms of what people want but if no one knows you offer these new services it’s a complete waste of time and money. I’ve personally had people tell me they have no marketing budget for a website or anything else and want something in the region of £200 (I’ll explain why this amount is ridiculously cheap later), then go on to scrape money together for an additional course in the hundreds if not thousands of pounds! You blow every penny you have doing an additional course but then have no money to market the new service making it a complete waste. You may book current clients in for the new service but clients generally have a personal budget to spend on themselves each month and will more than likely change services rather than have them in addition to current ones.
When times are tough evaluate your business. Put yourself in your ideal client’s shoes. Where are they? What do they do? Where do they spend most of their time? Market to your demographic. I can GUARANTEE a business that offers basic services and nails their marketing will outperform a business with no marketing offering all the latest and greatest treatments. Follow the 25/50% rule. If your course is £1,000, it’s important this provides you with a positive return on investment. You want to spend £250-500 on advertising this service. You want everybody to know what you are offering and why they need to come to you over everyone else.
3. Focusing too much on the competition
Basic competitor research is great but don’t look too far into it that it blinds your progress. You want to know what your competitors are doing but you want to be following your own path. You don’t need to copy what they’re doing and you certainly don’t want to copy their pricing. If you are struggling to price your services check out what others charge but work on your own calculations. Work out costs involved in carrying out a service, time and how much you want to earn and that’s what you charge. If it’s £5 more than them so what? NEVER compete on price.
An example – I’m a bloke and I drive past about 5 barber shops all doing £10 cuts on the way to the hairdressers I go to. My haircut costs me £35. Yes, I get a bit extra like a hair wash etc. but the main thing is I like the way she cuts my hair, that’s it. Pretty simple really. Getting clients in by offering low prices brings in the wrong types of clients. It’s true that your cheapest 10 clients will take up your most time and cause the most hassle. I’ve experienced this myself in the very early days. Once I let these clients go it opened the way for me to charge what I want to clients who value my work.
Do you know you could actually be charging too little? Been looking at your competitor’s pricing and think by charging a few pound less people will use you and you’ll be swamped with customers? It doesn’t work like that with decent clients. You’ll only end up with clients who want the cheapest price and go here, there and everywhere for special offers and best prices.
I’ve actually won business over competitors by charging far more than them. Crazy aye? It’s 100% true. In the early days I was so cheap it didn’t even provide me with a living and I was working crazy hours. Absolutely no way to live and only makes you resent your clients. What I did is decided to put my stake in the ground and just put a figure out there that I need to earn for the job to be worthwhile to me. Once I broke it down to clients and explained everything I do for that cost, it provides extremely good value for money and they couldn’t understand how my competitors could quote less. I started winning work regularly. It’s a no-brainer. Clients have a ‘too good to be true’ attitude to cheap pricing. They compare it with sub par services.
Why £200 is too little for a website
So this is a little bit off topic but I said I’d explain my reasoning behind this so I thought I’d break it down in a way that most of you will understand. I’ll put it in a way you can relate to.
If someone come to you wanting Shellac nails done for £3 would you do it? No. Of course not. This is equivalent to that.
If you want a super basic site setup from a template that thousands of other people use or you want to do it yourself on a DIY platform then go for it. You’d expect to end up no more than £100-£200. It’s the Asda Nail Polish of my industry. I’m sure you can agree Asda Nail Polish and Shellac are two different things. The same as a templated website and what I offer are two different things. I offer bespoke website solutions optimised for search engines and conversion optimised to actually make you money. With my experience and my continued monitoring of the site, I make sure your website is both getting visitors, engaging visitors and turning those visitors into bookings. It’s not a wham bam, done job.
Here is the best way I can explain it. I know prices vary across the country but say you charge £24 for Shellac Nails. Say approx. £18 is profit and they take 1 hour to do the job. So if you were booked solid for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week that’s £720. These are very rough sums that don’t take into account other expenses but it’s just to give an idea.
An average website can have a solid 2-3 week build time including the competitor research, industry research, keyword research and SEO optimisation that takes place. This doesn’t include the consultation before the project and the multiple e-mails and phone calls that take place before and during the project that all take time. I normally work 12 hour days minimum but let’s base it on a standard 8 hour day over 2 weeks. 10x8x£18 (which is what you ‘roughly’ earn on a set of nails) = £1440. Asking to pay £200 is equivalent to asking to pay 13.89% (yes I used an online calculator ha!) of what you charge for a set of nails – £3.33.
This isn’t to get at anyone it’s just to show a relatable example. So next time you see someone selling websites for circa £200, you need to ask yourself why. If you are serious about investing in your business and letting me help you increase your profits then contact me for a friendly chat. Any investment you make with me could and should generate far more than invested. Even if I can’t help maybe I can give you some marketing tips 🙂
Please leave your comments below, I’d love to know what you think of this post. If you have any suggestions on what you’d like to know more about, again, just leave them below in the comments. Anything web or marketing related (SEO, Social Media etc. etc.) you are confused about just let me know and I can do a post on it.
Have a great week,