For those working in the beauty industry, opening a salon of your own is perhaps the end goal after years of working under someone else. Owning a salon can be an intensely rewarding experience as you get to make all the decisions that go into it. And if done right, a successful salon is a steady and profitable business from which you can make a decent living.
But, whether it’s a lifelong dream or a financial investment, setting up and growing your own salon business is no easy task. Even with a wealth of salon skills at your disposal, you will have to familiarise yourself with business and people management, which can be overwhelming if you have minimal experience.
In this article, we’ll be discussing how to set up and grow a successful salon business, such as building a steady foundation and how to overcome the challenges you may face along the way.
Setting Up Your Salon Business
1. Start With a Salon Business Plan
Drafting a solid business plan is the first step when starting any business, as it provides you with clear objectives and outlines to follow. You can make the plan as long or short as it needs to be, so long as it’s comprehensive and suitable for your needs.
In general, your salon business plan should include:
- Your short-term (6 months) and long-term (5 years) goals.
- What you aim to achieve with your salon business.
- Analysing and identifying your target audience.
- An analysis of the existing salon market in your area (such as competition, size, and trends).
- Coming up with an identifiable brand for your salon.
- Strategies for initial advertising and outreach.
- Developing a financial plan (funding and costs).
With a business plan in place, you now have a roadmap for success that you can consult if you’re ever unsure about certain decisions. Just be mindful that your business plan should be as flexible as you are – especially if certain aspects of your project become unfeasible due to changes in the market or industry.
2. Choosing The Right Location
While it can be tempting to assume that having your salon both easily visible and accessible is a net benefit to your business, you must consider several factors such as your target clientele, what kind of services you offer, and your marketing model.
For example, if you’re poising your salon as an exclusive experience, you may want to choose a more secluded spot. On the other hand, if you’re looking to gain most of your clients from foot traffic, having a location with higher visibility is the better choice.
It would be best to consider the surrounding businesses around your chosen location and how they affect the foot traffic around you. From there, try to scout any competing salons in the area – even if you plan on sticking to your original business plan, it’s still good practice to be aware of the services your competition is offering and how much they’re charging clients.
The final thing you should account for is the size and cost of the property space in question. While an ample space can seem pricey at first, it’s a worthy investment if you plan on expanding your business in the near future. Likewise, if you’re settling for a more focused experience, opt for a space that is small yet comfortably affordable.
3. Hire The Right People
A dream team of consummate professionals providing excellent customer service is the goal of any salon. To do this, you have to look at applications, go through interviews, and make judgment calls on who to hire for your salon.
During the early stages of your salon business, try and start small and hire only a few staff members, as you don’t want to overinvest in staff and accidentally find your business in the red.
As a general hiring guide, you’ll first want to look at their qualifications and prior work experience to see if they can carry out the services your salon offers. Next, take note of their personality and how well they fit into your salon’s work culture. Finally, ask about their career goals to get a sense of their work ethic and future trajectory.
4. Develop a Solid Client Base
Building up a stable client base is essential for any spa business. So, in addition to providing positive client interactions and experiences to develop client retention, you will also need to step outside the spa and work on marketing and promoting your new salon.
You should already have some strategies for initial advertising and outreach from your salon business plan, but here are some additional ways to build your client base if you need further ideas:
- Offer opening promotions & discounts
- Offer a referral rewards programme
- Have loyalty incentives in place
- Accept walk-ins
- Promote yourself online
- Partner with local businesses
- Always look for re-booking opportunities
5. Carve a Niche For Yourself
A salon that does a little bit of everything is excellent for attracting a broad customer base, but if you want to draw a loyal following, you need to develop your niche in the market.
Developing a niche for your salon business is a process – it can range from your salon’s aesthetic, being a specialist in one of the services you offer, or simply having attentive staff that provide an excellent customer experience. Identify what is unique about your salon and make it a focal point of your salon’s identity, especially in marketing and advertising.
Once you’ve established yourself in your niche, it can act as a safety net for testing out new ventures or services and should provide you with a steady stream of customers who seek your expertise in a particular service.
Growing Your Salon Business
1. Improve Customer Retention
Returning clients have the potential to provide you with a steady source of income over the years, and you also have a better chance of upselling other products or services to them in the future. It is also far less resource-intensive to maintain an existing client than it is to acquire a new one.
Not every client that walks through your doors will be a repeat customer, so it’s important to maintain a close relationship with your existing clientele by providing them with excellent service and incentives (such as referrals and loyalty programmes).
2. Get Customer Feedback
While tracking key performance indexes (KPIs) with a business management software for wellness centres is a good way of analysing your spa performance from a business perspective, the best way to grow and improve your salon is by getting feedback straight from the clients themselves.
By leveraging on social media to set up short polls and feedback posts, requesting clients to fill out feedback forms, or simply asking them about their experience in person, you’ll be able to figure out what your customers enjoyed (or did not) about their salon experience and how best you can improve upon it.
3. Make Booking and Scheduling Easier
Not every client is going to make a walk-in or phone appointment. With an online booking system, you’re able to have a higher potential client conversion rate and ensure that you can drive bookings to your salon even during non-business hours.
For higher visibility, try incorporating your salon booking link directly into your social media and website, as any potential clients browsing through will know precisely where to go to make their booking.
Furthermore, automating the booking and scheduling process with online systems will significantly reduce any errors happening during the booking process, hopefully leading to higher quality services and happier clients.
4. Invest In Beauty Salon Management Software
It may not be the most glamorous part of opening a salon, but administrative and management work is essential for making your business run more effectively and efficiently.
Purchasing a beauty salon management software could be a worthy investment if you struggle with admin work. While having the software may not solve all your HR and admin headaches, it can significantly reduce the amount of work you have to put in on the business side of running your salon.
With beauty salon management software, you’re able to:
- Manage your client data with CRM tools
- Keep tabs on your staff performance (hours, schedules, and client feedback)
- Have integrated online appointment and scheduling solutions for clients and staff
- Implement easier payment management and online payment support
- Access detailed impact reporting on how well your salon is doing.
By using business management software, you’re not only streamlining how you run a salon, but also creating better client experiences by giving your spa a sense of professionalism that can be hard to find anywhere else.
The challenges of setting up and growing your salon business are wide and varied, and you will have to leverage all your business and people management skills to succeed. We hope this article has provided you with some insight on how to best manage your salon with the resources you have.