Starting up a salon can be a rewarding experience, but a daunting one if you’re new to the business niche. Here are 8 simple, clear steps on how to start your own salon business and follow your entrepreneurial goals.
Step 1: Draw up a clear, concise picture of what you want your business to look like
It is vital to have a crystal-clear picture of what you’re ultimately aiming for. As Stephen R. Covey says in his best seller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “always start with the end in mind.”
Some questions to ask yourself:
- “What services do I want my salon to offer?”
There are several different types of salons; for example: hairdressers’ and hairstylists’ shops, nail salons, beauty spas, make-over and make-up salons, etc. There is also a variety of services you can offer, such as acupuncture, reflexology, beauty product sales, etc.
- “What type of clientele do I want to reach out to?”
Define your market. Do you imagine your future customers as being elite and affluent? Or a lesser-served broader community? Are you aiming towards a certain niche, such as seniors, children, or bridal parties?
- “In what way do I want my salon to stand out above the rest?”
Of course, you aim for excellence in all areas. But if your salon stands out for one particular thing above all, it will be more easily remembered by your customers. Do you want your customers to remember your salon as the one with the fantastic hair-do’s? The incredibly welcoming and friendly customer service? The refreshingly relaxing atmosphere? Create a vision of what you want your business to be remembered by.
Step 2: Identify your financial means
The cost of starting up your own salon can vary from anything between $2,000 to $30,000, depending on your vision, your goals, and your clientele. Of course, there is a world of difference between purchasing a few pieces of equipment and setting yourself up in a spare room in your home (be aware of local zoning restrictions, however), and renting a space in a shopping mall for a full-blown business.
Assuming that you aim to start a proper shop-front salon business, you may need to look into small business loans to get your feet off the ground.
Step 3: Write up a business plan
A business plan is a concrete, ink-on-paper strategy about where you want your business to go, the identifiable means that you have to get there, and how you’re going to use those means. It breaks up your goals into doable steps, timeframes, and outcomes.
The main parts of a business plan are:
- Your main goal, or how you want your future business to look in a specific timeframe
For example, by such-and-such a date, you want to be successful by such-and-such measurable criteria (such as a specific amount of income, or a specific number of clients).
- Your means and tools for reaching your goal
This includes your money, your time, and your efforts, and even your own talents and those of your personnel. It includes marketing strategies that are at your fingertips, such as social media, and marketing strategies that you could implement in the future, such as paid advertisements, banners, and a website.
- Link your goals with your means.
Brainstorm as to how can you use your means to reach your goals.
- Outline the steps for using your means to reach your goals.
These should be stated as required actions, such as: “By such-and-such a date, so-and-so will complete this specific action.”
- Naturally, a business plan involves an honest look at finances.
Use pie charts or graphs to study what money you have, how it could grow, how you want it to grow, how you want to put it back into your business, and why. If you are new to business finances, it may be a good idea to hire an advisor at this point.
Step 4: Learn about and comply with local business regulations
Look into what is necessary to acquire the proper business licenses and permits. Local government websites are usually a good place to start. Also, a business advisor can help you sort through all the red tape and forms.
Step 5: Choose your salon location
The location of your business will have a lot to do with your results: the type of clientele you attract and the type of money you end up making. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when searching for the right location for your salon:
- Make sure that your customers have sufficient parking space and that the building is easily visual and accessible from the near-by roads.
- Most small business salons require between 1,000 to 2,000 square feet of space.
- Buying or renting a location that has already been used by a previous salon has its pros and cons. Pros are: the plumbing, electricity, stations, reception and waiting areas, etc. may already be in place. Cons can be that a potentially poor reputation of the previous salon may carry over. Check out the reasons why the previous salon is moving or shutting down and make sure they won’t affect your own success.
- Your location will need four separate areas: reception, shampooing, service, and storage / employee area. Devote about 50% of the shop to service, 20% to reception and product sales, 10% to shampooing, and 20% to storage and employee lunch / break / meeting room / facilities.
Step 6: Purchase the salon furniture and tools of the trade.
What you buy will depend on the type of services you plan to offer. How much you buy will depend on the size of your building.
Break down your building into the four separate areas mentioned above and identify what you will need for each.
- Reception and retail: you will need a welcoming desk, office equipment, waiting area chairs, and any products that you want to sell.
- Shampooing: you will need a shampoo unit.
- Services: you will need full equipment for service stations. If you are offering spa services, you will need beauty beds, massage tables, etc.
- Storage / Employee Area: you will need basic furnishings such as tables, chairs, office supplies, etc.
Step 7: Hire the right personnel for your salon.
The various roles of salon personnel are:
- Owner (you)
- Hairstylists / Cosmetologists
- Massage Therapist
Remember that some localities require that a person be certified before performing certain functions, such as massage therapy or hair removal services.
Step 8: Advertise, advertise, advertise
Let the world know you’re out there.
Social media provides an affordable but very effective method of getting your brand out to the public. Make the most of Facebook, Snapshot, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr to reach your target market.
Having your own website nowadays is practically a “must”. Imagine if you could give your business card to absolutely anyone who was looking for your particular service. That is effectively what having a website is like.
Word-of-mouth is the oldest, but still remains the most effective way of growing your brand-name. Have loyalty programs, sharing programs, rewards programs, etc. to encourage your customers to bring in their friends and family.
Want to take a deeper dive into creating a business plan for your salon? Check out our eGuide, How to Create a Salon Business Plan.
About the Author
Sarah is the Marketing Manager of Salon Supply Australia, a salon furniture and supplies business catering to hairdressers, beauty salons, barbershops and wholesalers.More Content by Sarah Marshall