There’s no skirting the issue barbering pros–inflation is everywhere, and it’s impacting everybody differently.
We’re not writing this article to work you into a panicked frenzy. Inflation is something the economy deals with cyclically–it’s not the end of the world, and it’s not the end of your career. Sure, things might feel tight in the coming months.
You might feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.
But there are plenty of things you can do–and things your shop can do–to combat inflation. Will it solve the overall problem? Probably not. But, if you’ve got a good system in place to stay clear of the impacts of inflation, your shop (and your career) will be in good shape. Here are a few tiny tips to implement over the coming months to fight inflation and give your shop a little bit of breathing room–no matter what comes your way.
Top Tips for Fighting Inflation
As a disclaimer, we’re not saying that these tips are the only way to combat inflation. We’re also not saying these tips, when implemented, will be the secret to inflation relief.
We are saying, though, that these tips are helpful and can make small but impactful changes in how your shop deals with inflation on a daily basis. They can also help alter your bottom line, too.
Raise Prices–But Be Contentious
Unfortunately, inflation means it’s time to raise your prices. We know, we know–it’s a tough call to make, especially when your customers might be struggling. We get this uncertainty. It’s likely that you’re ping-ponging back and forth between feelings of needing to raise your prices and dreading losing clients over the price hike.
Here’s the thing. When inflation shows up, raising prices is sometimes a must–just be judicious about your choices. Try to be smart about the way you raise your prices. Maybe only tweak certain services instead of sweeping changes that affect every service across your menu. Be strategic. But importantly, be transparent.
Explain to your clients where these price hikes are coming from and why you’re changing them the way that you are. Ultimately, you’re a business, and while you have to be sensitive to what makes your clients happy, you still have a business to run. We promise there’s a happy medium available here–and many of your clients (hopefully all of them, actually) will understand.
Streamline Your Workflow & Automate Where You Can
Take a peek at your workflow and see where you’re wasting time and money. What can you automate? What can you streamline? If you tackle these issues, you’ll be able to spend less time doing work that doesn’t pay and more time doing work that does.
Think about your email marketing process–is there a way to automate this? What about your scheduling? Your social media planning? Are there ways to streamline these processes so you’re spending less of your valuable time doing work that might not bring in the big bucks immediately?
Take a Good Hard Look at Your Profit Margins
It might not be your favorite thing to do, but inflation is a great time to evaluate your profit margins.
Take a good, hard look and ask, how can I increase these margins? What do you need to cut, and what do you need to add to increase these margins? We get it–this process is rarely fun. But taking the time to evaluate and examine can make an enormous difference.
And honestly, just being informed about what you’re dealing with and having that knowledge in hand as you make decisions is a huge boost to your firepower when battling inflation.
Cut Expenses Where You Can–Even if it Hurts
Yep, the dreaded advice has reared its ugly head–cut some expenses. We know this isn’t anyone’s favorite thing to do, but sometimes, tough times call for tough calls. What expenses can you cut out to help boost those profit margins? What do you think would make the biggest difference when dollars are tight?
Should you consider doing your own laundry instead of outsourcing to a service (we know, it sounds bad)? Should you swap to a cheaper (but equally as effective) product for your back bar?
There are tons of small but impactful changes you can make to cut costs. And honestly, there might be some leftover costs in your business plan that you just don’t need anymore. Now is a great time to address your costs and make some changes.
Accommodate New Customers
Like it or not, inflation means that you’re likely going to be open to a new target customer. If your prices are going up, you might be chasing clients who fit that bracket better. We’re not saying give up on your past clients, we are saying be open and ready to accommodate a new segment of clients.
This is good for a lot of reasons. Not only will you have less of any issue drawing in your customer base, but you’ll also potentially get to bring in new services that appeal to this new market.
Consider Restocking Supplies ASAP
We’re not in the business of fearmongering–and TBH, we’re not going to pretend we know what’s going to happen in the next few months. But we do think it’s prudent to take stock of your current situation and be realistic.
Do you think supply costs will increase in the coming months? Do you feel like the supply chain is getting slower and slower as a result? If these are things you’re looking around and experiencing, consider stocking up on your supplies before things potentially get slower or more expensive.
If there are things you know you’re going to use, go ahead and order extra ahead of time. The upfront cost might hurt right now, but if prices do go up later, you’ll probably thank your past, business-minded self for the foresight. Obviously, don’t go nuts and stretch your budget too much–just consider stocking up on the basics or products that you know are harder to get.
At the end of the day, how you combat inflation is totally up to you–but these tips should help you rally for another day of battling it out. Got your own inflation advice for your fellow barbers? Drop a comment in the reply section below and share what you know! For more inflation-related advice–and advice specific to barbers in general–make sure you subscribe to NAOB’s blog right here, right now.