Every business owner knows a little about Microsoft Excel. It's the spreadsheet program that most of them use to keep track of the numbers their business generates. But that's far from all it can be, especially if you're in the beauty industry.
Here are nine things that a salon can do with Excel; some are common to any business, but a few are unique and apply directly to the beauty business in some exciting ways.
The most common use of Excel worldwide. Record expenses and income, find what you do that generates most of your revenue and what you pay for that costs the most. Using Excel to track financials is the beginning of any effort to improve those numbers and grow your bottom line.
Beauty salons go through a lot of different products and tools at differing rates. Tracking your inventory through Excel not only allows you to see when something needs to be ordered, but can project future orders and thus allow you to budget for larger orders ahead of time.
When it comes to keeping track of trends, Excel is limited only by your imagination and how long you're willing to spend putting data in. At the minimum, you can put in your customers and income over a year and get a general overview -- but you can get much deeper and put in details like a specific day's weather patterns, whether or not a relevant event was happening in town, and who was working that day. The results can tell you quite a bit about how to accurately anticipate business.
It might not use the advanced mathematical ability of Excel, but the basic ability to manipulate colored cells representing 15-minute blocks of time makes Excel an easy and effective way to make sure that you have all the employees you need during every phase of your day.
Keeping records of your client's procedures allows you to easily call up a given clients' favorites when they walk through the door -- and doing it in Excel means you can also sort by client, procedure, or product in order to see what is the most popular business-wide.
Every business has things that have to get done in a particular order before they can open for business and before they can go home at night. By creating a simple Excel spreadsheet that lists those tasks, you can create a printable chart that can be checked or crossed off at each open and close to make sure that everything gets done perfectly every time.
Excel can easily keep track not only of how much hourly pay your workers are earning, but the tips that are being generated by each worker as well. If you have a policy that involves tip-sharing, or you just want to know who the customers appreciate the most, having that data at your fingertips is extremely useful.
Akin to using Excel for scheduling, using it to keep track of upcoming appointments and (perhaps more importantly) the duration of those appointments as they happen can give you a leg up on your competition. By seeing not only when a customer came in, but how long they spent there for a particular procedure, you can better estimate in the future how much business you can handle -- and who might need to work a little more quickly.
It takes a while to set up, but making an Excel file that has all of your products and the ingredients in them can allow you to provide a unique and wonderful service to your clients: suggesting products that can accommodate specific needs. For example, if you have a customer that's allergic to oranges, you can Sort By orange oil to give your customer an immediate list of products in your store that he should avoid. That's the kind of thing that makes a strong enough impression that your client will tell his friends. Excel is an incredible tool for the basics like tracking financials and forecasting business trends -- but if that's all you're using it for, you're losing out. With a little creativity and a little bit of looking under the hood, Excel can benefit your business in startling and wonderful ways.