So you’ve completed all of your cosmetology courses, you’ve worked through your internships, you’ve gotten your license, and you’ve worked in salons owned by other people. Now what? Some hair stylists are content to work for a salon owned by someone else, but others would prefer to have the joys and the responsibilities of having their own salon. And for many people this could be a very wise decision. Business experts have long stated that, even during tough economic times, hair salons and spas are some of the top performing businesses.
It seems that even when people need to tighten their purse strings in some areas, looking fabulous is not one of them. If you’re ready to take the plunge and begin the process of opening a salon with your name on it. Follow these five steps and you will be well on your way to success in opening your own Beauty Salon.
Create a Business Plan
The first step with any business is to put a good plan in place. You’ll need to know everything down to the last detail. How much capital can you put up yourself? Will you need investors? How much debt can you take on and still maintain your other financial obligations. The best practice here is to work with both an accountant and an attorney. These types of experts can help you create a plan and advise you along the way.
Get Your Licenses in Order
You already have your stylist’s licenses, most likely proudly framed and hanging on the wall. However, as with any business you’ll need to establish what is required in your state, your county, and your town. Licensing procedures vary widely from place to place, so be sure to do your research. A great place to start would be on the website for the Small Business Association of America. They break down licensing requirements by state, so you can get a good idea of where and how you’ll need to proceed, so by the time your salon is ready to open you have everything in order.
Find and Buy Your Equipment
Perhaps you’ve decided to buy an existing salon that includes all equipment. If so, congratulations! You’re job just became much easier. If you need to purchase the equipment you’ll need for your space, there are several ways to do that. If you don’t have the budget to purchase your equipment outright, some companies offer financing. But you can save money in other ways, by purchasing salon towels in bulk, for instance, or by scouring local auctions for some great deals.
Hire Your Staff
A good staff is crucial to a successful business of any kind, but many salons have staff issues that are very unique from other businesses. Do you want your stylists to rent chairs from you or do you want them to work on commission? There are pros and cons to both. If your stylists simply rent a chair they act as independent contractors. If they work on commission then you as the owner carry more responsibility. Do some research and decide which model works best for you.
Create a Marketing Strategy
Now that you’ve gotten your space, your equipment, and your staff you still need one very important thing: customers. In many cases stylists come with their own clients, which is wonderful, but you’ll still need to devise a plan to convince other people why your new salon is now the best. Use social media to your advantage, but don’t overlook the power of face to face meetings, especially if you live and work in a small town. Visit other businesses in your town and get to know the owners. Offer to work in trade to get the word out. Join local business clubs and organizations and perfect your networking skills. Hang up your business card or flyer on every available surface. Customers will come, but you do have to work for them.
Having the power to be in charge of one’s career by owning a business is a thrilling and sometimes scary undertaking. Opening your own beauty salon is no different. Create your plan, obtain your licenses, get your equipment, hire employees, and market your new salon like crazy. Do whatever it takes to stand out and you could find yourself not only with a new business, but a very successful one at that.