Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The End of My Rope

I work in a really small salon. Aside from me there are only two other stylists, the owner and a girl my age who got her license last summer, and three receptionists. There's never more than four people working and we all contribute to all the menial tasks.

Lately, well since deciding to take a break from school and started working full-time in January, I've become obsessed with becoming busier. When I was working part-time it felt like I was busier, but with the same clientele and twice the hours, it doesn't quite feel that way anymore.

Business is slow most days and maybe once a week I'll be pleasantly surprised by a full day of walk-ins. I hate walk-ins. I'm a planner, I like knowing ahead of time what I'm going to do each day whether I'm at work or not. And I like to be busy. All the time. I don't deal well with boredom. For example, I am at work, right now, writing this instead of doing someone's hair.

I've been told that maybe I should look elsewhere, but I really love the people I work with. I couldn't ask for a better boss, and the girls I work with are like family, and I really want the salon to do well. Since becoming a full-time employee I've been trying to figure out what I can do to increase business. I've passed out fliers and coupons, "welcome bags," told everyone I encounter where I work - and I've created Twitter and Foursquare accounts. We've had a Facebook account, but it wasn't until recently that my boss made me an admistrator.

My boss' updates and mine can be very different. She may post something about a sale we're having, and then post again later that day about going to Lowe's to pick out pansies for the flowerbed out front. I hate the later of these. We're good at what we do, we shouldn't have time to update Facebook, let alone go shopping for pansies! No really, true story. I wanted to shoot myself in the head the day that she was outside weeding the flowerbed.

Explaining to her the benefits of Social Media and how we're not using it fully is difficult. She has never had a cell phone, she thinks the amount of time I spend on my Android is silly (though, if I was busy doing hair, I wouldn't have the time...). But the people with the silly smartphones, they're the ones that we want in our door. They're the one's that are going to check-in and tell their friends where they get their hair done.

I've asked her repeatedly to re-do our Web site as well. It looks like a MySpace page circa 2003, with the two-tone scrollbar and everything. Nevermind that the page is in no way user friendly and uses way too many words. It's all words. But not words used effieciently, the page goes on forever and is repeated and information is copied and pasted from product lines' Web sites - it's terrible, but she maintains confidence in our "web guy." This man was also kind enough to tell her that he wasn't "sold on Social Media" after she told him how I had started using it for the salon. Of course he's not sold on it, it's not profitable to him if one of her employees is doing it. Duh.

I've tried talking her into advertising with local publications, but the one she contacted didn't respond promptly or something and "it's expensive." Expensive is relative, and if you have to spend $500 on an add to get three new clients in, it will pay for itself.

Her idea of advertising is pursuing old clients, which is also important. I agree that clients should be rewarded for loyalty, but sending a postcard to someone every week just doesn't seem to be effective (because it's annoying). We get calls regularly from people asking to be taken off the mailing list, and I don't blame them. And the money we spend on that could be well spent on something else (like a pay-per-click add on fucking Facebook).

We ran a special where clients got a percentage off their serivce if they followed us on Twitter or "Liked" us on Facebook, it was somewhat successsful. It would be nice if we offered a discount for booking in advance, like before you leave the salon, like they do at every other salon everywhere, but nope. That would be an inconvenience? Or something..I don't know. I have absolutely no idea. But when you've been running a salon for 25 years, one would think you would be booked weeks or at least days in advance, no?

Sorry, this is all so disorganized. What do you do when you don't feel at all supported by your boss when you're trying to do something better for business? I'm at the end of my rope.

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