The winds of change – the haunting strains of the Scorpions classic 1990 rock hit, was targeted in its meaning to the events of that day when the USSR was finally throwing in the towel. Those winds were blowing for many years and both the citizens of the USSR and its leaders knew full well that the economic and philosophical path of communism had finished it decay and was preceding its total collapse.
Those winds had been swirling for many years, and the presidium just did not want to read or heed the winds of change. Their constituencies were not taken in anymore by promises of their economic model of red leadership and theories.
Similarly, there are critical winds blowing across the horizon of the indoor tanning business. This is not the business of a generation ago when margins from big sign-up fees, ineffective and cheap POS management software, and hiring anybody with a heartbeat could suffice. Today’s tanning consumer wants more, and usually gets more by shopping any salon’s competition. Tanners want and will get from someone the “experience” they crave. Everyone has to face the fact that our industry has reached several peaks in its growth curve, certainly in total tans or visits or even unique tanners.
No longer are we seeing the double- digit growth rates of new tanners. My company, The Power Group, has more than 600 salons’ revenue numbers in our computers to use as tools to help each of our new clients know what the trends are in EFT sales and close rates, lotions sales per transaction, as well as sales of session packages. So, when I say that we are feeling the wind of change, we know it every time we look at the numbers and do our research. Some of the most stalwart indoor tanning operations got a real dose of wind reality this first six months of the 2014 business year with lower results in most categories. This is not to necessarily state that the business is now a zero-sum game and that no growth can happen. But any growth your salon realizes today is probably coming from the revenue of a competitor. Your large regional or national competitor knows this and is working hard to put independent salons out of business. Regardless of the size of your following of tanners, if you go belly-up, that would produce an attractive spike for their business.
The Scorpions sang about the winds of change and not only the downfall of the USSR, but also about the beginnings of new life for citizens of the Soviet bloc. In the same theme, I see an entire new generation of salon retailers who have been hearing the winds for some time and are gearing up to protect themselves from the encroachment of large corporate tanning chains. The wind is shouting for salon owners to make their changes and to make them now. Better staff management producing higher revenues, greater attention to marketing details and a huge embrace of social media will help them become the next generation of tanning success.
Embrace change. Don’t fight it. And, don’t ignore it.