The Covid crisis may have made many people think twice about opening a salon. Forced closures meant that many salon owners were left without any source of income and no clue when they would be able to reopen again.
Despite a few difficult months for salons, the appetite for salon treatments has been strong since they have been able to reopen. There is clearly a significant amount of demand for salons and salon services, so could this be a lucrative venture for entrepreneurs?
The beauty industry was worth £28.4 billion in the UK in 2018, so there is clearly potential to be found here. If you’re thinking about opening your own salon, there are a few things you’ll need to think about. In this article, we will look at the essential steps any entrepreneur needs to take before they can open a salon business, starting with…
Understand the salon structure
Salons can be structured in many different ways. You can either control the entire brand and hire your own staff, take responsibility for their training, and decide how and when everyone works. Or you can control the premises and rent chairs to stylists and beauty therapists. This can be a great way to control your expenses, but it does mean handing over some of the control about how your salon is run.
For example, if you rent a chair to a stylist, you can’t decide when they work, and they will be responsible for their own bookings. Changing the structure further down the line could prove difficult, so you need to get this right from the start.
Create a business plan
Every business needs a business plan. A business plan forces you to think about the market, the competition and how you will present your services. It will also help you to determine if your business is viable and to set your pricing structure. Your business should include a SWOT analysis, and be sure to include the potential of further pandemic lockdowns in your planning. The Covid pandemic caught a lot of business owners off guard, so there is no excuse for neglecting this type of planning in the future.
Research the market
Every entrepreneur knows that they need to have a firm grasp on the local market before they can open up for business. Get to know other salons in the area and find out what their key offering is. If you want to know where their offering is lacking, look at the negative reviews of their salon. These will often be very revealing and can help you to avoid making the same mistakes.
Find a location
You have a business plan and you know the local beauty salon offering inside out. Now is the time to choose your location. A location with lots of footfall could help to increase walk-ins, but these locations will typically have higher rentals. Choosing a lower rent area that is a little bit out of the way could be great for your brand, but only if there are public transport and parking nearby. As a business that relies on being accessible, your location is everything.
Get the right tech
No salon could function without a salon management software package. The days of an appointment book are long gone, it’s time to upgrade your salon technology and make it easier for your customers to make a booking. With some top salon software out there, you could get set up with a fully mobile-friendly website, your own app, online booking and complete staff management system.
A good salon management software will also include marketing tools such as email capabilities. And finally, a text reminder function will allow you to reduce no-shows.
Define your brand
A good salon has a defined brand. What can you offer that no other salon offers? The brand should speak directly to your target audience and make them feel at ease. Your brand could be linked to the services you offer or it could be linked to the type of clientele you expect to serve. Not every salon has to project a high-end image. There is a need for affordable and accessible salon services that don’t allow anyone to feel excluded, so don’t be afraid to pitch at this level.
Hire a designer
Unless you have impeccable interior design skills, don’t attempt to manage this step on your own. Having a vision and a clear idea of the brand doesn’t always translate to successful interior design execution. Bringing in a professional will also allow you to benefit from a fresh pair of eyes on your business. They will be able to help you make the most of the space, create good energy flow and establish something that stands out in a customer’s memory. Creating something that looks good on social media also wouldn’t go amiss.