For most of us the journey to owning our salon was a long, hard and painful struggle – months in college, saving our pennies, all whilst struggling with confidence.
But we survived. We attained victory and opened our salon – our baby, our future, our income.
Hail to us!
But wait. A new salon or spa may open two blocks around the corner and then standing before us in bricks and mortar appears a constant threat to our livelihood ; a competitor.
We are faced with fears- how good are they, what treatments do they offer and the venerable concern – what’s their prices?
We freeze with panic, crossing our fingers that none of our clients will desert. In our minds we make competition the enemy, the threat to our livelihood and dreams.
Most of us can admit to being scared of new competitors at one time. If you haven’t, it’s coming!
We are not re-inventing the wheel.
There have been millions of salons before us, and there will be billions after, so it’s time to start championing, not competing. Let’s look at how this relates to your spa.
Firstly, the obvious – Competition retains and improves quality. Imagine if you had no competition. You would have nobody to worry about stealing your clients, so therefore no need to give 100%.
With no motivation to seek out innovation you would just stick to the same treatments and products you’ve had forever – forever!
You’d have the monopoly, you could increase your prices at will. Your clients will hate you, but who cares, there will always be new clients. You are the only option.
Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Not at all what you wanted – your staff with no motivation, tired old salon and resenting clients.
To keep us alert, creative and have a reason to persevere we need competition. It may not feel like fun, but the truth is the fun IS the competition. It’s what keeps businesses on their toes, what keeps the world of commerce going round. Simply put, life and especially business would be rather boring without competition.
Another way of thinking is knowing that if you have no competition then that’s a worrying sign, especially if you’re recently opened. This potentially means there isn’t a market in your area. You could be in the wrong spot, too far from footfall, or there’s just not enough people interested.
At the end of the day, don’t make having competition spas and salons more complicated than it is.
These 3 simple actions will have you using competition to your advantage, making you a competitive winner.
1. Be a collaborator; a beauty diplomat if you like. More often than not working with your competitors can work influentially well, and can be the best source of new clients. Approach them by calling or emailing them. Ask them if they would like to do cross-promotions, share 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, especially when you are a solo. Feelings of sheer isolation can be solved by chatting to a person in the same situation as you.)
2. Analyse them. Use this opportunity to brainstorm, then analyse yourself. Check their prices, the quality of their treatments, their services etc. Check everything. Then compare it with your spa. Where you can improve is where you can see them doing better. Keep this quiet and work on it. At the same time, look for areas in which you know you are better then shout these from the rooftops!
Word of caution. Do not go down the road of being cheaper. This works in some industries, but in beauty. Nobody wants their specialty to be that they are the cheapest! Undercutting prices can also lead to serious consequences because your bills and staff wages remain the same.
It’s a dirty trick anyway, one I would never recommend.
3. Differentiate yourself. What can you do different to compete? Here are some ideas to stand out: better hours, more social media, easy booking options, add-on complimentary treatments, prettier uniforms, not-tested-on-animal products, locally made items, green policies, fresh flowers everywhere, gift bags, OAP nights, teenage days, transgender afternoons ….the list is endless. Anything that is different and/ or rare. This opportunity of rising above will not be lost on you as having competition will force you to think of new ideas, regularly.
Your correct attitude and approach to your competitors is going to make lives easier, so go on, extend the hand of friendship today and revere each other’s existence in a generous and professional way. Have mutual respect to common goals, keeping the industry alive, interesting and fun in your area. Never let hate, jealousy or anxiety burn you up. Simply focus your energy on your clients instead.
One last note. If you know you are the first salon in your area without any competition, congratulations! You are an innovator, a game changer. This is the best situation to be in, but know it will be hard. You will have a tough job, not because you will be running busy business, but simply just because you are the first. You will have to breakthrough barriers of resistance and hesitancy because nobody will have heard of all your offerings. Extra work for you to do, but oh what a wonderful position. If you are charismatic and have an abundance of healthy energy you can definitely smash this. Some people call this luck, but in reality you 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.