The beauty industry is currently soaring, so there is no better time to think about putting your hairstyling skills to work. If you have a flair for hair and the desire to run your own business, opening your own salon offers a unique challenge. Before you rush into signing the lease on your premises, consider the following important steps.
Write a business plan
Writing a business plan might seem like an unnecessary step, but it can help to bring focus to your business. Creating a business plan will not only help you if you need to find investors, but it can also help to keep you on track.
If you ever lose sight of what you are trying to achieve, you can refer back to your business plan and all will become clear again. Your business plan should include things like your unique offering, an overview of local competitors, a cash flow forecast and how you plan to grow and expand.
Even if you don’t have lofty ambitions to open multiple sites, you should think about how you can expand your business once you have reached full booking capacity. This could include things like hiring more staff or expanding your merchandise line. You could also go down the training route and offer courses in hairdressing.
Research local laws and regulations
Check with your local council to find out what rules you will need to follow for things like health and safety and taking care of your employees. The rules may differ by area, so don’t rely on advice from online blogs. You may be looking at rules and regulations from another country which aren’t relevant to you.
Choose your niche
The number one way you can guarantee success in your salon is to define your niche. Your niche is the thing that you do better than anyone else. If you are too general in your services, then you will struggle to build brand loyalty. By picking your niche, you can quickly become the go-to person for that particular service. For example, you might be skilled with hair extensions, bright and bold colours, or offer a family-friendly service. When you choose your niche, you’ll make your services more profitable.
Talk to suppliers
This is about more than just the hair products you will stock. You also need to think about software providers such as Salon Iris salon software. Suppliers may be able to offer you a deal in exchange for visibility online or in your salon. They might also be able to offer a free trial period, or samples to get you started. Don’t assume that you will have to pay for everything straight away. By approaching suppliers with your business plan, you might be able to get some freebies to get you up and running.
Pick the right location
Your business will thrive or fail based on the location alone. A busy city-centre location will be expensive to maintain and you might struggle to compete with all of the other established salons in the area. While a remote and off the beaten track location will lack the foot traffic that can help to drive more customers to your salon. You may also need to think about parking or public transport links. Take the time to choose the correct location for your salon. Rushing this stage could leave you with a long lease on-premises that actually hurt your business.
Build an audience
You don’t have to wait until you have your premises to start making a name for yourself. Going mobile can be an excellent way to get your name out there and start building a portfolio. You can get set up with little more than a Facebook page and start offering your services in people’s homes. This can also be a great way to try out products from suppliers. Once you are ready to launch your salon, you will already have an engaged audience of fans.
Hire an interior designer
Leaving the interior design of your salon to chance is not a great idea. Even if you think you’re skilled in this area, it’s usually better to leave this to the professionals. An experienced interior designer will help you to make the most of your space and ensure you only take on the square footage that you need. They can also help you to define the look of your salon, making it a welcoming and inviting space that people will want to spend time in.
Train your team
In the early days of planning your business, you will need to choose your salon business model. You can either hire and train your own staff, or you can rent out chairs in your salon to established stylists. There are positives and negatives to both. If you choose to hire and train your own team, remember that it’s about more than just the technical skills. They will also need to be trained to use your salon software and to interact with your customers. It’s important to get these things right from the beginning so that your business appears more professional.
Create a marketing plan
If you choose to go mobile before you open a salon, this can create a strong foundation for your marketing plan. But where will your plans take you next? How will you drive more customers through the doors during the quiet months? And how will you manage demand during peak trading periods? A marketing plan that outlines promotions for an entire year ahead will give you some reassurance that you will be able to manage the peaks and troughs in demand.
Set your prices
As part of your competitor research, you will have to look at what other companies in the area are charging for similar services. If you want to set yourself apart as a high-end salon, you can increase your prices, but you need to make it clear to customers what they are getting for the higher price. For example, you might offer premium hair care products or highly skilled staff. Beware of falling into the trap of setting your prices too high and then always running a promotion. It’s far easier to set your prices at the market level and then increase them as your skills and experience improve.