Finding a Consultant for Your Beauty Business
Do you need a consultant for your beauty business or beauty brand? From small salons to budding beauty brands all the way up to multi-national cosmetic corporations, every business needs a pair of outside eyes to pore over their operations from time to time.
Today we’ll talk about what a beauty business consultant can do, how to find one and what separates the good consultants from the… not-so-good consultants.
First, a quick intro: In case you don’t know me (Megan Cox), I’m an MIT and Sloan Business School-educated beauty business consultant with 5 years experience running my own online beauty business (starting with less than $2000 in my dorm room to an acquisition 5 years later), and now I run a cosmetics lab where I help countless beauty entrepreneurs launch, grow and scale their own beauty brands. Although a portion of my time is spent in the lab and on the phone with clients, I do offer complete turnkey consulting services for a variety of online and offline beauty businesses. Whether you want to talk about customer acquisition, retention, SEO or UI/UX, I’ve got you covered. Feel free to schedule a time with me if you want to chat about your beauty business.
Okay, yay, intros are done. Let’s hop in:
Topic 1: What can a beauty business consultant do for my business?
Although there are relatively few consultants that specialize in beauty businesses or beauty branding, but there are a few. Here are a few things a consultant can do for your business:
· Take a step back and look at your business as a whole (again, don’t underestimate the perspective that a pair of fresh (business educated) eyes can bring!
· Review your revenue/profit/expenses to analyze where you are losing money or could be making more money
· If you operate an online business: review copy, UX/UI, number of clicks/pages to checkout, data, analytics and more
· For online businesses: Set up data and analytics (if they’re not set up already)
· Offer best tips and tricks for patching up your sales funnel
· Give advice on compliance, liabilities and losses
In general, what a beauty business consultant is going to do is take a fresh look at everything, offer you some suggestions with (potential) outcomes, educate you, and give you some resources to take those next steps with your business. However, it is up to you to implement those next steps. Consultants generally do not implement the next steps for you.
Let me repeat: It is up to you to take the next steps with your business.
For the love of everything beauty, don’t waste your money paying for a consultant if you don’t plan to implement their suggestions.
Topic 2: How can I find a Consultant for my Beauty Business?
This can be tough. You want to make sure you’re talking to the correct person for what you need.
The beauty market is FULL of consultants, but most of them focus on only one topic: formulations, FDA compliance, manufacturing practices, insurance. Who do you turn to when you need a full beauty brand consultation?
I personally know some beauty entrepreneurs who have reached out to big brand founders with little success. While running a beauty brand full-time (along with their real and sometimes celebrity life), most of the Kat Von Ds, Charlotte Tilburrys and Josie Marans of the world are too busy to hand out advice – especially for free. Actually, I’m not sure if any hourly fee could make it worth it.
Even if you do receive a response, you’ll likely be talking to someone within their team that’s not an entrepreneur herself, has never been through it all, and has no idea about growing a brand from scratch. Although he/she may have been there through some of the stages of implementation, an employee will never know the true struggles or successes of a founder.
Again, finding the correct person to speak to for what you need is often the most difficult part. One strategy would be to write down the goals you’d like to accomplish for your business, then follow that up by writing out all the attributes, skills and experience someone who could solve those problems would have: MBA? PhD? 5 years experience in the industry? Past projects? Has worked with big name clients? Figure out what’s important to you.
Then, be realistic about what solutions or level of clarity they might be able to bring to the situation. (Remember: you are responsible for implementing whatever suggestions he/she gives.)
After you’ve identified what that person looks like and what his or her skills and work experience contain, you can begin searching. Look for articles (written by or about them), search LinkedIn, or even look through directories if you have to.
Verify their past experiences and background however you can. I can’t tell you how many “beauty consultants” I’ve seen on instagram with no prior experience –just a dream. Make sure that he/she has actually worked in the industry and has veritable clients. If you need to speak with past clients, a true professional would be happy to recommend you to previous clients or share a portfolio. If your prospective consultant is new to the industry or you would be their first client, they shouldn’t be afraid to say so. It may be more difficult for you to vet their work, but you could always ask for a “first client discount” or a similar arrangement that’s a win for both of you.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what skill set and experience the ideal consultant for your beauty business should have; nobody else can decide that for you. Make sure to do your planning and homework before proceeding with any consultant.
Topic 3: When is a good time to bring a beauty consultant into my business?
This is totally up to you, your brand and your budget. For some, it makes sense to hire a consultant before even starting, to review a business plan, tweak financial projections, or give feedback on a concept. For others, it makes sense to bring in a consultant prior to launch, to make sure everything looks and feels solid before opening your brand to the world.
Consultant fees range in price from tens to hundreds of dollars per hour, so this is a highly personal question and answer. The only answer I can really give is that there’s no wrong time to bring a consultant in to look at your business. You’d be amazed at what some fresh perspective and a solid sounding board can do for your business and yourself.
Takeways: Beauty Business Consulting
Beauty business consultants can cover a myriad of topics, from finance to workflow, cash flow to customer flow, aesthetics to UI/UX, formulations to FDA labeling. Not every consultant can do it all, so make sure you ask your prospective consultant what their scope of skills and work are before starting.
And again – never underestimate the power of a pair of fresh eyes!
Wishing you and your beauty brand the best –