Making the transition from full-time employee with a steady job, promotion prospects and a regular wage to a business owner complete with the stresses and strains of not knowing how much you’ll be making month by month and trying to establish yourself amongst your competitors can be difficult. However, there must be a little voice inside you that’s egging you on to give it a go, to unshackle yourself from ties of employment and attempt to set up your own boutique hair salon. You’ve worked in the industry for the past decade, you have contacts, you understand the world of bobs, barnets, and perms inside out and you think that you have a good chance of making it on your own. So what’s stopping you from taking the plunge?
It’s very easy to have a dream. It’s a million times harder to turn your business vision into a reality. But it can be done. A staggering half a million people start new businesses every month in the U.S. You could be one of those successfully branching out on your own if you follow this guide to opening a successful boutique hair salon.
It’s vital that you formulate a business plan before you sign a lease, start designing your logo or begin cutting hair. At its most basic your business plan should detail your vision, look to the future with revenue and profit forecasting and show how you are going to fund your venture. Financial backing can come from a traditional route like the bank or family and friends, but it’s also worth considering the services of a business angel. This is a professional investor who will put their money into the business if they see a financial benefit to them. You’ll also need to contribute some of your own savings or cash. No investor will appreciate you putting nothing into your business when you have a swanky little convertible sitting in your driveway.
Don’t forget to look into the relevant insurances and legislation that you need to be aware of. You may need professional or personal indemnity insurance so shop around for the best prices.
When your finances and business vision are sorted, you will have the foundations of a flourishing hair salon business. One of the first really exciting aspects of setting up your salon will be finding the premises where you’ll be locating it. The choice will be immense especially if you’re going to be city based. However, there are certain things that you must consider. If you will be relying on a lot of passing traffic, you must be somewhere visible that gets a lot of foot fall. City center locations work a treat but can be expensive, so you’ll need to do your sums to make sure that this sort of location still sees your business turning a profit.
You could consider an area that is more up and coming. The rents will be cheaper, and you could be one of the businesses that enter the environment and helps shape it to become a thriving a prosperous retail hub.
Think about the sort of building you want to emulate your brand. If you are marketing your boutique salon to the urban hipster, a renovated warehouse space with exposed bricks and high ceilings might mirror your brand. If you’ll be providing a more intimate experience, low lighting and a smaller building could fit the bill. You need to strike the right balance between space, location, and budget – not an easy task but doable.
It is worth considering early on how you will run your hair salon. If you’re taking on staff, they need to have defined roles. Will you require a receptionist, color specialists, beauty therapists? You will need to ensure that your employees share in your vision for the company and feel motivated to work their hardest and be at their most productive. Ensure that they are all trained to use the salon scheduling software that you have selected to ensure the smooth running of your salon. Implementing this tool means that you’ll be able to manage appointments, send out automatic reminders to clients, set up email marketing campaigns and even see which of your stylists are retaining most clients. The intuitive software can make your business more efficient and allow you to get on with the creative aspect of your job rather than doing too much number crunching and stats analysis.
It goes without saying that you need to know how to cut hair if you want to open a salon. Consider everything you have achieved in your career and write it down. Have you won awards? Have you worked with some prestigious stylists? Did you ever lend your services to a fashion show or a community project? By formulating a list, you’ll be able to work out what to tell your potential customer base about yourself. They want to have confidence in their stylist so displaying your credentials is hugely important.
In this day and age, any business wanting to be successful will need to provide exceptional customer service. If you make your customer experience provision a number one priority, you’ll make your clients feel valued. Ensure that you offer an incentive scheme for repeat appointments, begin a ‘refer a friend’ initiative and get the basics right by offering each client a drink as they wait to be seen. Clients want to feel pampered. This is part of the boutique salon experience. Make a name for yourself by having world class customer service and your clients will rave about you online generating further leads and more custom.
Setting up your own hair salon can be daunting and terrifying, but ultimately it is exciting and thoroughly rewarding. As chief stylist, business leader and manager of the purse strings, you’ll be wearing many more hats to see your business venture take off and thrive. So why not take the plunge and turn your boutique salon dream into a reality.