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Nash: We released the first public version in 2013. The idea was to build something extraordinarily simple to use, with only features requested by salon owners. Nothing more, nothing less. Since then, Tan-Link has been constantly refined based on hundreds of hours of direct, one-on-one feedback from salon owners, salon managers and most importantly, the salon staff.
Jeff: We introduced TanTrack in 1999. It blows my mind that we are nearing the 20-year mark! I can still remember the old days – so much has changed since then.
Jamie: SunLync made its debut into the industry in early 2002. Here we are, 15 years later, still servicing and enhancing our product!
Chad: By far, it’s Helios, and more specifically, Helios Enterprise point-of-sale software.
Jeff: We do sell other products, but TanTrack is absolutely our most popular software solution.
Jamie: Our point-of-sale software, SunLync. It’s a very robust piece of software that meets the needs of any salon, no matter the size!
Nash: Tan-Link – which consists of a full suite of salon management software – is our flagship product. It is customized for every individual client with only the features they care about and use regularly. Our focus is on automating anything and everything possible so that the salon owner can focus on running the business, rather than working around the quirks of the software. You can choose from add-ons ranging from staffing reminders, scheduling, payroll, credit card processing, staff training, marketing, customer outreach, website development/SEO, product ordering and social media presence. We even provide complimentary services such as EFT collections, and it is all powered by Tan-Link.
Jamie: Our SunLync product was created to give salon owners the ability to link their stores together by sharing a common database. Watching our customers grow from a handful of salons to dozens and even hundreds of salons has been incredible! Another key contribution has been the monthly membership processing. Fifteen years ago, that was a very manual process that could take a couple of weeks to get through. With today’s technology, the processing time is just hours, or even minutes in many cases.
Nash: During the peak period of the tanning industry, the technology really kept up with it. However, when the industry plateaued, the innovation stopped along with it. The one-size-fits-all approach was forcing salon owners to conform to the software available, instead of the software evolving to keep up with their changing needs. Tan-Link solves issues unique to every salon that may be holding it back from reaching its full potential, whether it’s a sales issue or a staffing issue. Focusing on quality versus quantity, we narrow our development only to features our customers find useful. Functionality that enhances the owner’s visibility into their business through an easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate interface with meaningful, and most importantly, actionable reports. These customized reports are delivered to a salon operator’s inbox daily – a scorecard for success.
Chad: In many ways, I think Helios has defined the way a huge percentage of salons in this industry run their day-to-day business and track daily activities. Our desire is to continue helping salons automate tasks and provide meaningful data so that they can make the right decisions, be more productive and grow their business. One way that many salons have taken advantage of automation has been using the New Sunshine Marketing Hub, enabling them to automate their messaging to customers based on POS data. This helps them stay engaged with customers and drive more business without tedious daily management.
Jeff: We have always been a leader in bringing new ideas to tanning software. Early on, we developed a process to easily take a salon operator from cards into software. This has been such a huge help to businesses making the transition.
Nash: As a multi-location salon owner myself, this is something I think about a lot – where will my business be in five, ten years? I firmly believe that a business that is run well, where the owner is really watching the numbers (cost and profitability), making adjustments as necessary, introducing the right mix of equipment and services, and leveraging all the tools and technology available, is going to survive any industry and any competitor.
Chad: I see an industry that will continue fighting and evolving to provide great services that people crave. In the past decade, we’ve seen very innovative owners implement creative and profitable ways to bring in new customers. That’s exciting, and I see more of that coming. We all have to be willing to step out and be bold and innovate within our current environment, utilizing the resources that we have to the best of our ability. I expect to see a group of owners and people supporting those owners to do that at an even greater pace, with (hopefully) much
Jeff: The industry has certainly changed since I joined nearly three decades ago. In the last 20 years with TanTrack on the market, I’ve watched the social media platform explode, the introduction of spray-tan machines – which are now so much better since the original versions came out – and numerous versions of Windows on the PC.
Jamie: Our customers are smart! They know that the key to being successful and staying viable is trusting in the abilities of their tools to increase inefficiencies while maintaining their ability to evolve based on customer needs. At SunLync, we follow this same practice. We continuously accept customer feedback to know exactly what their needs are at any given point in their journey.
Jeff: I have a few. For starters, get yourself out there on the internet. You must establish an internet presence – both a mobile-friendly website and social media pages. Make sure the website and all of your social media pages are linked to each other. As quickly as possible, start selling monthly packages – commonly referred to as EFTs in our industry. This is crucial to developing a strong revenue stream. There are still so many salons that do not have a consistent revenue stream!
Jamie: Today, we all rely so heavily on technology. But, it’s people who really make a difference in our business. All businesses face many trials, but it is the ones that have built good relationships with their customers, staff and business partners, that will have the best chance for success. Don’t be afraid of change. Our industry is forever evolving! Stay involved and engaged in the market.
Nash: Talk to other salon owners! I’ve learned a great deal about the business just by talking to others like myself and learning from their successes and failures. You’d be surprised how helpful people are in this industry! Watch your numbers – I cannot emphasize this enough. If you don’t know what’s broken, you cannot fix it. Don’t get lost in meaningless reports. Figure out your top 3-5 metrics, watch them closely, and watch them daily without fail. Technology is your friend. Rely heavily on it, and it will make things much easier to manage. Make minor adjustments until you see the desired results.
Chad: First, always be learning and willing to push past current boundaries. Don’t accept that past results will always predict future success, and
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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