The first few weeks of navigating the system, waiting for announcements and also speaking to friends and colleagues was hard. Some colleagues were fearful, others accepting and some simply hoping the situation would vanish as quickly as it had arrived.

Almost immediately, I realised that those businesses who are keen to embrace change and be proactive, are sure to be the ones who survive the season. Nobody likes change, especially change which is forced upon us and often, as therapists we are so busy with our clients, staff and the day to day running of salons that we seemingly miss something… change is powerful. Change brings about growth, opportunity, development and also gives those who work for us a boost.

Often we hear people saying phrases like ‘doing work on myself’ and ‘taking time out for me’. Well, my thinking here was – why not use this opportunity to do work on my business and take a look at it properly, with clarity? How many times have I procrastinated about writing a blog for example? After the initial shock and upheaval here was how I began to lay the foundations…..

Self care is so important to me and also my routine. I knew that by getting in to a good regular routine, and putting some steps in place this would help me to grasp a new vision and be able to think on more of a practical level. Taking time for exercise, online zoom Pilates and mediation also helped calm my mind and enable me to pluck up ideas. I am not suggesting you do as I do, but perhaps select something you enjoy and don’t normally, as a busy therapist or business professional have time for.

Here I can only offer you my initial thoughts. As you read through the next few blog posts, I shall attempt to look a little deeper and answer some questions you may want help with but, all I can share with you now is, lockdown has helped me grow my business in so may ways….

Firstly, if you have not already done so, it is vital to put a COVID-19 statement on your website. This helps clients old and new to feel instantly reassured that you are taking the situation seriously (again I refer to the ostrich). A statement can easily be done by yourself or whomever is in charge of your site and often browsing google to look at what others have written is a great place to start.

Secondly, using your preferred social media platform of choice, I would encourage you to send out a heartfelt, personal statement from yourself and your team. At a time like this, clients want to hear from you, the owner, so make sure this comes across in your words. The time for delegating is not now, you must send it on behalf of you all.

If you are a mobile therapist, perhaps think about sending out a text to all of your clients. Informing them of the business hold and letting them know they are on your mind. Encourage open responses from them, letting them know they can also contact you to say hello, and to let you know their news. If your clients are anything like mine… they will be missing the monthly updates and vice versa, so encourage dialogue with them.

Here is an example of one of my messages –

Hello everyone. I hope you are keeping safe and well. To see my COVID-19 business statement please visit my website (link below) Statement also includes answers to popular questions I have been asked, and how, as a business we plan to begin working, once we are back up and running. Thanks again for all your loyalty and support at this most challenging of times. Please feel free to get in touch at any time to let me know how you are all doing! I shall look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe. Claire

Last, but by no means least, is your social media. This is an absolute must at this time. How often do we hear of therapists saying they don’t have time for social media or they are not on Instagram or one of my ABSOLUTE pet hates ‘The last time I posted was last year!’ Now, I am no social media expert but let me give it to you straight, everyone is looking for services on social media. Think about where you look for services…or where you see most things advertised. Social media is the place.

According to my research in to this (report by Econsultancy) 75% of people in the 18 – 26 age group use social media to search for services and before they purchase goods. So quite simply, get tweeting and start posting!

Whether live Instagram make up demos is your thing, Facebook manicure shots or just a simple relaxed picture of yourself practicing your newfound self care, I can promise you none of it will be wasted. Current and potential clients will hold you, in a box in their minds, and they will remember you when they are ready to emerge from isolation lockdown.

Now, back to that word normal. In short and I do not care how unpopular I make myself when I say this, as an industry at least, WE ARE NOT GOING BACK TO NORMAL. The sooner we, collaboratively realise this, the quicker we can heal, adapt, reboot and recover.

As mentioned earlier on in my post, it will be those who face the challenge with acceptance and positivity who will survive the season. This may take a while to sink in, but when it does I am sure our unique industry will once again return to the thriving hub of love, laughter and creativity it was before this challenging time.

Claire Louise