How to Open a Successful Hair Salon

The beauty industry is booming. According to one recent report, the beauty industry is set to be the fastest growing industry over the next four years. Never has there been a better time to think about opening a hair salon. It isn’t only women who are interested in taking care of their appearance, men are starting to jump on the bandwagon. The rise of barbers offering boutique services such as hot towel shaves and beard maintenance only goes to bolster this point.

If you’re thinking about opening a hair salon and are dreaming of overnight success, it’s important to remember that it takes hard work and dedication to establish your salon. Gaining a cult following within your target demographic won’t happen overnight, but if you follow these steps, you can be sure you’ll be on the right track.

Decide on Your Business Model

Most salons operate on one of two business models. You either hire your staff and pay them a salary plus commission or you rent out chairs in your salon to freelancers and they pay you a portion of their takings. It’s important to choose which method works best for you at the beginning and then stick to it. Changing your set up once you are established could mean that you lose your best stylists.

Cutting hair is also something that can be done informally, with many stylists cutting hair as part of running a small business from home. Depending on your level of experience and number of expected customers, you can still go through the motions of branding, getting a website and having the right insurance.

Establish Your USP

Understanding what makes a salon unique is essential to success. Will you be high-end, will you be quirky and off-kilter? Decide on what will make your salon unique, even if it’s something as simple as offering organic and environmentally friendly products. When you know what your USP is, you will know how to position yourself and how to market yourself.

Your USP will help you to identify your ideal target customers. While you might rely on walk-ins during your first few months of operations, over time, you will need to shift your focus to active marketing campaigns. Knowing your USP will help you to target the right people on social media and help you to craft a message that speaks directly to that audience.

Choose Your Location Wisely

When starting your salon business, location is everything. Many new salon owners start their careers are mobile hairdressers and eventually decide it’s time to open their own salon. If you did this, would your existing clients follow you? In order to answer this, you need to have a think about location and what it means you to your biggest fans.

If you are moving into an already saturated area, do you have enough of a unique offering to stand out? And if you are cornering a new geographical area, do you have enough potential customers to make it a success? Don’t rush the location process as this will inevitably make or break your salon.

Take Control of Your Finances

Opening a salon can be incredibly costly if you don’t keep a close eye on your finances. Using professional salon software from day one will help you to understand your cash position and forecast where you can expect to be in 6 months, a year and beyond. Working with a financial advisor can also help you to understand your tax position and how you could save money in creative ways.

Be obsessive about your cash position and don’t spring for anything you don’t truly need in your first year of operations. For example, your chosen site might have enough space for five stylists, but if you only plan to have three working for you in the first 12 months, wait to install the extra chairs. And if you don’t have anyone lined up to offer spa treatments, don’t worry about fitting out the treatment rooms yet.

Train Your Team From Day One

If you want your entire team to be on the same page, you need to make sure you effectively communicate your vision. Offering team training from the first day will help you to establish the ethos and USP of your salon much faster. For example, there should be processes in place for handling everything from social media complaints to phone enquiries. Don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to the outward image of your company. In the first year of business, your customer’s impressions of your company will be everything.