The economy has taken a step back so we need to take two forward,” is the hairdressing philosophy of ROBERT CROMEANS, global artistic director for PAUL MITCHELL. Robert runs five salons across San Diego, Las Vegas and Tulsa and has implemented a variety of new strategies to deal with the current economic climate. Here is his advice for surviving the recession, as revealed at the Paul Mitchell Gathering 09. 1. YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE A ‘TA-DA’: Being mediocre is not good enough; you have to make a big deal out of everything you do in the salon. Think about the small things that can set your apart from your local opposition and, at the very least, make sure that you know every guest’s name to make them feel special. A surprise reveal can be a great way to really make an impact, so consider removing mirrors from the colour bar so that clients get the big wow factor when they see the finished look. 2. MAKE CHANGES FROM WITHIN: Forget about coming up with ideas and passing them down to the team. The best innovations are those that the team formulate themselves because they will believe in them and are more likely to follow them through. Get your team together and let them share their suggestions for growing the business – from creating a service menu to ideas for promotions, you might be surprised by what they come up with. 3. NEVER STOP LOOKING FOR NEW IDEAS: Keep an eye on the opposition as they might be developing new ideas that you can learn from, but look to businesses outside the hair industry too. Be it a special welcome greeting when you order room service in a hotel or a special offer on your receipt in the coffee shop, there are lots of businesses finding inventive ways to create the wow factor so don’t be afraid to adapt the best ideas you see. 4. HOST A ‘BOB’ DAY: After years of dismissing the idea of sales or service reductions, the current economic climate means it is time to re-think this strategy. A Beauty on a Budget (bob) day is the ideal way to get new clients through the door and help out those old clients who can no longer afford your services. To create a bob day, choose your quietest day of the week and create a drop-ins-only day where you offer clients 50% of the cost, but 100% of the experience. On this day, staff the salon with rising stars, who need to build confidence, as well as stylists that are looking to build their column. Once your staff have been introduced to the new clients, it is up to them to ensure they come back – either as walk-ins on a bob day or by booking an appointment at full price on in the future.