We recently spoke to hair and beauty legends Karla McDiarmid, Megan Panozzo, Sandy Chong, Larissa Macleman, and Joey Scandizzo about some of the key lessons they think will be important to businesses post lockdown, and what we need to be aware of as we continue to ride the Covid wave.

Business lessons from lockdown


    1. Work smarter, not harder
    2. Retail and online sales are crucial
    3. Online education is here to stay

Work smarter, not harder

Social distancing and stricter health and safety requirements mean a lot of businesses can’t see as many clients or have a full team working like they might have before lockdown. The good news is that now businesses have an opportunity to use their time better; maximising productivity and profit.

Top tips for working smarter

  • Review your services and remove any that aren’t profitable for your business. 
  • Learn to upsell! You can increase your average client spend by suggesting small add-ons to a service, like a hair treatment to complement their colour, or an eyebrow tint to go with their shape.
  • Get your clients to rebook straight after each appointment; it’s the best way to get the time and date that best suits them, and ensures they don’t miss out on a spot. 
  • Make use of any tools you have to speed up processes and services in your business, like a hair colour processor to halve your processing time, or using online booking to save yourself time scheduling and managing appointments.
  • Train staff to perform fast and effective techniques and make sure they’re sticking to service times. 
  • Bake retail sales into your client experience – what products can you recommend to help prolong or enhance their results?
  • Increase your pricing to factor in additional costs, like Karla McDiarmid – “We’re having to use additional products now – like disposable bed sheets, face masks, and extra sanitisation time allocated – so there are lots more expenses that we need to factor into our pricing”
  • 51% of bookings are taken outside of business hours! Use online booking on your website, Instagram and Facebook pages so your clients can book whenever it suits them. You’ll spend less time and money chasing clients and with Timely, you can stay in control of how people book. 

In lockdown I had the opportunity to figure out how to work smarter. We are working part time and earning the same money Megan Panozzo

Retail and online sales are crucial

Online sales of products and services are a great way to ensure you have a steady stream of revenue coming in, even if your doors are closed. Set up an online store so you can sell products online, and promote your products on your social media.You can create short videos of how to use products or do product reviews for your followers – also a great way to engage with clients and potential clients. Shopify is a great online store option if you’re just getting started.

Some beauty businesses have made more money during lockdown on retail than they did in the entire year of 2019 Sandy Chong, CEO Australian Hairdressers Association

Get your retail game on

There are lots of different strategies for what % of sales your retail target should be; if you don’t have a target, here’s an easy way to get started. 

Professional Salon Coach and business owner Larissa Macleman recommends the following approach:

For every 10 customers who come into your business, you should be aiming to sell half of them one product unit. So a staff member should sell 5 units for every 10 customers.

Clients want your advice

Medi-spa owner Karla McDiarmid has a simple approach to selling products:

I just talk to people about their products, I ask them about their concerns, and I also ask them also about how their service was. I talked to a lady the other day and her concern was blackheads, and all she used was cleanser and moisturiser. I asked her if she was using anything for her blackheads, and she said no, so I talked to her about the products that I recommended specifically for that problem. At the end of her appointment I had the products all ready for her, and she said “you know, my other salon doesn’t even tell me what to use on my skin”. Clients like to be told what they should use; it’s helpful to ask them about their concerns. That’s why I don’t see it as selling; I just see it as helping them with their concerns, and the sales come as a result.

Train your staff to sell

Unless you work with stylists who are already trained to sell products, you may need to provide some training and incentives to help them learn the best tactics for selling products.

Check out this free resource to get your staff started with sales.

Track your retail sales

To know whether or not your sales efforts are going well, you need to be able to measure how much you’re selling. The reports in Timely appointment booking software will keep track of all of your sales, show you which products are popular, and which staff members sell the most products.

Work with product suppliers you believe in
It’s important to work with retail companies with values you resonate with and products you really believe in and know you and your team can sell.

Promote gift vouchers to your clients

A great tool to keep money coming into your business is selling online gift vouchers. Promote them for special occasions with fun and inviting shop window displays, social media posts, and SMS or email marketing.

Setting up online gift vouchers is easy! 

You’ll need to have a payment gateway like TimelyPay, Paypal or Stripe connected to Timely to sell vouchers online, so check out the help guide if you’re stuck. We’ve also created a library of social assets you can download and use to promote your business online, including gift vouchers! Check it out here.

Online education is here to stay

Lockdown has forced us all to look at new and different ways to communicate and educate. We’ve had to figure out Zoom, and Google Hangouts, and get used to having meetings and consultations online instead of in person! The good news is that not only are pants optional when you’re working and learning from home; we’ve also seen a huge increase in the creation and participation of online education, courses and communities. It’s super important to keep this up, even when businesses are all back up and running.

It’s so much easier to be in your own house educating, training and motivating people. While we’ve been off, we’ve been sending our young guys links to different tutorials. They’re probably learning a whole lot more where they can just sit in their own environment and learn instead of having to drive or fly to another state! Joey Scandizzo

There are tonnes of great online business courses and communities, and here are some of our Timely favourites we recommend you get stuck into.

The Beauty Business Podcast

Adam Chatterley is a business coach, mentor and Director of the UK Spa Association. And somehow he manages to squeeze in Podcast guru as the host of the Beauty Business Podcast, the world’s top show for the health, beauty and wellness business owners. His podcasts cover loads of topics, like client experience, client growth, retention and automation you should tune in. Subscribe to the podcast now

Beaute Industry Academy

One of our favourite communities is the Beaute Industry created by the lovely Tamara Shaw-Reid, it’s a caring community that is there to empower and support others in the Beauty Industry. There is always great conversation and live chats to check out, and fabulous events throughout the year. So join the group, you won’t regret it.

Salonology Superstars

Hollie and Ryan Power have been a firm favourite during lockdown. For over 135 days in a row they have hosted morning chats and online coffees to start the day, inspire, mentor and share their wealth of knowledge for business owners in the salon space.  She’s a business-minded, beauty-obsessed, creative genius. He’s a video-loving, numbers-driven, ‘think outside the box’ marketing geek. It’s a combo not to be missed. Join their Facebook community of nearly 4k business owners  Salonology Superstars

Secrets to Success by Karla

Global award winning business owner Karla McDiarmid has created the Secrets to Success to help business owners of any industry succeed in their businesses and wellbeing.  Karla loves to help others create, expand and improve operations in their business. 

Jessica Crane

Most Wanted 2020 Finalist, business coach and mentor Jessica Crane brings over 18 years’ experience in the hairdressing and beauty industry to her fantastic content and resources. For a taster of how Jessica can help increase your revenue and help you build an asset with lasting value check out her video.

Faye Murray

Faye has been a business coach for the hair and beauty industries for over 15 years. 
Prior to coaching, Faye was the GM for a large hairdressing salon group employing 300 staff at any one time. She was inducted into both the Hairdressing and Beauty Hall of Fame, was a foundation member of the Australia Hairdressing Council-the list goes on. She’s a legend.  If you’re looking for some advice on increasing sales, improving profit and building a strong team take a look at Faye’s amazing videos and resources.