As we move from one year to the next it is a time to reflect and look forward to what lies ahead. New Year is a time for renewal and optimism, however with so much uncertainty to contemplate it is hard to plan ahead. Until this virus moves to its endemic state, we will inevitably have to live with shifting rules, measures and regimes of masks, tests and travel restrictions. It may not be what you want to hear, but if you are an entrepreneur, leader or someone responsible for others (clients, employees, family) you have a duty to rise to the challenge of navigating through. Whilst we may be yearning for some stability, flexibility and the ability to roll with the punches, with a plan A/B/C/D (who knows how many adjustments?) is the most valuable business skill for 2022. What should we be doing to make 2022 a STRONG year?
Accept the challenge and know that no-one is coming to bail you out! It has driven me mad to see wannabe “entrepreneurs” crying like babies and expecting the Government to bail them out every time they hit a bump. Did I just say that out loud? During the unprecedented event of lockdown, which meant that businesses closed their doors risking millions of jobs, the Government stepped in and shored up the economy so that it did not collapse. Have people forgot that in April 2020 Rishi Sunak said the Government cannot save all businesses? Or that in September 2020 he said “I can’t save every job”? Maybe the problem is that after he said that, we did indeed have another lockdown, and the government did dish out another round of grants. I do not believe there will be another lockdown, I believe the Governments strategy at this point is the survival of the fittest. Hence my 2022 theme – STRONG.
The Year of the Brand
As businesses close and consumer behaviour adjusts, there will be lots of people looking for new places to spend their money. I believe 2022 will see the emergence of the strength of the bricks and mortar salon. We saw during December how the mass cancelling of appointments due to covid were replaced very quickly in salons with clients that wanted last minute bookings. So, although there was a lot of movement of appointments (the like of which I have never seen in my 45 years in this industry) it’s clear there is a lot of new business to be had by those brands that shine like a beacon in a grey turbulent sea.
If you have not put your prices up in the last six months you need to do it NOW. I am not exaggerating when I tell you international shipping costs have gone up over 300% – to understand what that means – try to think of anything we consume in the UK which is made here domestically – something that is made with no imported components. Then consider the energy increases and the impact on every family and business in the UK. But even more importantly for our industry, consider the increase in wages and tax. For those salons that can find the formula for the highest prices and the highest wages, (the two go hand in hand) these will be the ones that emerge from this current crisis (sorry not sorry if you think that is a bit strong) that we face currently.
The most important asset a business has is its people. This has been the case for years, but if I had to make one prediction for 2022 it would be that the businesses that can support their employees emotionally and train them to perform their duties with a smile on their face and a sense of true purpose in their intention, will win consumers buying decisions. There are too many businesses out there acting like they are doing the customer a favour because the business is open and the staff are present, or that the customer is a stranger that wafted in and should be ushered out as soon as, and if I hear another person tell me they are working from home, I will scream. Working from home? good for you – I don’t need to know, and frankly I don’t care. I have my own issues to deal with, just serve me please. And there it is – when we are spending our hard-earned cash, we just want to be served well. And it is a rare thing, even in the hair industry. So, focus on your team, support them because right now – I don’t care who you are, we all have our own issues.
It’s a hard hitting one from me today because I don’t know about you, but I am coming out of the starting gate like Mel Gibson in the trailer for Braveheart.
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