Ask the Experts |

12 mins

Ask the Experts

Our beauty experts answer your questions about every aspect of running a salon or spa business

What does B Corp mean and how does a business become certified?

Everyone’s talking about B Corp – but what exactly is it, and why should you care? B Corp is a global business certification, based on a robust sustainability framework that measures the entire social and environmental performance of each certifying business.

What gives the B Corp certification teeth is the legal commitment businesses are asked to make. B Corps in the UK change their Articles of Association to adopt a stakeholder business model. That means B Corps are legally required to move from a shareholder model to a stakeholder model and consider people and planet equally alongside profit.

According to iCrossing Beauty Trends Research (March 2022) there has been a sharp upturn in consumer searches for sustainable beauty, with a 400% year-onyear increase in B Corp beauty brand searches.

Now, more than ever, people are determined to work for, buy from and invest in businesses with purpose. The B Corp logo is now globally recognised by consumers, investors and business leaders, and its reputation is escalating at a staggering rate.

To become a BCorp, businesses must go through a rigorous certification process that involves several stages:

• Completing the B Corp Impact Assessment (BIA). This tracks and measures a business’s impact on all its stakeholders. It’s an intensive assessment focused on actions (rather than promises), with points awarded for positive impact and improvements. You need to score 80+ points to submit.

• Making the legal change. If your business achieves 80+ points you’ll be asked to amend your company’s Articles of Association to incorporate a commitment to all stakeholders, including the planet.

• Getting your certification and joining the community – if you pass the verification, make the legal change and pay the certification fee, you’ll be furnished with the B Corp logo and invited to join the B Corp community. You must then recertify every three years to keep your B Corp credentials.

Not all businesses can get B Corp certification. Only for-profit businesses that have been operating for over one year can apply. However, any business, non-profit or charity can use the B Corp framework without becoming a BCorp. In fact, over 50,000 businesses worldwide do.

Completing the assessment and verification process is not an easy task (nothing worthwhile ever is) but the concept is simple; B Corp is more than a tally of your business’s beliefs and ambitions; it is a measure of your actions and commitments. B Corp isn’t about ticking ESG boxes, or being neutral, it’s for businesses that want to be a force for good and change the world for the better.

Aisling Connaughton is a sustainability solutionist and the co-founder of Cyd Connects, a women-led sustainability consultancy which has taken multiple beauty and wellness brands through the B Corp process.

How do I create a great first impression for clients?

The fastest and easiest way to increase client loyalty is by improving the quality of the customer service your salon delivers. A new client will develop an impression about your employees and your business in the first seven seconds with your therapist.

In that tiny slice of time, they will judge your employee in 11 different ways, all of which will affect how likely it is that they will do business with you again.

The 11 ways in which your salon and your team are judged are attractiveness, cleanliness, courtesy, credibility, confidence, friendliness, helpfulness, knowledge, professionalism, responsiveness and understanding.

The outcome of these judgements is important – clients will roll these judgements into one opinion of your business which will determine how likely they are to become a repeat client. The decision they make is one of the following three conclusions: they like your employee (and therefore your salon), they dislike your employee (and therefore your salon), or they are indifferent.

Two of these conclusions are death to your business. Obviously, dislike is bad, but so is indifference. An indifferent client is a temporary client – they are only in your salon until they find a better option.

You cannot recreate a first impression, so do everything you can to maximise your positive impact on clients. For example, teach your team to smile, establish eye contact and say a friendly greeting. When you hear the client’s name upon meeting, repeat it and make a point of remembering it.

Be as confident and relaxed as possible when engaging in small talk. In salon sales, making a great first impression can make or break your livelihood. Answering questions and solving problems promptly, with a friendly disposition, conversing using the client’s name during conversation, smiling and showing interest in the person

– all of this creates an impression of warmth, concern and trust. Remember, people buy people first.

To ensure you have a welcoming environment for clients, consider the following aspects of your day-to-day operations:

The telephone – as the salon owner or manager, it is vital to ensure that all employees who work on your reception have been fully trained on exactly how to answer the phone and respond to the client’s call.

Be yourself, be at ease – when you are calm and confident, your client will feel more at ease, and you have a solid foundation to build trust, introduce new services and make recommendations.

Be open and confident – body language can speak louder than words. Use your body language to reflect appropriate confidence and selfassurance. Stand tall, make eye contact and greet clients in a positive manner.

Small talk goes a long way – conversations are based on give and take. Prepare questions for the clients you are expecting, relative to the treatments they have booked.

Liz McKeon is an author, business coach, mentor, trainer and founder of the International Salon Business School. She is also the author of industry book 30 Days to Beauty Business Success.

How can I avoid common microblading problems?

Microblading can enhance and reshape eyebrows, but it requires precision and skill to achieve realistic and long-lasting results. As a microblading artist, you must be aware of the common issues that can arise during and after the procedure, including those related to product quality and eyebrow design. Some of the most common issues include:

Uneven pigmentation: this can occur due to several reasons including poor product application, unstable pigments and improper aftercare. To avoid this, use premium blades and high-quality pigments to ensure longevity of the results.

Make sure to educate your clients on proper aftercare procedures, including avoiding excessive sweating and sun exposure, as well as using gentle skincare products that don’t contain abrasive or exfoliating ingredients.

Poor product quality: this can not only pose a threat to your clients’ wellbeing (think of blades that haven’t been sterilised) but also prevents you from creating great results. Blades that are not sharp enough fail to create crisp, natural-looking strokes.

Unstable pigments cause poor retention or “rainbow effect” fading. Products that are not designed for skin use can cause irritation or allergies. It is important to only use safe, certified products to ensure the wellbeing of your clients and safeguard your reputation.

Eyebrow design issues: one of the worst scenarios that can happen is when the client is completely unhappy with the final result. Eyebrow design issues can result in the need for additional touch-up appointments or even removal.

To avoid this, it’s crucial to have a thorough consultation with the client to understand their expectations and preferences, and to make a note of these for the record. Take into account their facial features, natural brow shape and hair flow to create a design that looks natural and suits their style and features.

Lack of qualifications: microblading requires skill and expertise to create undetectable and natural-looking results. Ensure that you are qualified and experienced enough to create customised designs that cater to your clients’ unique features and preferences.

It’s also essential to be knowledgeable about alternative procedures, such as combination or ombre brows, which might be better suited for some clients. By having diverse skills and knowledge, you can best serve your clients’ needs and establish a strong reputation for your business.

In conclusion, attention to detail is crucial for delivering successful and long-lasting results for your clients. By using high-quality products, educating clients on proper aftercare, and addressing any issues promptly, you can ensure a positive experience and excellent retention for your clients, and establish a strong reputation for your business.

Monika Ludwiczak is the co-founder and senior educator at microblading and semi-permanent make-up brand Everlasting Brows, which offers a range of accredited educational programmes.

I hate asking my clients for reviews; do I really need them?

It’s natural to be hesitant about asking for reviews; you might be held back by fear of negative feedback, rejection, or just that British aversion to praise.

However, reviews and testimonials are powerful tools that can help boost your online presence and attract new clients, so they need to be sought. Not only do they improve your search engine rankings, they also help build a positive reputation for you and your business. They’re one of the pieces of social validation that every business needs.

Let’s face it, we all value reviews from our peers before making a purchase or booking an appointment. In today’s digital age, that validation often comes in the form of online reviews. A few glowing testimonials on your website or social media can go a long way in convincing potential clients to choose your salon over a rival. Just like on Amazon, a product with no reviews is less likely to sell. Research has shown that the average consumer likes to see businesses with a 4.2 to 4.8-star rating for your review summary. This is because a full five-star profile looks suspiciously like fake or automated reviews have been placed. You don’t have to worry about every review being perfect.

A steady flow of thoughtful reviews shows that your business is active. Some might think it’s suspicious if your last good review came in three years ago. Is the business still operating? Google is one of the best places to collect reviews, but some businesses opt for RealSelf, TrustPilot, or Facebook. All can be copied and shared on your website and social media.

The best reviews are a couple of sentences long, easy to read, and specific to the treatment or product. I encourage clinics and salons to leave a couple of questions for clients to answer within their review – getting them to mention treatments and therapists by name is great.

You might not think it appropriate to ask for a testimonial straight after an appointment, so leave review information in multiple places – your website, your email footer, and your printed literature.

Automating sending follow-up correspondence to clients a few days after their appointment is also a great opportunity to ask for a review wherever you gather them.

If you meet clients for follow-ups, that’s the time to ask, especially for treatments where results take time to show.

Every time you add a new treatment to your portfolio, it’s crucial in those early appointments to get testimonials specifically for that treatment. They can be anonymous and just for your website, but they will help generate more interest and you can share them on social media too. For the best outcome, especially if the treatment is trending online or in the press, you need Google reviews that mention the treatment by name, so that your listing gets picked up when those “near me” searches are made.

Simply put, keep asking for reviews, try to steer patients to leave quality reviews, and share them across your online and offline worlds. Not only will fresh reviews help your digital presence, they’ll also convert browsers into consultations.

Alex Bugg works for Web Marketing Clinic, a family-run digital agency, which specialises in medical aesthetics. The business builds websites and delivers marketing campaigns. Contact her via

What’s the secret to being a great salon manager?

Have you ever heard the saying, “employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers”? Your first duty as a manager should be getting to know your employees and putting their needs first.

A recent poll discovered that more than two in five British employees have quit a job because of a bad manager, citing respecting and listening to staff and treating people well as the most important attributes of a good boss.

Understand that you’ll never stop learning – about your business, industry, and competitors, so you should always be open to absorbing new information.

Similarly, you should encourage your employees to push themselves and expand their skillset by getting involved in different training courses and seminars.

As a manager, you may feel obligated to try and tackle everything at once to make the best impression on your superiors and employees. Here’s some helpful advice: don’t bother. Take a step back and look at your tasks and responsibilities with the aim of prioritising.

Start by listing your tasks in order of importance and address them one by one, delegating duties across your team where necessary. If you try to do everything at once, you will likely burn yourself (and your employees) out.

The type of manager you should be to your employees is not a “one size fits all” process; a successful manager recognises that different people need different approaches. While your values and overall managerial style shouldn’t change from person to person (that would be unfair), you should be alert to factors such as language barriers and age groups.

For example, if a staff member doesn’t speak the best English, keep your vocabulary simple and speak clearly and slowly. Similarly, an employee that’s older than you might not respond well to being “told” what to do as opposed to being “asked”, so it would be courteous here to adjust the way you assign responsibilities.

To keep employee morale and productivity high, you should be everything you expect your staff to be. How can you discipline a team member for failing to keep a promise when you have five outstanding pledges to action?

By demonstrating your devotion, reliability and hard work, you’ll build trust with your staff which should motivate them to be the best version of themselves, too.

Not only does building strong relationships with your staff and clients drive better results for the business, it creates a more enjoyable working environment. To strengthen relationships with those around you, be genuine, make sure you’re really listening instead of just hearing, and focus on truly understanding as opposed to just responding.

Arranging regular one-to-one interactions is just as important as team-building exercises and could help you achieve stronger relationships with everyone at a faster rate.

To be a successful manager, you need to have a set of (realistic) goals with a clear plan for how to achieve each one.

Don’t be afraid to consult others before launching into a new process; your decisions as a manager impact the wider team, not just yourself. Plus, getting opinions and assistance from your employees should give them a sense of importance and help them feel valued, which in turn could help strengthen your relationship with them.

Dominic Fitch is head of creative change at Impact International, which works with businesses on change management and people development.

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This article appears in June 2023

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June 2023
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