This article contains powerful secrets that can be used to launch a successful hair salon or establish a chain of profitable hair salons.
Really advanced concepts.
A hair salon is a business born of creativity and passion, but there’s a mistake that’s often made when hair salons are opened – they are not treated as legitimate businesses, which, no matter how you look at it, is a recipe for failure.
When you start a hair salon, it’s a legitimate business.
That’s the first thing to remember.
Yes, it’s a place where your imagination can run wild and things are open to interpretation, but it’s still a business.
As with any business out there, to start and run a successful hair or beauty salon, there are guidelines and practices that need to be put into place.
This can all be achieved with sufficient planning, goal-setting, a keen focus on customer experience, and logical thinking.
Table of Contents
- 1 Let’s Start with a Salon Business Plan
- 2 Interior Design and Space Planning for your Salon
- 3 Salon Furniture and Equipment
- 4 Why Do You Need Software to Run Your Salon?
- 5 The Best Salon Software Programs
- 6 Developing a Brilliant Marketing Plan That Yields Results
- 7 How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Salon
- 8 Turn People into Customers
- 9 Building the Best Website for Your Salon
- 10 Web Design: What are Your Options?
- 11 Let’s Talk About Your Product: Salon Services
- 12 Thinking Out-of-the-Box When It Comes to Your Salon
- 13 Some Salon Business Trends to Get Behind
- 14 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Own Salon
- 15 Final Thoughts
Let’s Start with a Salon Business Plan
Why do you need a business plan for your hair salon?
Let’s start with the ‘why.’
Whether your business is being fully funded or not, you still need a business plan for your salon. A business plan is so much more than just a sales pitch to secure the funding you need.
It’s an excellent way to iron out all the creases and doubts you may have. It will help you determine exactly how your business needs to be structured – and how to actually structure your business.
It’s also a good tool to measure your progress, to guide your actions, and to see where you are succeeding or failing.
The business plan will also assist you when you need to employ people and pitch for more funding further down the line. Consider the business plan to be your blueprint for creating a successful hair salon.
Drawing up a business plan will force to you take a view of things that nothing else can – it will help you look at the bigger picture (your business strategy) and the future – right from the very start.
People often say, “I wish I’d known that when I started,” or “I wish someone had given me that info when I was starting out.”
Well, here’s your opportunity to do that for yourself.
The simple act of sitting down and writing out everything from start to finish will force you to think about the following all once:
- Strategic planning and financial goals
- Hiring plans, employee benefits, and salon policies
- Growth milestones
- Operations management
- Customer experience
It will also help you to measure your goals against certain practices, so that you can refine your practices to reach your goals faster or with more efficiency.
Once you start seeing your business plan less as a boring prerequisite, and more as a strategic blueprint, you’ll want to keep it on hand at all times.
How do you draw up the perfect business plan for your salon?
It will probably seem daunting at first, but the only way to start drawing up your business plan is to start.
Let’s start with a simple list of questions that will help form your plan:
- What is the purpose of opening my own hair salon?
- What are the opportunities for success?
- What are the greatest risks that I’ll face?
- What advantages are there to benefit from and how can I maximize these benefits?
- What disadvantages should I prepare myself for and be willing to accept?
- What size do I want my salon to be?
- How many staff can I gainfully employ and grow with?
- Who is my target market? What kind of clients would I like to attract and why?
- What kind of customer experience do I want to provide my clients?
- What is my greatest area of expertise and can I build my salon around?
- Does my salon have a concept, and do I have ideas about implementing the concept?
- How much startup money do I need until I can open my salon doors?
- Realistically, what will my monthly operating costs be and how much revenue will cover these costs?
Take your time in answering these questions. Carefully consider your answers and be honest with yourself, even if it makes your challenge seem greater. The most realistic outlook will benefit you the most.
Now, let’s write the business plan for your salon
1. Write a Synopsis (or a Summary) of Your Salon.
Important things to include here are the name of the company (e.g., Curl Centric), assuming you’ve decided on a company name. Plus you should include your address, phone number, email address and how your business will be structured (LLC, Sole proprietorship, Corporation, Partnership, etc.).
In this synopsis, it’s also important to state the purpose of your company – in this case, a salon – and if possible, your philosophy, vision, and mission.
2. Describe Your Products and Services.
What is it that you plan to offer your clients? How will your store, in particular, create a customer experience that stands out against your competitors?
Write down your approach to things like how long your customers will need to wait and how you can mitigate any unnecessary waiting time. Talk about your plan to move your salon towards being an upmarket establishment – will you offer reservations only? Will you have a sliding scale of offerings, from private consultations to walk-ins?
3. Discuss What Will Make Your Salon Different.
Will you sell unique products, offer one-of-a-kind services, or bring on extra services – like make-up, tattooing, and manicures in addition to hairstyling?
4. Explain Your Marketing Plan.
How much capital you’re going to need to make this plan effective? Describe who you’re going to partner with to launch your salon with successful public relations and communications, and share their background and campaign wins.
If you’re planning to run your salon’s marketing yourself, draw up a well-rounded plan with media purchases and spend based on goals.
For example, if you want to attract mass clients, you might want to look at doing that with a radio commercial or a local podcast. Or if you’re set on a smaller, more upmarket clientele, take a more niche approach – like incentivized word-of-mouth.
5. Draw Up a Financial Summary.
If you want to secure funding, you will need to share projected finances for at least the first three to four years. Again, be brutally honest about expenses incurred and future expenses. The more realistic you are, the more helpful your investors can be.
6. Write About Yourself and Your Experience.
What are your professional qualifications and what type of experience have you had? Some hairstylists have grown large audiences by starting a beauty blog leading to a high demand beauty salon.
Taking all of the above points into consideration, draw up a concise, informative summary of your business plan. Think of it as a features list and always keep it on hand.
Interior Design and Space Planning for your Salon
Space planning is a serious job because you need to make sure you get the most out of the space you choose. It starts with creating a great first impression, to having salon space that your clients enjoy visiting time after time, and to having space you and your staff absolutely love to work in.
A first impression can mean the difference between a one-time client and a loyal, long-term client. You get one chance to make the latter happen, so make sure you give it your best effort. Here are some things to consider that could bring you closer to your perfect salon layout and interior.
Create an inviting and comfortable salon entrance.
Start with a reception desk that makes a statement. You want to impress your clients, but you also want to create intrigue in passers-by who could become potential new clients.
You want people entering your salon to know exactly where to go to make appointments or check-in for a treatment. This is a greeting space, so you’ll want to make sure it’s tidy at all times.
Let clients know that you are well-organized and respect their privacy by keeping their information safely filed away instead of lying on the countertop.
Create space between the waiting area near the salon’s entrance and the styling area.
It is best practice to keep these two spaces separate, if possible. People being styled may want their privacy, and potential customers requesting beauty treatments may not want people in the salon to know what they are looking to have done.
In other words, separating the spaces provides a level of discretion that many people will appreciate.
Designing the waiting area.
Now, it’s time to consider what you can do to help clients waiting for treatments remain as comfortable as possible.
Providing magazines with popular hairstyles, and stylish coffee table books are a good start, as they will keep clients entertained and make the waiting time seem shorter.
It is obvious that the seating in the waiting area should be both comfortable and stylish. If you plan to stock a variety of styling and beauty products, the entrance is the best place to display them, as they will then be closest to the point of sale.
Implement an intelligent floor plan.
Your floor plan has to do one major thing: It has to WORK! A salon is a space where a lot of movement takes place, so your floor plan is a serious priority.
Here are some key considerations:
- A reception desk is always best placed at your salon’s entrance – this is where clients and potential clients will be met and taken care of from a customer onboarding perspective.
- If you’re creating a hair-based salon, carefully plan the location of your hair washing area. Not only does this space require specific plumbing, but privacy is necessary for clients to feel completely relaxed during hair washes and massages.
- Keep the plumbing and pipes as hidden as possible – so as not to ruin the aesthetic feel you are trying to create for your salon.
- No matter what kind of salon you are planning – hair or beauty – always make sure you make space for private treatment rooms. This will allow you to attract high-end clientele.
- Try to draw up your floor plan with every piece of furniture you need in mind. The last thing you want is a cramped, overcrowded space where free movement is impossible.
- Make your window space into a salon feature. For example, if your salon space has a large feature window, here are some things to consider:
- A large window, with the right window dressing, can be a great salon feature – especially for attracting new clients. Use it to display products you’re selling.
- A large window is a unique branding opportunity. It could hold your logo and a short description of your top services.
- If suitable, use it as a space for makeup or nail treatments – things that are intriguing to watch from the outside.
Will your salon space work for your employees?
Your employees are the most important part of your business, so make sure that they will be able to work at maximum capacity without bumping into one another. Also, ensure that the lighting in the salon is ideal for their purposes and that the carts and furniture they need to perform tasks are all considered.
What about a wet room?
Another important factor to consider when deciding which services you are going to offer is that some services could require a wet room. Things such as body masks and exfoliation treatments require rinsing afterward. Make sure you plan for a wet room if you want to expand your service offering further down the line.
An important checklist and some sound advice:
- Regardless of the services offered at your salon, you’ll need running water. So, have your salon’s water pressure tested sooner rather than later.
- If you’re planning to wall-mount equipment like hair dryers, you might want to check the integrity of your walls. Concrete and brick walls are ideal – dry walls are not.
- Your floor surface is going to affect the noise levels in your salon. With so much already going on in a salon, how much more noise are you willing to add to the mix? Also, will the existing floor surface allow you to access under-floor utilities? Make sure you research this carefully.
- If you’re planning on running a big salon, you may want to think about an island-like structure where you can fit more chairs comfortably.
- Ensure that all of your electrics and appliances are legal and comply with basic electrical regulations.
- Choose upholstery colors that will hide and survive many stains – because stains happen in salons.
- If you have the budget available, you should hire a salon interior designer.
Salon Furniture and Equipment
Choosing the right furniture for your beauty salon business is as important a part of your service offering as the services themselves. Treatments are requested by clients in order for them to feel satisfied and comfortable with themselves.
In light of this, why wouldn’t they want to feel as comfortable as possible while undergoing them?
You’d be surprised at the difference a luxurious seat can make to someone’s treatment and day. Yes, you could very well have return customers just because your chairs are the best!
And it doesn’t stop at chairs – this applies to all furniture and facilities.
Things to Remember
- If you’re planning on starting a premium hair salon, you’re more than likely going to offer the most advanced and modern treatments. This requires equipment and furniture that supports the treatments – you can’t offer a modern treatment with outdated equipment. Plus, having the most modern furniture and equipment opens the doors for many new service offerings to your clients.
- Plan for equipment and furniture for a variety of services – hair, skin, and nails.
- Remember that every treatment you offer needs a minimum level of equipment, but that you need to go minimum requirements if you’re starting a luxury hair salon.
- Equipment is expensive! You can often mitigate some of the cost by buying directly from manufacturers or negotiating bulk purchase deals.
- Only buy from suppliers that sell salon equipment with a warranty.
- Take your time in figuring out exactly what you need to buy for your purposes – ask suppliers to help you understand what you need based on planned services.
Furniture Selection Guide
As mentioned before, ambiance and comfort are a big seller in salons, and you should that consider these can help you to build a loyal following. Beauty services are a client’s investment in themselves, and it’s up to you to make them feel confident in choosing to use you for that investment. Here’s a quick guide to selecting furniture that creates a comfortable feeling.
- Choose furniture that’s stylish and pleasing to the eye – this soothes the mind and creates an air of appreciation. Also, make sure that it complements your chosen salon décor and color scheme.
- As mentioned above, comfort is a vital part of the salon experience for your client. However, don’t forget to factor in the importance of performance.
- Be sure to do a beautiful, functional piece of furniture justice by ensuring that it will fit in the space you have chosen for it in your salon.
- Do your very best to stick to your budget. With so many suppliers out there, it’s totally possible if you shop around and weigh your options.
We’ve spoken a lot about style and design, but let’s talk about how important comfort and safety are when it comes to the chair your clients are going to be sitting in. The last thing you’d want is a client struggling to keep balance in an unstable chair or wriggling around in discomfort for the entirety of their treatment.
So, what type of salon chairs do you want?
What exactly is it that you need to look for?
Buying new salon chairs means that there will be no wear and tear when you open your salon to the public. New chairs will also still have their full manufacturers warranties in place. It’s a very good reason to spend a little bit extra.
If you want solid chairs that can carry the weight and frame of any client. Choose a hydraulic chair that can be easily adjusted for any height. Make sure that your chairs have footrests – dangling feet are uncomfortable feet.
Choose chairs with chrome metal fixtures. It looks good, and also hides wear and tear very well. Your two best options for the cushions of seats are genuine leather or high-quality vinyl that mimics leather’s appearance. Leather chairs are a bit more difficult to care for, but quality vinyl usually only needs to be wiped down.
Always ensure the seat cushions and armrests of your chairs are thickly padded for extra comfort.
Buying Salon Furniture and Equipment Online vs. Visiting a Brick-and-Mortar Shop
Making purchases online can seem like a great time saver. Plus, there are often great deals to be found online, especially when it comes to furniture and equipment for salons.
However, there are a few downsides to consider if you’re making this investment.
First of all, ask about equipment guarantees and product service plans. An online middleman has less of a reputation to lose than the owner of an actual store, so they are less likely to honor their promises.
Because of the point made above, ensure you get everything in writing – from your sales agreement to invoices.
If anything goes wrong, you’ll have a solid paper trail that could save your salon plenty of money.
Make sure that your quote includes delivery and installation costs, as well as storage fees, if necessary.
Some suppliers offer a salon planning and design service with a fee that’s refundable if you make a purchase. It’s a good idea to take advantage of these deals, as they may very well have an idea you really love!
Why Do You Need Software to Run Your Salon?
No matter how “on-the-ball” you are, you can only do so many things at once.
It’s important to consider automating as many salon management functions as you can, without losing the human element or negatively impacting the customer experience. This is achievable with the right software for your salon.
Here’s a summary of what the right software will help your salon achieve:
A good level of organization
A good software system will help you to optimize your appointment scheduling process by making it easy to stay on top of your bookings. A paper-based diary is preferable to some, but too much can go wrong if something is accidentally forgotten or crossed out.
Appointment scheduling software will also easily sum up how many appointments each staff member should be booking each day, and whether or not you have too many or too little staff members to service your current client base.
Increase client accountability
Good software will allow tools to integrate to perform functions such as sending automated SMS (text messages) to clients, reminding them of their appointments. The same can be done with email, and this also provides clients with the opportunity to cancel in time, so that their slots can be filled with other clients. This capability provides a great customer experience, but also provides operational cost savings by mitigating appointment no-shows.
Take bookings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Because you and your staff cannot be manning the phones, email, and social media accounts at all hours, salon software generally comes with booking widgets that allow clients to book online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Not only does this streamline the booking process, making it convenient for potential clients to book, but it also frees up your staff to use their time more effectively. Automation also instantly adds booking to the calendar. Another popular option is to build a WordPress blog to organically spread the word about your salon locally and accept bookings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Do your own marketing and keep your own profits
Marketing costs money! There’s no doubt about it. But there are ways to go about it that will also ensure savings on what could potentially be a huge expense.
Having a salon means you’ll often be tempted to team up with deal sites to increase customer foot traffic. However, deal sites, like Groupon, take a percentage of the profits you make on every sale.
With the right software, you should be able to do some of your own marketing and promotion. Many of these tools have built-in email marketing capabilities and social media account integration, meaning you’ll have a direct link to your target market.
Financial calculation and control
Most salon management software is designed to help you get on top and stay on top of your finances with a built-in calculator. This means calculations are done for you and supplied in the form of easy-to-read management reports.
The Best Salon Software Programs
We recommend that new beauty salons start with shedul.com. Shedul.com is widely considered one of the world’s best salon and spa booking software programs. A big selling point and a rare one is that this software is completely free.
Unlike most other salon software companies that offer a 14-day free trial, and then tier their offering according to how much you’re willing to pay, Shedul.com can save your salon some serious cash.
Favorite features include automated and customized SMS reminders, an online appointments book, and a real-time online booking tool, and a built-in Point of Sale tool. It’s no coincidence that there are over 40,000 businesses, 150,000 stylists and therapists using Shedul booking software in more than 120 countries.
Other Recommended Salon Software Programs
This handy software is known for giving you 24-hour remote access from any Internet-enabled device, allowing you to have uninhibited control over your business from anywhere. Top features include detailed customer records and appointment history, SMS reminders and communication, an intuitive and easy-to-use appointments book, real-time statistics and reports, and a real-time online booking tool.
The developers at Versum are constantly updating the software, so you can look forward to non-stop improvements and new features. There’s a free 14-day trial available.
Acuity’s approach to running a salon is quite refreshing. This sleek, edgy software is the perfect combination of simplicity (in use) and sophistication (in result). It allows you to brand and customize automated bookings, automatically send client reminders, and you can even request advance payments.
My wife, Kira, actually highly recommends Acuity Scheduling. This platform is big on customization – so that you can customize the look and feel of your business. It also allows clients to book their own appointments, based on salon and stylist availability.
MioSalon is a salon management software that operates online. Like other software programs, it offers automated management services such as appointments, an online booking form, and inventory management.
However, it also has a few other tricks up its sleeve – such as an email marketing tool that’s integrated with MailChimp, and a really great customer feedback system that works in real-time from a salon or via SMS (this stops (or mitigates) complaints in their tracks before they leak to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
Developing a Brilliant Marketing Plan That Yields Results
Imagine if you had spent months or even years planning to open your own hair salon.
You’ve drawn up business plans, secured investors and worked out financial funding with your local bank.
You’ve painstakingly crafted your logo and created a sound business philosophy. You’ve hired staff and set incentives for them.
You’ve formed partnerships with suppliers, and even launched the salon with a lavish opening-day party and invited the who’s who of the hair and beauty world.
Imagine you’d done all this work, only for your salon to remain empty and quiet.
This would be because the work you put in was, in fact, only half of the work required to make your new salon succeed in its own right.
“Well, what’s the other half of the work that needs to be done?” you might ask.
The answer is simple:
You need to market your salon and its services. You cannot expect people to know you exist if you’ve made no effort to tell them.
How to Create a Marketing Plan for Your Salon
If you’re in the beauty industry, you already know that marketing your salon against competitors is tough work.
This is why you need to take the approach of marketing vigorously both on and offline. Here is a simple step-by-step outline of how to create marketing materials for your salon and promote them effectively.
Make sure your customers can find you
Before you do anything else, spend some time making sure your customers can find your salon.
Build a website: If a potential client is using basic search terms to try and find a salon in your city and you haven’t built a website and created an online presence, you should create a website immediately.
It doesn’t have to be a complicated, high-level design. It simply has to be nice-looking and hold all the relevant, up-to-date info such as contact information, locations, and a service menu with prices.
Add your social media accounts if those are up-to-date and useful, and consider optimizing your website with keywords in order to hit a higher rank on search engines.
Get listed on online directories: As soon as your website is up and running, get yourself listed on as many top online directories as possible. Some of these include Yelp, Bing, Yahoo and Yellow Pages.
Always link your online directory listings back to your website. The lack of a landing page or website is where a lot of drop-offs occur in converting sales or recruiting new clients. Being listed in online directories will also open up your business to more search avenues, which means you could appear higher in search results than before. It’s important to ensure that you consistently have traffic entering your sales funnel.
Create business pages on social media: Social media is proving to be an effective business tool, especially when you use Instagram, Facebook, Reddit, Yelp, Twitter, and Google+.
Build your pages and work at connecting with the huge untapped pool of people who could become your clients at some stage. Be sure to include your web address, photos, pricing sales, services, QR codes, and any promotional materials that could convert to sales.
Create local business partnerships: Spend some time looking up other local businesses and think about how your salon’s offering could potentially bring value to their product and vice versa.
Then, approach them and ask if they’d like to consider their product or service as part of a package deal with yours. Cross-promotion means you can double your potential client base.
Keep your promotional materials at your partner’s place of business, and vice versa, and make sure the call-to-action is always clear and enticing.
Turn People into Customers
How do you convert potential salon customers into actual salon customers?
Make a call-to-action work for you: Any place or piece of material in which your business is featured must have the all-important call-to-action.
Flyers, social media ads, posters – whatever is it, make sure you’re using it to promote and differentiate yourself with a unique call-to-action.
It could be something as simple as “bring this flyer in for a 10% discount on your next treatment.”
Create competitions for customers to win prizes: Winning a prize is a great incentive for anyone. By now you should have various platforms, including social media pages and your website, on which to run and promote a competition.
Decide on a really great prize, something that will make the average person perk up and act, and create a really simple entry process.
A really good entry process is sharing of information, such as “share this post” on Facebook. The post could include the salon details and other great deals, giving you great exposure to potential new salon clients.
You could even ask for email addresses during the entry process and use those email addresses to build a database for communications further down the line.
Use the power of the daily deal: Partnering up with a daily deal site can give you some much-needed exposure on a bigger scale. Make sure the discount you offer for the deal is a true incentive, as people pay upfront for these.
Even though a discount might seem like a loss, it’s actually an investment. There’s also nothing wrong with starting up your own daily deal via email, SMS, and social media.
Good old word-of-mouth and referrals: It’s simple. Let your customers know that if they bring in new customers, or refer people to your salon, they will get a discount on their next treatment.
This is especially effective with clients who want to have regular treatments, and therefore, will benefit from consistent discounts. A referral incentive is a great thing to run non-stop in the background, in between the competitions and deals.
Retain Your Existing Customers
You’ll work hard to grow your client base, but once you have, you’ve got to keep them. This is how you get repeat customers, the backbone in the long-term growth of any salon business.
It’s all about creating and maintaining a relationship in which they feel connected to you, and that they can rely on you.
Email marketing: Never underestimate the importance and efficacy of sending a simple email. Nearly everyone has an email account, and most everyone checks their email regularly. Use email marketing to promote deals and discounts.
You might want to add extra value by creating a newsletter that speaks about up-coming seasonal deals and new products you’re using.
Collect email addresses as consistently as possible, and soon you’ll have a killer email list where you can re-market your services. You can also use the help of email management technology, such as ConvertKit or MailChimp.
Get social: Your clients don’t only want you to speak to them. They also want to join the conversation. This is where social media is really handy, for easy, two-way conversations.
You don’t even have to wait for your clients to write to you, you can start a conversation by posting interesting statistics, salon updates, beauty therapist bios, and much more. Social media pages are also great for providing metrics for growth, so keep track of those too.
SMSs are your friend: SMS marketing is strangely underrated, although that seems odd, since sending a message via SMS means you’re reaching a potential client personally.
SMS is a great platform for sending coupons and other value-adds, such as a message about a discount for referrals. Make sure you collect phone numbers with email addresses and build this database as well.
It’s time for a blog: You may not fancy yourself a writer, but there are more than a few good reasons to start a blog about your salon and services.
First of all, you’ll keep your customers informed (a serious value addition).
Second, creating content about your salon will positively affect your standing in search results, which means more exposure for your website, and more sales conversions.
Third, to blog about your services, but also about your industry and best practices. This is a powerful tool in showing your customers that you know your stuff and are confident about it.
Fourth, its content that you get to share on your website and social media pages, creating a wonderful cross-pollination between all digital spaces. Who knows, you may write something that’s shared by your own customers.
Building the Best Website for Your Salon
As mentioned in the section above, a website is an integral part of your salon marketing plan. This is why it’s essential to build one that will work for you in many ways. It must be informative, authoritative, have regular additions, it should be easy to find, and it should allow your customers to find and contact you with ease.
Here’s a short guide to your salon website must-haves.
In the early days of web design, this was the whole reason for having a website, so that people could contact you. Years later, it is still a primary purpose for building a website, and so your salon’s contact info should still be mentioned prominently.
Make sure that your contact information is visible at the top of every page in your sitemap, so that no matter which page someone lands on when they search for you, they’ll know how to get hold of you immediately. What’s also really helpful is if you include social media links, as someone might prefer to engage with you in that way.
The services your salon offers
There are a number of ways to communicate your services and display them. Start with an overview on your home page, and then get a bit more creative with a page dedicated to services only.
This page can be designed in a number of ways, so choose the format that best speaks to your specific services. You can choose any of the following: a simple, clear list of services with short descriptions and pricing, photos, and videos of the services, or even a PDF that potential customers can download.
What’s also helpful is to have a featured service on your home page. You can update this every month or more often if you prefer.
Your appointments policy and booking functionality
Let potential customers know if you want them to book an appointment, or if they can simply arrive at the salon. If booking is essential, make it easy for them to do so, with a visible contact number, or an easy online booking form for them to complete. Make sure this can be done on both the home page and the contact page.
Link your website to Google Maps
This is an important consideration for your website – not only because you want people to find you as easily as possible, but because it’s another way to rank highly in search engines. This link should live on your website’s contact page.
Visual representations of your salon
You’ve probably worked very hard to design your salon, and to create a lush and comfortable space that your clients will enjoy and relax in. Why not bring this feeling to your website?
You can do this by taking some high-resolution, quality photos that show off your salon’s best features.
You can even make short videos that will help to convey the lifestyle element of your offering. What these photos and videos will do is make your salon location easy to recognize and answer any concerns over cleanliness and quality of equipment and treatments.
By now, you have written your offer and need a juicy call to action. What does a call-to-action mean? It basically means telling the reader what they should do next.
So many salon websites talk about their creative services, incredible team and stunning amenities. But, they forget to tell their readers what to do next.
So, include a lot of phrases like “phone to book”, “call now”, and “enter now” on all the pages on your website – not only on the home page.
Choose hard-hitting action words like “learn” “discover,” and “find” to persuade readers to take action.
Basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Opinions on the efficacy of SEO are polarizing. Some specialists swear by it, with metrics and conversions to prove it. Others, however, have little or no regard for the benefits of SEO. The great thing about it is that you can apply a very simple version of it to your website and reap the rewards.
Develop two or three keyword phrases for your website, and ask the developer or your writer to apply them in the copy. Doing this, in conjunction with linking to Google maps and having optimized media content such as photos and videos, will certainly increase your chances of high ranking on search engines.
Web Design: What are Your Options?
Now that we’ve covered all of the content a good salon website should contain, let’s move onto the aesthetics. It’s important that you choose or design a website that will communicate your salon’s style and level of exclusivity.
In a lot of cases, it’s probably going to be the first point of contact with potential customers, so make sure they get a feel for who you are from the get-go.
Choose a design that is modern and won’t easily look out-of-date, it will give customers the impression that your services and offerings are also modern and up-to-date.
Web design: Do I need to hire a web designer, or can I use an online tool?
Fact: Hiring a web designer is expensive. And if you’re just starting your salon business and already have a lot of capital invested in other things like furniture, equipment, and training, this particular expense is going to seem irrational.
However, just like everything else you’re paying for, this is an investment in the success of your business and a cornerstone in your marketing plan. Luckily, we live in a day and age where some very clever people have also understood the need for cost-effective, easy-to-use website builders.
There is no right or wrong in choosing to hire a web designer or in using a website builder. It’s all about YOUR salon’s needs. Here are some benefits of both, to help you weigh things up.
Hiring a web designer: Why it’s a good idea
- Choosing to go with a web designer means you are more likely to end up with a website that meets your specific end goals
- A website designer will spend time understanding your business and building a site that speaks to it
- Your website will invariably stand out more and have a host of custom features designed for your business
Using a DIY website builder: Why it’s a good idea
- DIY website builders can work really well for a start-up salon with a limited budget, and still provide just what you need
- You can build a nice-looking site for your salon in a very short amount of time
- DIY website builders are so easy to use because they’re built for beginners with little to no experience
- DIY website builders generally rely on drag and drop interfaces, which makes it quick and easy for you to arrange visual elements of your site (staff pictures, testimonial pictures, and videos) without any programming skills
Let’s Talk About Your Product: Salon Services
Services and treatments. This is how your salon will make most of its money. Every bit of effort and planning all comes down to your offering, and how good you are at putting it into practice.
Whatever services you specialize in, you should still have a view on how to drive maximum profitability through your salon.
Here’s a potential list of salon services for you to consider.
- Hair Coloring (Permanent, Semi, Temporary, Gray Blending, and Highlights)
- Blow-outs, Perms, Relaxers, and Retexturing
- Hair extensions (learn more)
- Braids (ex. box braids, crochet braids)
- Dreadlocks (ex. traditional dreadlocks, faux locs)
- Hair loss treatments (learn more)
- Conditioning treatments
- Makeup tattooing
- Micro-blading for eyebrows
- Image consultations
- Stretch mark removal
- Massage (full body massage, facial massage, hand/foot massage)
- Wraps and packs (used to reduce cellulite and water retention)
- Hydrotherapy treatments
- Facials and body exfoliation (which might include the use of body polish, salt glows, enzyme peels, and body masks like paraffin or mud)
- Body tanning (self-tanners and tanning beds)
- Waxing (underarms, back, legs, arms, bikini, face)
- Eyebrow arching
- Cosmetics application
- Color analysis
- Eyelash tinting
- Eyebrow tinting
- Body piercing
Thinking Out-of-the-Box When It Comes to Your Salon
Making a success of your salon isn’t limited to in-salon services alone. There are so many ways to expand on your skills and those of your staff. For example, this famous salon operates as a successful base to create and launch brilliant entrepreneurs into the beauty industry.
They’ve taken a lateral look at the beauty industry and used their talents to carve out a niche that they now own. And there are so many more ways to do this.
As mentioned previously, starting a beauty blog for your salon is a great way to use your passion and knowledge of the salon and beauty industries to promote your salon and multiple services. If the content you create is of a high standard, you could even be offered a guest-posting position in a reputable publication.
Organizing beauty exhibitions
This is an excellent way to use your beauty industry network and business connections to start a side business that can prove to be incredibly profitable. Not only will your salon have a prominent place as far as exposure goes, but you will also help to grow the industry for others.
Beauty product affiliate marketing
Once your blog is established, you can start reviewing products you use in your salon, highlighting those you’ve had great success with. Then, take a share of the profits from each sale through your review, without having to deal with any logistics or inventory.
Start an image consultancy
You’re already a large part of your clients’ image overhaul, so why not take that relationship a step further and offer them full image consultations?
Providing this service, at an extra cost, will also give your salon extra exposure as an industry leader. You don’t even have to open a separate location (premises) or use up any space in your existing salon, it could even be a mobile service.
Take the facials TO your clients
If you already offer facials IN your salon, why not offer them OUT of the salon?
There are so many busy professionals who really want treatments but simply can’t find the time to get to a salon. So why not go to THEM?
Some Salon Business Trends to Get Behind
Consumerism, even when it comes to services and not physical purchase, has changed for the better in that consumers are more concerned than ever about the waste and damage that go into their purchases and services.
They want to know where things come from, how they were sourced, and what kind of ecological footprint they leave.
Take this into consideration when you choose which styling products to stock and how you choose to dispose of your salon waste. This little bit of effort toward being as eco-friendly as possible will go a long way in securing new customers.
Add live video to your marketing mix
If you haven’t considered it yet, you should be planning ideas around live video! So much of the salon and beauty industry is visual (e.g., beauty content on YouTube is rapidly growing). This is a huge bonus for you above other industries.
Film your services and treatments live and share them with your audience, showcasing your brilliant skills and sharing the various personalities in your salon.
Take them on a before-and-after journey or share a simple tutorial with them. This form of communication is so interactive and actually helps consumers make decisions faster.
You can post these videos on YouTube, Facebook, record them live on Facebook, or do the same on Instagram. If you haven’t created an Instagram account for your salon, we’ll discuss why you need one next.
Get an Instagram account – immediately!
Instagram has over 800 million active users. And no, that’s not a typo. This is why, like Facebook, it’s one of the top platforms on which to promote your salon.
Beauty and styling are aesthetic, so this highly visual and social platform is really perfect.
It goes without saying that social media has an ever-increasing effect on purchasing behavior, so take advantage of that and keep your Instagram account up-to-date and in salon condition.
Customers want a unique experience when they walk into your salon – an experience that they feel was made just for them. If your salon can’t withstand personalizing each experience—don’t worry, you’re not alone.
However, you can do things like using an extensive variety of high-quality products that let you cater to the needs of any client who might walk into your salon.
Make sure your personnel is trained on the products and equipment you use.
You can also offer a free beauty consultation for first-time clients. If your clients feel understood and appreciated, you can turn any first-time client into a loyal one who will keep coming back.
Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Own Salon
Now that you know what you need to start a salon, let’s discuss some things that you need to avoid:
Ineffectively screening potential technicians
Don’t rush when it comes to hiring technicians (employees). You need to take the time to check the prospective employee’s education, training, job history, and abilities. Many salon owners get into difficulties when they don’t screen cautiously.
Not placing a yellow page’s ad
Being listed in the yellow pages is something you must do. Even if no new clients are acquired from the yellow pages, sometimes old clients need to look up your phone number or address.
Turning a deaf ear on employees
Your employees need to be valued. You probably had to go through a lot of interviews to find them, so take steps to keep them. Valuing your employees and making them happy not only helps keep them, but it can have many positive effects on your business.
Running the business without an accountant
An accountant is an expert who maintains and tracks all the money in your business. Make sure that your salon hires a qualified accountant to track your income and expenses. The accountant will help you pay your taxes, which is so important, so you can avoid any legal issues.
Not researching the demographics
Starting a salon business in a rush without first exploring the market and customers is a risk. This will help you understand your customers better.
So, get specifics on your competitors and what services they are offering, then target customers and their educational, economic, social backgrounds and so on.
Avoiding social media
Social media is a big stage to get your business out there to potential customers. Most of your potential clients are on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. After conducting some market research, you will learn which social media channels your target audience uses. Then, you need to make sure that your salon business is visible and interactive on those channels.
Opening and operating a salon takes an incredible amount of work and determination. If you follow the steps we have laid out, it will not only be rewarding, but it is also a lot of fun.
You’re able to be your own boss and do something that makes other people feel good about themselves. It’s vital to plan as much as you can and be willing to adjust as you learn what works the best for your business.