For most of us the struggle to reach our goal of owning our own salon was long, painful and sometimes extremely hard.
All those years learning in college, saving our pennies hard, all whilst struggling with confidence of course took it’s toll.
But we survived, we attained victory and opened our salon – our baby, our future, our income.
Hail to us!
But then darkness sometimes appears – a new salon or spa appears to be opening two blocks round the corner, and standing before us in bricks and mortar, darkening our lives, is a new constant threat to our livelihood and happiness – a competitor in business!
We are faced with the fear of the unknown – how good are they, what treatments do they offer and of course the venerable concern – what’s their prices?
We freeze with panic, crossing our fingers that none of our clients will desert us for the this other place and in our minds we make them the enemy.
The dread of them either being “better” or more popular than us niggles at the back of our minds and we eventually have nightmares we will have to close our salon down, due to the market being flooded by beauty givers!
However most of us can admit to being scared of new or old competitor salons at one time. If you haven’t, it’s coming!
It absolutely doesn’t have to be like this.
We are not re-inventing the wheel here, there have been millions of salons before us, and there will be billions after, so it’s time to start championing, not competing with our nearest salon. Competition IS good, and you’all have heard that common phrase before. Let’s look out how this relates to your beloved spa.
Firstly, the obvious one – Competition retains and improves quality. Imagine if you had no competition in your town, city or area. Whether or not you will admit it, the quality of everything in your salon would suffer. You would have nobody to worry about stealing your precious clients so therefore there would be no strive to give 100%.
No motivation to seek out new and innovative treatments as you wouldn’t need to, you would just stick to the same treatments and products you have had forever – forever!
No need to better or improve yourself, your staff, your treatments in any way as the clients have no choice but to go to you.
Hey, you could charge what you like! You have the monopoly, so why not just increase your prices every month. Your clients will hate you, but who cares, there will always be new clients as there is always someone really needing, and you’re the only option!
Actually sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it?
Not what you want at all – yourself and your staff with no motivation, tired old salon and treatments, unhappy and resenting clients.
Yet, this is what happens when there is no competition. There is no need to strive to be better.
To keep us alert, creative and to have a reason to persevere through each day we need that competition. It may not feel like fun when a new salon opens in our proximity, but the truth is the fun IS the competition. It’s what keeps businesses on their toes, and what keeps the world of commerce going round. With innovation comes excitement! Simply put, life and especially in business would be rather boring without our competitors.
Another way of thinking about it is knowing that if you have no competition then that can sometimes be a worrying sign, especially if you are new or recently opened salon. This could potentially mean there actually isn’t a market in your area. You could be in the wrong spot, too far from footfall, or just not enough people interested in what you do, or your niche treatments.
At the end of the day, therapists make having competition spas and salons much more complicated than it really is. There are actually just 3 things you need to learn.
These 3 simple actions outlined for you here will have you using your competition to your advantage and make you a competitive winner.
1. Be a collaborator; a beauty diplomat if you like. More often than not working with one of your competitors works well, influentially well, and can be the best source of new clients. Approach your nearest competitors by calling or emailing them. Ask them if they would like to do a cross-promotion with you, share some advertising space, refer clients to each other, meet for coffee to network or simply de-stress together. Anything that helps you bond and make friends.
(Sharing your fears and frustrations with another local therapist can be very liberating and a great relief also, especially when you are a solo therapist salon. Some of the feelings of sheer isolation can be solved simply through chatting to a person in the same situation as you.)
2. Analyse them. Use this wonderful opportunity to analyse them, then brainstorm, then analyse yourself. Check their prices, the quality of their treatments, their service menus. Check everything. Then compare it with yourself and your spa. Where you can improve, is where you can see them doing better. Keep this quiet and work on your improvement. At the same time, look for the areas in which you know you are doing better, then shout this from the rooftops! Maintain lead by studying them. Think out which treatments you do better, faster, more of therefore more experienced in etc. One word of caution here, do not go down the road of being cheaper. This works in some industries, but not the beauty trade. Nobody wants their specialty to be that they are the cheapest salon in town! Undercutting prices can also lead to serious consequences as your bills and staff wages will remain the same. It’s a dirty trick anyway, one I would never recommend.
3. Differentiate yourself. What can you do different to stand out and compete? You will have to compete now so here are some ideas to stand out: better hours, more social media booking options, add-on complimentary treatments, prettier uniforms that stand out, not tested on animal products, sourced or made locally items, a be green policy, more, beautiful fresh flowers everywhere, fantastic gift bags, OAP nights, teenage days, transgender afternoons ….the list is endless. Anything that is different or rare and will make you rise above. This opportunity of standing out cannot be lost on you and having competition will force you think of new ideas regularly.
So there you have it. Start seeing your competitors as a window of opportunity to grow, learn, goal set and make new contacts and friends. Do not fear competitor, learn have to value it.
Your correct attitude and approach to your competitors is going to make all lives easier so go on extend the hand of friendship today recognize and revere each other’s existence in a generous and professional way. Have mutual respect to common goals to keep the industry alive, interesting and fun in your area.
Never let hate, jealousy or anxiety about your competitors burn you up. Focus your energy on your clients needs instead.
One last note. If you know you are the first or only salon in your area without any competition, congratulations! You are an innovator, a town/city changer, and mover and shaker. This can be the best ever situation to be in, but know it will be hard. As the innovator you will have a tougher job, not because you will be running a hugely successful and busy business – but simply just because you are the first. You will have to breakthrough barriers of resistance and hesitancy. Nobody will have heard of all your new and wonderful offerings. Extra work for you to do, but oh what a wonderful position to be in. If you are extremely charismatic and have an abundance of healthy energy you will definitely smash this- Some people call this luck, but you in reality have probably identified and exploited a magnificent window of opportunity, so much respect to you!
I hope this post has been enlightening.
How do you handle, approach and deal with the competition in your area? What’s your experiences ?
Please share and comment below.