Many dream about launching a salon business and it’s no wonder; the industry generates nearly £7 billion1 in turnover every year and barbers, hairdressers, beauty salons and nail salons are all in the top 10 most popular start-ups in the UK2.

While often incredibly rewarding, launching a new business can be tough. To help you get started on your dream, we have put together a helpful guide to get the ball rolling on your business adventure!

Planning is everything

You need to design a step by step plan for your business to ensure a smooth start. From your pricing, services, products and staff, to location, style, legal requirements, insurance and finances – a plan lets you know where you are, where you want to be and how you will get there.

A mood board such as the one below is a great option for visualising the look and feel of your dream salon, and you can create a spreadsheet to note down and tick off individual steps.

Write down your aims and what you’ll do to achieve them, but don’t stop there – you need to revisit the plan regularly, evaluating where you’ve been successful and where things haven’t quite gone to plan. If you have a salon software which allows for monitoring and reporting on performance, this step will be much easier.

Money, money, money

Starting your own salon can cost anywhere between £3,000 and £35,0003, so you’ll want to carefully plan your budget and make sure to include a healthy margin.

Write out your costs in detail – as with a lot of things in life, owning a business is often more expensive than we expect. Consider how much you’ll need to spend on rent, furniture, products and equipment, insurance, wages and even stocking your kitchen. Then work out what your prices should be and how many clients you need per day to keep your business running.

Invest in products that are going to help your salon, but be mindful of what’s necessary and what’s just ‘nice to have’. If you’re opening a new salon, all you really need is to make it fresh, clean and tidy with a few choice pieces to showcase your personality and creativity. Remember that people don’t return because of your pretty furniture, but because you offer the best service.

To open a salon or to be mobile?

Do you want to open a salon, work from home or provide your services on a mobile basis? There are pros and cons to all, so consider which would suit your business goals and your life better.

Salons tend to have more overheads, but working from home results in less footfall as no one will be popping in on the off chance of a cut. Meanwhile, if you are mobile you will rely heavily on your car and require longer breaks in between customers for travel. Also, are you able to keep working if something happened to your car?

Marketing and promotion

When launching a salon business, marketing is essential to get customers coming through your doors. Social media is a fantastic way to promote your business, as many customers see it as a digital shop window where they can get a feel for you and your services.

Post regular offers and photos of your work to keep people interested, but make sure to have permission before posting a photo of someone – you can start by asking friends and family who have used your services if you are hesitant about asking new customers.

If you’re opening in a town centre, you could offer neighbouring businesses a discount for their employees. Or if you are in a residential area, try posting flyers in the neighbourhood.

Whether you are using pen and paper or a fully-fledged salon software, try to get plenty of personal and contact details from your customers so that you can contact them with tailored promotions. Just make sure you have customers’ permission to market them and remember you are not allowed to market to anyone under 16 years.

And finally…

Launching a salon business is tough and will involve lots of hard work, but most salon owners find that spending their days being creative and making people feel amazing about themselves makes it worth all the effort.

Hilary Hall, Chief Executive of the National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF) once said to The Guardian4: “Most people have a good understanding of the industry, but they struggle with the business and the finances. Business planning and getting the finance in place are crucial.”

This is where salon software such as SALONGENIUS comes in. Not only does it make things like bookings, marketing and record keeping much easier, but it also offers a wide range of reports, KPIs and performance gauges to let you know how your business is performing. Offering insight on everything from daily takings to return rates, no shows and product retail, you’ll gain invaluable insight into your business without ever having to reach for a calculator again.

If you would like to know more about what SALONGENIUS can do for your business, then book a demo with our friendly team!

1 NHF, Annual Business Survey 2014
2 Local Data Company, Leisure and Retail Report 2016
3 The Guardian, 21st May 2015
4 The Guardian, 21st May 2015