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Business evaluation and personal recOmmendations

Shelby Dufour Beauty Artistry LLC

Thank you so much for participating in our free business evaluation. Below is my evaluation as well as recommendations for each area of the business. I have also included an action plan of what goals and tasks you should be prioritizing based on your answers. ;)

Your Brand

Evaluation

Because the marketplace is so oversaturated, it is SO important that you are clear on what makes you unique and why a bride would choose you over anyone else. Things like quality and customer service aren’t enough to really connect you to your ideal customers.

The fact that your company is professional & reliable IS great but, I do still think that these are too general to directly appeal to your ideal customer.

Recommendations

I would like to see you get a little more clear on what your brand stands for, what makes you unique and who your ideal customer is. Having a very clear vision is going to make every area of your business and marketing much easier.

I saw some hints in your ideal customer description...natural, tasteful and outside her comfort zone are on the right track and are a lot more specific than reliable and professional which are things that should be a given in business.

Really look at what natural, tasteful and gently outside her comfort zone mean to you. What would this bride's specific needs, wants and problems be?

Once you are very clear on your ideal bride in more detail, don’t be afraid to speak directly to her throughout your website, social media and marketing materials.

Your goal is to have your ideal customer express an enthusiastic “YES…they get me!" so, the more you can determine AND address your ideal customers' SPECIFIC needs, wants, concerns and problems, the more likely they will be to book you.

Your Policies & Procedures

Evaluation

You have clear policies and procedures that your customers are well aware of which is great! This is going to prevent any miscommunications which could result in unhappy clients. The next step is to start to document all of your policies and procedures in a “company manual”. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a simple Google Doc is perfect.

Recommendations

I suggest that you create a Google or Word document and create a section for each area of your business; interest clients, booked clients, trial, wedding day, follow up, marketing, social media, etc. Start to document all of your policies and procedures. This is also where you will put all of your systems as you create them.

Having a company manual is going to allow you to not have to “reinvent the wheel” as your business grows. This will be the document that you use when you hire new stylists and staff. You can also use this document as your “go-to” for anything and everything that pertains to your business.

You did say that are having to answer the same questions from clients and/or staff which leads me to believe that your policies and procedures may not be as clearly articulated as they could be.

Go through your website as well as the initial emails that you send to both interested and booked brides to make sure that all of the most frequently asked questions are addressed and answered. If you haven’t already done so, create email templates that you can cut and paste that also address these questions for those brides who don’t take the time to read all of your policies and procedures.

You may also want to consider adding a FAQs section to your website.

Your Systems

Evaluation

The lack of systems in your business is causing you to spend more time on the day-to-day tasks of the business than you need to and is most likely also causing you a lot of frustration. Getting more solid systems in place is going to free up time to start instituting some of the ideas you have for your business

Systems are the absolute foundation of a successful business and are essential for growth. You will be amazed once you take the time to create systems, how much more time you will have to devote to growing your business.

Recommendations

I know that creating systems can seem overwhelming and time consuming but it should be at the very highest priority.

You should have systems for every area of your business in which you do the same things over and over. These should include things like:
Interested Bride System (aka Sales Funnel)
Booked Bride System
Trial System
Wedding Day System
Follow Up System
Marketing System
Social Media System
Hiring System
Training System
Etc

To create systems, start by making a list of each of these areas. Once you have these areas written down, start to break down each task that is required to complete each process. For each of these tasks, ask yourself how you can best systematize it AND automate it where possible.

There is not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” way to create systems, it is whatever works best for you and may vary depending on which stage of business you are in. Some of the tools in which you can create systems include:
Checklists
Email Automations
Task Reminders
Google Calendar Reminders
Workflows
Templates

I know that Wix has SO many tools for helping you to systematize and automate. As a matter of fact, Wix is probably THE best platform I have found for automating and systematizing.

FYI...I am in the process of creating a video course on how to create systems and automations using Wix, I will make sure and let you know when that is available. ;)

Your Marketing

Evaluation

The three stages of client acquisition are Know-Like-Trust.

Interested brides will obviously never get a chance to like or trust you if they don't know you. For this reason, I would like to see you getting more visitors to your website.

I would also like to see more of your unique web visitors inquire for information. If you can narrow in on exactly who your ideal bride is and find those ways to resonate and connect with her directly, I guarantee that this percentage will go up!

The good news is that your client acquisition rate is high. Booking 50% of interested brides is a great percentage and that is only going to be higher when you get more visitors.

Recommendations

Find new ways to market your business. There are an unlimited number of ways to market your business…the best thing to do is experiment with different strategies and tactics to find what works best for you and then multiply your efforts and resources in those particular areas.

There are also things you can do to increase your SEO which I will get into more in the “Online Presence” section.

Finally, as I mentioned before…start to narrow in on your ideal client and focus on the ways that you can uniquely meet her very specific needs and wants and solve her problems.

Specifically, on your "weddings" page of your website...while the verbiage is beautifully and eloquently written, I do think it is a little too "generic".

For example...you mention that the beauty process can be a scary experience for some brides (which is absolutely true) but what exactly is scary about it AND what is specifically scary for your specific bride?

Is it that she is afraid she is going to be too overdone? If so...give her VERY specific ways that you are going to make sure this doesn't happen. Maybe all of your makeup and techniques are specifically designed to give a flawless look that NEVER looks heavy or overdone.

Is she afraid she isn't going to be listened to? Let her know exactly how you will make sure she IS listened to. Maybe sending her a pre-trial questionnaire for example where she can articulate all of her needs, wants and concerns.

Your Stylists & Staff

Evaluation

You are definitely not the first person to tell me that it is hard to find great stylists...this is a very common complaint.

Stylists don't realize exactly what it takes to run a successful business!

Recommendations

My recommendation for finding stylists is

1) First, determine exactly what it is you need and are looking for in a stylist and write these things down. This includes not only their skills and level of expertise and availability but also the character traits that you are looking for to ensure that potential stylists fit into your company culture.

2) Create a solid hiring, training and managing system for your stylists. Start by having a page on your website that clearly articulates your requirements for working for your company. Once a stylists knows what is expected and involved in working with you, create an online application for them to fill out. Doing this is going to eliminate a lot of time and weed out any stylists who AREN'T able and/or willing to work within the parameters you set out, including their availability and pay.

3) Once you have determined exactly what it is that you are looking for and you have either a website or an email template to send to interested stylists, it is time to cast a wide net! Create a page on your website, post on social media, post on job boards, craigslist and Model Mayhem. ANYWHERE you can think that you may find a potential stylist. Makeup counters and beauty schools can also be a good source for potential stylists, especially if you have a good hiring and training system.

My final piece of advice when it comes to finding and hiring stylists is to remember that this is YOUR business and you are not going to be able to please everyone. That’s ok…if you are persistent and patient AND you have all of your policies, procedures and systems in place, you will eventually find stylists who are exactly what you are looking for!

Create your policies, procedure and systems in regards to your stylists and adopt the attitude of "This Is How We Do It Here." If a stylist isn't willing to work within your parameters then they are not the right stylist for you. Just make sure that these parameters are clearly articulated so that you can be sure that any potential stylists are on board BEFORE you hire them.

As far as finding stylists who are available, this can be difficult because you are working with 1099 contractors so you can't tell them that they can't work for themselves or someone else. What you can do, however, is require that anyone that wants to join your team must be available specific times and for a specific number of days each month.

This is going to be more difficult if you don't have a lot of work to offer them. The busier you are and the more weddings you can have available for them to work, the more you can require from them.

Until you get to the point of having enough weddings to require a commitment like this from your stylists, you may want to consider looking for as many stylists as you can to be "on call" stylists.

When we were still doing hair and makeup services, we had a crew of about 40 stylists who were our "team" stylists and who we were able to give consistent work to but we also had a list of about 50 other stylists who wanted to primarily do their own thing but who were available on occasion when we needed stylists to fill in the gaps.

Your Online Presence

Evaluation

Your online presence could use a little work.

I couldn't find you in Google Search under bridal hair and makeup keywords for your area or on Google My Business.

Recommendations

First and foremost, add yourself to Google My Business. This is going to not only give you more visibility but it will also help with your SEO.

Go through your Wix dashboard using the SEO tools. Wix makes it very quick and easy for you to optimize your site for Search Engine Optimization.

I also have a video that will help: https://www.haircomesthebridepro.com/free-business-videos/get-to-the-top-of-google

I am not sure if I was looking in the wrong area but I also couldn't find you on The Knot or Wedding Wire?

If you are not on The Knot and Wedding Wire, these are great platforms to help find more customers AND boost your SEO.

I know that these platforms don't work for everyone...it is typically a random hit or miss but I think they are worth trying if you haven't already done so OR at the very least if you don't want to pay to advertise, I know you used to be able to add a free listing.

Your Dreams & Goals

Evaluation

I think your goal of having your own studio is awesome and I definitely see that happening for you!

I would just want to make sure that you have really great systems for every area of your business so that you don't experience too many "growing pains".

Recommendations

Get those systems in place including a solid stylist hiring, training and management system!

Your Frustrations

Evaluation

I love that you are so passionate about your business and honestly, the fact that you expressed that you are anxious, withdrawn and sensitive leads me to believe that your biggest obstacle to growth may be your mindset.

I understand that you love being personally involved in every aspect but this could hinder your growth.

Again, I suspect that it may be fear that is making you feel this way. This is COMPLETELY understandable. You have worked very hard to create a business that you love and are passionate about and that is successful. Giving up "control" is a very scary thing.

Recommendations

Not to sound like a broken record but creating systems is going to be the key!

When we were still doing hair and makeup at Hair Comes the Bride, we did over 500 weddings a year...talk about giving up control and I am a control freak! lol

BUT...because I was able to create a "system dependent" and not a "people dependent" business allowed me to give up control and STILL have a business that ran according to my very high standards of practice.

What this means is what I talked about earlier and adopting a "This is How We Do It Here" approach. YOU decide exactly how you want everything done based on what has made you successful and train any stylists and staff to do it this way!

If anyone is not able or willing to play YOUR game, YOUR way...they aren't for you!

This can be challenging if you are a "people pleaser" which believe it or not, I am. But, I got to a point where my passion and commitment to the growth of my business outweighed my need to try and make everyone happy.

I used to be obsessed with making everything "fair" for everyone but remember that "fair" is very subjective and since this is YOUR business, YOU get to decide what fair means for you!

This can be a process but can absolutely be done with practice, patience AND systems! ;)

ACTION PLAN

A successful business contains a lot of moving parts and each part plays a role in the success of the other. In order to create a thriving business, it is important that you take a "holistic" approach meaning that you understand how all of these parts work together and you recognize that the business is ONLY as strong as the weakest part of the business. 

Because there are so many moving parts, it often becomes confusing and overwhelming to know "where to start" or which area to focus on first. Below are our recommendations as to what areas or goals you should be focused on first, second and third. 

Goal Number One

BUSINESS SYSTEMS
I am sure this comes as no surprise that the first goal you should work on is your business systems. This can feel like an overwhelming process but the good news is that, for the most part, this is a one and done project.

There may be a little trial and error at first and you may need to make tweaks along the way, but once you take the time to create the systems AND automate where possible, the majority of the work will be done.

I promise that doing this is going to have a dramatic affect on your business and free up a lot of your time to focus on marketing, growing and expanding your business.

Goal Number Two

BRAND EVALUATION
I would like to see you get really clear on your USP (Unique Selling Position) which is that thing above and beyond the basic standards of business such as quality and customer service that really sets you a part from your competition.

I also want you to get really clear on exactly who your ideal bride is and what specific needs and wants you can fulfill and what specific problems you can solve better than anyone else.

Once you have determined this, look at your website, social media and marketing materials to make sure that they are sending a clear message to your potential brides articulating who you are, what you have to offer and what specific needs you can meet and what problems you can solve that are very specific to your ideal client.

Goal Number Three

MARKETING
I would like to see you branch out and try some new marketing strategies and tactics.

I would also like to see you set aside a little bit more time each week to focus on marketing. I know that you are a one man show and don't have a lot of time right now but you should have some time free up once you can implement new and/or better systems and automations.

PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

Overall, I think you are doing a fabulous job! Your work is beautiful and you are clearly very passionate and dedicated to your business!

I know that you have an "Owner" membership with us which means that you have access to all of our business education.

Here are a few videos that I think may be helpful:
https://www.haircomesthebridepro.com/business-bootcamp/your-unique-position
https://www.haircomesthebridepro.com/business-bootcamp/creating-an-effective-brand
https://www.haircomesthebridepro.com/business-bootcamp/website-and-social-media
https://www.haircomesthebridepro.com/business-bootcamp/creating-business-systems
https://www.haircomesthebridepro.com/business-bootcamp/marketing-basics

I know this is quite a few but they are all fairly short in length. ;)

Please let me know if you have any other questions or I can be of any further assistance!

I look forward to watching your business grow and flourish in the next year and beyond!

xo
Gina

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

If you need more help or guidance, click on a link below for more resources: 

If you would like more personalized guidance, you can book a FREE 30 minute business strategy session to discuss your business goals in more detail!

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