Header image for article Running an Operationally Efficient Business
business, case study

Running an Operationally Efficient Business

February 23, 2020 by Sally Pau

There are many growth opportunities in the beauty industry. Whether you’re a seasoned beauty professional or you’re looking to start your career in the industry, there is room for everyone to start a passion-filled business. To allow your business to flourish, you will need to ensure it’s operationally efficient.

It’s important to put in hours of work to perfect your craft and focus on your clients. However, it’s also important to avoid neglecting the business and administrative side. This is especially if you’re looking to grow your beauty side hustle into a full-time career. Your success will greatly reflect upon the work you put into your business.

Running an operationally efficient business means that all aspects are working together to increase productivity and profits. It looks at the input required and the output gained. The inputs include your time, money, and effort spent on running your beauty business. The output includes your clients, client retention, quality, revenue, and opportunities. Ideally, you should work on improving the output to input ratio. This means getting the same output for less input or more output for the same input.

For example, let’s say you’re putting in 20 hours a week towards your business. This includes everything from servicing your clients, marketing, manually managing your scheduling, forms, and deposits. Your current output is $1000 in revenue weekly. If you decide to use a business software to free up 5 hours of manual administrative work, it brings your input down to 15 hours weekly. Your revenue will remain the same though the input will decrease.

A business software such as Jupiter costs $15 a month. If there are four weeks in the month, it will only cost you $3.75 a week to save 5 hours of your time. The 5 hours saved could be used towards servicing your clients, earning you an additional $250 weekly if your hourly rate is $50. In this case, your revenue will increase and your input, in terms of time, will remain the same.

Picture of Danielle

L. Danielle Baldwin, Lash, Brow, and Nail Technician

You don’t need a business background to run an operationally efficient business. There are many resources available to help you along the way. Meet L. Danielle Baldwin, the Jane of all trades. She has spent over two decades as a Web Developer and Designer with award-winning experiences as a Social Media and Content Strategist, Marketer, and Consultant for startups and small businesses. She is the owner of a boutique agency called DB Digital, as well as a fairly new beauty business specializing in lashes, eyebrows, and nails.

Danielle has a love for finding projects that allow her to combine her love for being creative and all things digital. She also enjoys dabbling in various hobbies and considers herself an audiophile, francophile, yogi, and baker. Entering the beauty industry started as a hobby as well, though it grew into something more than she had originally expected. “I kind of started doing lashes just because I was curious about it and wanted to know how to do them for my closest friends and myself,” she says. “I went to nail school for the same reason, so skills in this realm have always been of interest to me.”

As Danielle’s business rapidly grew, she decided to leave her full-time job as a Content Strategist to focus on her beauty business and freelance work. “My business grew so fast that I had to go back and retro-fit the administrative items in place to continue moving forward,” she says. “I set up my scheduling, social media and email marketing for my lash business in the same way I have for my web development, graphic design, marketing, and branding business.”

Time is a valuable resource and there is always an opportunity cost in the way you spend your time. This is why beauty professionals need to establish effective time management habits. One way to ensure your time is spent well is by delegating various tasks and activities in your business. This means to assign work to another person or software to maximize your productivity.

Delegation should be done even during the early stages as your workload will eventually increase. Using affordable business software will help streamline your business right from the start. Even if your beauty business started as a hobby or side hustle, you will need to treat it the same way as any other business. Being organized and productive is critical for Danielle as she runs more than one business.

Finding the Tools for Success

Jupiter App

Danielle has a few tools in place to run her business smoothly. She uses Jupiter for scheduling, booking, taking deposits, and automating her forms. It helps to reduce overlap, miscommunication, and no-shows or last-minute cancellations. Jupiter allows her to set her schedule to when she wants to work and clients can book when it’s convenient for them. This protects her personal time for family, friends, and her other business. It allows Danielle to make the most out of her schedule, both on a work and personal level.

Screenshot of Jupiter

“Honestly, this one is not optional. Even if you use a physical hardcopy calendar to manage your entire schedule or as backup, you should still use scheduling software for ease of use from your client end,” says Danielle.

Square

To complement Jupiter, Danielle uses Square to collect the deposits and complete the payment after an appointment. It allows her to accept all types of payments and get paid fast. One of Jupiter’s upcoming features includes check-out so clients can complete the full payment inside the app. This will allow Danielle to seamlessly do everything right from her phone with one app.

Intuit Quickbooks

Danielle strongly believes in reinvesting in her business and herself with new training. To manage and track her income and spending, both personal and business-related, she uses software like Intuit Quickbooks. It allows her to take full control of her finances and find opportunities to grow. She can view monthly spending summaries and know where exactly where her money is going.

In a few months, reporting will also be available on Jupiter. Users will be able to keep track of how much money they’ve made in the past week and month. This helps beauty professionals better understand how well their business is performing and where they can find improvements.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar allows Danielle to view her schedule in advance and manage her time accordingly. Jupiter syncs with her Google Calendar, so she knows exactly when her appointments are. If she decides to block time off for her other business or personal life, she can do so in her calendar and Jupiter will automatically work around her availability.

Business Planner

Danielle also uses a hard copy calendar to create and track her goals for the week, month, and year. Her planner is designed with sections to help map out her goals and ambitions for the year. It allows her to stay accountable each month to reflect before moving onto the next. We have a free business planner available for download. It has over 35 pages of content, templates, and worksheets to help you visualize and plan the future of your beauty business.

Danielle’s Growth From Being Operationally Efficient

Danielle explained how her growth was very organic as a result of her natural habit of being organized and consistent. Using business tools and software has allowed her to stay organized and on top of everything in her business. “To be honest, I didn’t set up an Instagram account for my business until about two weeks ago. Why? Because I take such great care of my clients before, during and after their services,” she says. “I was able to book my services out for three months at a time. Yes, three months at a time! This was a direct result of setting high expectations for myself in my relationship with my clients and for what I get from them.”

“I vet my clients in the same way they would vet me. My initial interview with my clients before their service is often the time I get a real feel for what type of client they are going to be for me. It helps me determine how I will best help them as a part of their service that day,” Danielle says. “Through a series of questions and feedback from my clients, I can pretty much predict those that will become regular returning customers and those that are seasonal or one-off customers. I treat everyone the same, but when a client shows loyalty to me, I try to do the same in return.”

You want your clients to see a seamless process from intake through to the end of the service.

Running a business is difficult, regardless of how organized or consistent you are. “Just like building your clientele and gathering the supplies needed to run your business, you should also prepare the operational end as well,” Danielle says. “ Establish a routine for scheduling, taking payments, and marketing from the very beginning. Even if that routine changes over time, establishing these items early and revisiting them often will only improve your business and save you time.” From Danielle’s experience with running multiple businesses, here are her recommendations on creating one that is efficient and convenient for clients.

Know Your Clients

“Don’t skip out on consultations and intake forms. Doing this could save you from nasty and horrible situations with clients who have allergies–known or unknown. It can help prevent allergic reactions, medical emergencies, liability and more,” she says. “Take the time to talk to your clients, explain the process, require that they sign a waiver and anything else you feel should be agreed to before the service. Make sure when you are scheduling that you allot time for this step to happen.”

To speed up the process, waivers and intake forms are automated with Jupiter and can be sent before an appointment. Clients will receive the form and notifications through email and SMS. You can also edit the forms with the client in front of you during a consultation. The edit history is automatically saved in their client file. You’ll never have to reprint a form again.

Picture of Jupiter's form feature

Give Yourself an Administrative Day

“While it’s tempting to run your business 7 days a week for 8-10 hours each day, you should allow some time for you to sit down for other tasks,” says Danielle. “This includes answering emails, reviewing forms, organizing incoming and outgoing emails, forms, doing some self-marketing beyond Instagram, taking care of monthly tax obligations, and more.”

Danielle explains, “It’s hard being a one-woman or one-man show. A lot of people find it hard being both the person running the business and completing the services offered, but it’s a must that this part of running your own business is given the time and attention it deserves. If you are not able or do not want to do the administrative portions of your business on a day-to-day basis, hire a virtual assistant or administrator to help carry to load so you can focus on the bigger issues of running your business.”

Have Convenient Payment Options

Often new beauty business owners will run on a cash-only or electronic bank transfer basis, however, it creates an inconvenience for your clients and your future tax purposes. Danielle recommends businesses to have more than one virtual way for clients to pay you. It will make it easier for clients and avoid the possibility of clients turning away.

“Not every one of your clients will have CashApp or PayPal. Have a way to accept credit cards, such as Square, directly from your clients in-person. Establish your payment standards and rules early and keep them no matter who you are dealing with–friends, family or total strangers,” she says. “It’s also advisable to have at least one bank account that comes from an online-only bank, such as simple.com. They normally process payments and incoming or outgoing funds faster than traditional banks. They also have more than one electronic way to allow you to collect payments at any one time.”

Advice for Aspiring Beauty Professionals

Lastly, we asked Danielle what advice she would give someone looking to break into the beauty industry.

In Danielle’s Words:

I would tell new and upcoming beauty professionals to stick to a few tried and true guidelines and incorporate them into your business practices and services:

  • Know what your goals are for your business. Not anyone else’s goals.
  • Never stop learning. Incorporate learning and skill improvement into your annual schedule ahead of time. Give it the same importance as you give to gaining new clients and growing your business. They go hand in hand.
  • Understand that you are now in an industry where cleanliness can make or break your business. Set high standards for a sterile environment, a sanitation routine, and cleanliness from the start.
  • Find a mentor or a newbie partner that you can grow with. Either you are learning from someone that is already established or you are learning along with another newbie as you two build your clientele and businesses.
  • Learn the science behind your industry. This one is extremely important and the one thing I believe will set good stylists apart from great stylists. Know the science behind the chemicals, products, and tools of your trade. Understand as much as you can about the skin, eyes, and face.

Try Jupiter out free for 14 days. Not sure if Jupiter is right for you? Speak to a member of our team and we’ll be happy to walk you through the feature ourselves.

Picture of Sally Pau

Sally Pau

Sally is a Product Marketer at Jupiter. She enjoys the art of storytelling through content creation to build relationships within the online community.