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There’s no way around it — operating a salon in the Post-COVID-19 world isn’t for the faint of heart.

We can all imagine the simplicity of life prior to COVID-19, and we all wish we could go back there. But the harsh reality is that we can’t. What was once the easy conversation in your chair with your favorite client is now a muffled voice behind a mask. When once you could help your client by taking their things for them has turned into making sure you have a way for them to do it all themselves. This simply is NOT what you envisioned for yourself as you entered 2020 — which now seems like an eternity ago.

For some business owners, it has meant letting go of stylists or closing brick and mortar locations, just to be able to pay the bills. And the bills keep piling up as requirements change and businesses pivot to using more disposable and disinfecting supplies.

There’s no doubt about it — COVID-19 has changed the very fiber of your business.

So how are you, as a service-based business, supposed to survive, let alone thrive in this new world? Simple answer, develop solid strategies that will set you up for success. And before you feel overwhelmed by the days and decisions ahead, remember that nothing can be more difficult to navigate than what you already went through in the 2nd quarter of this year when the industry shut down completely. So when you doubt in the days ahead, tell yourself two things… one, you can do this and two, your clients will doubt you only as much as you doubt yourself.

So make sure you take some time to develop a Post-COVID-19 action plan that will work for your business. Your plan should center on a willingness to adapt to meet new realities, including the need to offer your customers visual and verbal reassurances of your business’ dedication to sanitation and cleanliness in the short and long-term.

But what are some of those strategies you can consider including in your plan as you move forward into 2021? Here are a few that we think might be worth considering.

1. Take the high road and post your COVID-19 policies and practices on your business website so clients can keep up to date on what to expect when they visit.

2. Post your COVID policies outside and inside your salon to reassure and remind clients about your expectations and what theirs should be.

3. Have a good source to stay updated regarding orders within your state that would affect your COVID-19 policies and practices.

4. Consider stricter short-term measures if your business is in an area heavily impacted by COVID-19.

5. Consider switching to single-use products where possible — whether a nail-filing kit or disposable razors. Train your employees to communicate to each customer the decision to switch products and be sure to base the message around enhanced health and wellbeing measures.

6. Use the latest technology to your business’s advantage. Install software that enables touchless check-in and check-out services and mobile payment options.

7. Rethink your greeting and hospitality practices at your business. Instead of offering a handshake or a hug, welcome guests with a big smile and a friendly face (even though it’s behind your mask, people will still see it in your eyes and hear it in your voice).

Remember to approach your Post-COVID-19 strategy development with a willingness to adapt to changes in your clients, as well as your employees. Not everyone will be, or stay, on the same page regarding cleanliness and caution around the COVID-19 virus.

So, despite all the future unknowns, remember you are not alone. Businesses across the world face similar challenges in a Post-COVID-19 world. Businesses across industries feel the weight of uncertainty, so don’t allow that weight to consume you. Encourage a sense of control in your business by developing a proactive plan and calmly preparing for a changing consumer environment, and remember why you’re doing this in the first place — to serve.