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Fear of change and leaving one’s comfort zone can be enough to make anyone hesitant to take any sort of action, even if certain changes will benefit your business in the long term. Not knowing what to expect often causes fear in the best of us. If you’re considering implementing a new salon software program, having information readily available on such a change will help to minimize your apprehension.
Knowing what the new system will achieve for your salon will aid you in making the right choice. Jotting down a list of items that are important to you in a software product will be especially helpful. For example, do you want a total salon management system? Is a stable, easy-to-use program a priority to you and your staff? Do you want the ability to manage your business remotely as needed? When evaluating different software companies, it’s a good idea to have a list of wants and needs prepared beforehand.
Knowing what the new system will achieve for your salon will aid you in making the right choice.
Aside from a program’s features and functionality, there are many other things to consider prior to deciding to change your software program (or to implement one for the first time if you haven’t already done so). The time of year that you implement a new software system is key, as doing so during the heart of “busy season” may not be the best idea if you are already somewhat apprehensive about making a change. With that being said, fall is a perfect time of year to implement software!
Another factor to consider is the services provided by the software vendor – will you have a dedicated project manager who will oversee the process while following a detailed project plan? Is training on the system provided, and is the methodology based on your specific business model to ensure that configuration is accurate and that you will get the most from the program (or are you left to figure it all out on your own)? Are you currently using software? If so, will you require data conversion and does the vendor offer this service? These are important questions to ask up-front, as making an informed decision will help to minimize your adversity to change.
Once you’ve decided on a program, you will want to make sure that you are readily available throughout the entire installation process (or choose a member of your staff who has a solid comprehension of your business model that you can entrust with this responsibility). Having an understanding of the project scope and diligent planning in the initial implementation stages is key. As with anything in life, unforeseen problems will occur; the ability to work with an experienced project manager who can address a variety of potential issues will be valuable.
Your project manager will also provide guidance in the areas of the implementation where you might want to engage staff members. A pilot program is a vital component of any software implementation and can be a very efficient method of training your team on the use of a new program. Just as you might have been somewhat fearful of making a change, your staff might be too! If you keep them informed and provide them with a platform for becoming familiar with the system before it’s deployed into a live environment, they will surely be more receptive to the change. Most importantly, this will give you confidence that your staff exudes professionalism on “go live” day, to the point that they’re so cool and collected, your guests won’t even know you have a new system in place!
Melissa Damiani is the Sales Manager of SunLync Software, Inc. a member of the JK-North America group of companies. With the company since 2002, Melissa has served the organization in several capacities, and has extensive knowledge of all aspects required to deliver robust salon management software solutions that are designed to enable measurable growth within its users’ ever-evolving business models.
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