Keep calm & carry on: How to future-proof your business for a potential recession
With a recession on the horizon, the next 12 months could prove challenging for many businesses across the UK. However, if you get on the front foot, you could actually thrive through this period. Melanie Wallace, Timely’s UK Marketing Manager, explains how to navigate your beauty business through the uncertainty of 2023.
Right now, the phrase ‘business as usual’ doesn’t apply. As far as the UK economy is concerned – and the global economy too, for that matter – 2023 is off to a soft start. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.
Speaking to The Guardian, business consultancy EY chair Hywel Ball confirmed what analysts and commentators have been thinking: “The UK may already be in what has been one of the mostly widely anticipated recessions in living memory.”
A recession will likely mean a tightening of household budgets across the country. For beauty business owners, this could translate to clients pushing out the amount of time between appointments. Or even cancelling bookings altogether.
While this economic climate is far from ideal, it doesn’t have to spell disaster. In fact, your business could actually thrive (more on that in a moment). What’s crucial, though, is that you prepare now and get your ducks in a row before your business is impacted.
Ever heard of ‘The Lipstick Effect’? it could work in your favour
An economic downturn will not affect all sectors in the same way. Some businesses will be hit hard whereas others could thrive – and there’s good reason to believe that the beauty industry could fall into the latter category.
The lipstick effect, coined by Estée Lauder’s Leonard Lauder, is the phenomenon where sales of small beauty luxuries skyrocket during tough economic times. Lipstick is one example. Mascara and eyeliner are others. When household budgets are tight, customers still want to feel like themselves. These small-yet-meaningful purchases can help them do just that.
Get to know the ins & outs of your business
If you’re busy working ‘in’ your business, take a step back to work ‘on’ your business. You have to be great at what you do to grow a business – but making time for strategy is what will help future-proof your business and give it longevity.
Start by looking at the data. Timely’s reporting and analytics features give you the tools to stay across what’s happening in your business so you can make informed decisions.
For example: Timely’s elegant dashboard shows your key business metrics at a glance. This includes staff sales, client retention and rebooking rates, so you can stay across the details of your business in real time.
For more in depth analysis, Timely-powered businesses have access to over 40 reports. For starters, there’s an executive summary report to give you an overview of how your business is doing. Then there are the more specific reports including: stock levels, which clients are top spenders, clients not retained and the future value of your appointments.
The staff performance dashboard provides insights to help motivate your team and set individual targets. This will also give you an understanding of which staff members might need additional training or support.
Knowledge is power. Data can help you stay across what’s working, what’s not working and identify where the opportunities are. What’s special about Timely is that it takes complicated data and gives it to you in easy-to-digest, customisable formats.
Invest in marketing & focus on client retention
During this period, customers are likely to stretch out the time between appointments and look for more affordable options for their go-to treatments. Rather than pulling back on marketing, now is the time to lean in – especially when it comes to your most valued, repeat clientele.
It’s six times more expensive to win a new customer than it is to keep a current one. Ask yourself: how can I go above and beyond to make my existing clients feel special? This could include a loyalty program, complimentary add ons, exclusive offers, or even a refer a friend program. Timely’s marketing features will keep customers coming back.
This year – and, well, every year – Timely’s automation features will be your best friend. Timely-powered businesses save hours in admin by automatically sending appointment confirmations, review requests and rebooking reminders.
At Twelve The Green, founder Hattie, has already seen an uptick: “Automatic booking reminders mean I get so many more clients coming back and way less no shows.”
Charlotte from Esthetic agrees: “We have found that the reminder messages and tools we have set up through Timely have increased our client retention massively. We have had great feedback from the booking system and the simplicity for the clients.”
Think outside the box
As the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds. Before your customers’ spending behaviour starts to change, now is a great time to think creatively about alternate income streams or boosters.
For instance: could you be missing out on the opportunity to make money while you sleep? “I love how Timely lets me sell gift vouchers with zero input needed from me,” says Krishna from Ana Harmony Beauty Salon. “It’s another vital income stream for my business.”
Consider how to add extra value for your customer at no extra cost to the business. Using Timely’s report feature, do some digging into which services are your most popular and profitable. Is there an opportunity to combine any of these services into one package? Add value for the customer by throwing in any additional services that can be done in the same amount of time for the same cost. Think could look like a hair trim, a brow tweeze or similar.
While it’s impossible to know exactly what the future will hold, Timely-powered businesses are equipped with all the right tools to help them navigate through the pending recession and adapt where necessary.
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