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How to work smarter not harder this year

Owning and operating a successful beauty business is a challenge. Not only do you need to be providing leading products and services, there’s a whole range of other stuff where you need to be on your game. Hiring, firing, taxes, education….you name it, you can’t forget it.

However there are a few ways you can streamline your business operations as much as you can, creating more time for you as the owner so that you can concentrate on the things that really matter. Here’s an A-Z list of some areas you need to think about:

Automation
In your business, your goal should be to maximise your time and eliminate the need to repeat the same task over and over. Technology has made it possible for us to automate many aspects of business, is generally very cost-effective and saves you a lot of time.

Tips on automation

  • Invest in good accounting software. Not only will this save you time, it will save you money as well as you won’t need your accountant to do so much. If you’re using Timely, you can integrate it directly with Xero so you’re only raising invoices once – too easy!
  • Set up online booking so that people can still book with you while you focus on your clients – you don’t need to worry about missing all of those phone calls. Put a message on your answerphone directing your clients to your online booking.
  • Make sure you’re using SMS and/or email reminders. These reduce no-shows dramatically and save you a tonne of time if you’re doing this manually for every appointment.
  • Go mobile in your clinic with iPads so that you can enter client notes directly into your customer database when you’re chatting. This saves on double entry and you won’t forget those all important details. The bonus of having the iPad handy is that you can use images on the internet as part of the consultation process, and also schedule in further appointments in privacy rather than having to do this in reception.

Balance
Achieving a work/life balance that works for you is important for your own health and the health of your business. If you push too hard for too long you’ll burn out before you achieve long-lasting success. Remember – business is a marathon, not a sprint.
Technology may save us time and money through automation, but it also makes it harder to get away from work with mobile notifications chasing you wherever you go. You need to make a distinction between when you’re at work and when you aren’t.

Once you’ve drawn up your rules, stick by them. When you’re at work, be at work. When you’re with the family, having a ladies’ night out, or taking some alone time, turn off your devices. Tell your staff about your rules, and make sure they know what to do in case of emergencies.

Tips on balance

  • Have different methods of contact set up for staff to contact you when you’re not at work, based on the importance of the matter. If staff have a non-urgent question, they can email you. If it’s semi-urgent, a text might be better. Super urgent only is when a quick phone call is best. Make sure your staff know these rules and truly enjoy your time off.
  • Make sure you have days scheduled where you are offline altogether. This means that you can really focus on yourself and your family. Let your staff know what these days are, and ideally they won’t be working either.

Communicate
Very few people are able to build a business on their own. It’s virtually impossible without help of some sort. Communicate your vision and your goals to your team, and give them input and the satisfaction of helping you reach them. Be efficient about the way you communicate with your team.

Tips on communication

  • Meet with your team regularly, and discuss the bigger picture stuff as well as the day-to-day grind. Make sure they know they are welcome to approach you individually if they need to chat about something.
  • Use the groups feature in Facebook for your staff to bond and build a culture. Most of your staff are likely on Facebook already, so encourage discussion and also use it a place to put any updates or messages to your team. No one outside the group can see this communication, so it’s private, and everyone will be informed even if they miss a staff meeting.

Delegate
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. You’re a business owner, so one of your strengths is probably motivating the people that work for you. Use this talent to lessen your workload by delegating tasks to people who are capable. They’ll feel empowered when you trust them with those tasks. If that’s not you, maybe you have someone on your team who is great at engaging others. Giving people responsibilities equips them to grow into their positions and excel at what they do. Remember – the key to delegation is follow up (what gets noticed gets done).

Tips on delegation

  • If you’re not good at something, there’s a good chance that someone on your team is. Social media is a good example. Find out who has an interest and talent in this area, and get them to champion this for your clinic.
  • When your sales reps come to take their orders, get them to do the stock count to your pre-agreed levels and budgets. This frees up your time to concentrate on your clients.

Educate
Information is power. Give your team and your clients information, and they’ll feel empowered and inspired. Good for them and good for you.

Educate your team
When your staff are educated well enough to know what products or services will suit a client, they’ll feel more confident in educating your clients and upselling as a result. You’ll also need to spend less time motivating them to increase sales. But what if you educate and they leave, you ask? What if you don’t educate and they stay?

Educate your clients
An educated client is a valuable one. Teach her to know how to assess when her skin needs some treatment or if it’s time for another wax. If they’re capable of noticing it early they’ll be coming back more often, and you’ll need to do less work to get them back on track. Educate and you don’t need to sell.

Educate yourself
The more you know the more you grow. Make it a point to go to a workshop, online course or educational event at least once every 2 months. It’ll be worth it.

Education tips:

  • Meet with your staff individually to discuss the areas they want to concentrate on. It’s better to have specialists than be an average jack of all trades, and this goes for your staff as well.
  • If you have ideas about how to educate your staff, make sure you’ve got somewhere to jot it down quickly. In the notes section of your phone is a good idea. This way you won’t forget what to do when it’s time to put some training in place.

Freedom
What’s the point of owning your own business if you don’t have any time to enjoy the rest of your life? Get out of your business from time to time – not just now and then, but regularly. When you make space in your life to unwind your mind clears and focus returns.

Make a yearly plan of important tasks such as tax time, periods where you’ll be bringing on new staff and other big events. If you’ve got children, don’t forget the school holidays and other events. Then take a good look at that calendar and schedule in your down time – ideally every quarter. Think of it as recharging your brain to focus on your business. Since you’ve automated your business and you’re using smart software, you can still run your business and check in on the day-to-day running of the business from anywhere in the world.

Tips on freedom

  • Work from anywhere in the world with cloud software. You can use any device to access everything you need to be in control of your business. You really can work from the beach in Fiji while keeping tabs on your business, staff and income.
  • Go mobile. Being mobile will also allow you to capitalise on new opportunities that you would never have had access to before. For example, you’re at a party and (as usual) someone says, “Oh you’re a beauty therapist? I’ve been meaning to see someone about my skin.” Pull out your phone or your iPad and book them in for an appointment on the spot.

To read the rest of our A-Z tips on how to work smarter this year, head over to http://www.gettimely.com/work-smarter-not-harder now. Enjoy!  

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