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How to Successfully Open a Hair Salon

How to Successfully Open a Hair Salon

Months of planning and years of dreaming often precede opening a new salon, and the last thing you want to see is for it to fail or struggle right out of the gate. Here are six factors that can help you have the most successful salon launch possible.

6 Factors that Impact a Successful Salon Launch

  1. Put a Salon Business Plan on Paper

Putting a simple business plan on paper is an exercise that won’t take a great deal of time, but can become invaluable in helping you answer a lot of questions about your salon and even plot its plan for growth. In it, you will define your target markets, which will in turn drive your marketing plan and provide direction when it comes to pricing products and services. You will decide on a business model, so that when your salon begins to grow you will already know whether it will be a salary-based salon or one that needs to attract booth renters and independent salon owners.

Perhaps even more importantly, your business plan is the document where you will write down your company mission and vision statement. These are the dreams that led you to start your salon to begin with. They are the statements where you will tell the world just how big your ultimate goals are, and how you plan to achieve them.

  1. Find the Right Location

There are hundreds of articles with advice on choosing a business location; however, this one factor may trump all the rest: Does a prospective location possess or have the ability to attract adequate numbers from among your chosen target markets? If the ideal client type you envision for your salon is not well-represented in the surrounding residential or business environment, your salon is likely to struggle. Even if the rent is low, if you cannot attract enough members of your target markets, it will be a problem. Conversely, if your rent is high, even if you attract a lot of new clients right away, your salon cash flow might still be inadequate.

  1. Select the Right Product Lines

You might have assumed your new salon would stock the retail lines and you would use the same products in services and at the backbar which you are most familiar with. However, this is not a decision that should be made without considering whether these lines will be those most likely to be recognized by and appeal to members of your target markets. Furthermore, it’s not a decision that should be finalized without understanding how these choices will impact profit margins and pricing considerations.

  1. Lay Out Two 90-Day Marketing Plans

Many entrepreneurs open their doors without doing very much marketing. Whether they have a misguided belief that word-of-mouth will drive curious community members as well as family, friends and acquaintances to fill the books or the marketing plan was simply lost among the countless other tasks that preceded the salon opening, its absence will be felt.

Ideally you will have two 90-day salon marketing plans in place. The first will be a plan that runs in the 90 days leading up to your salon’s grand opening. It’s role is to begin building demand for your services and creating intrigue about your brand, as well as doing the vital job of getting people to come to your grand opening event. The second will be the marketing plan for the three months that follow your salon’s launch. Its job is to continue to attract new clients as well as lay the groundwork for salon client retention and loyalty. The second plan can also be tweaked and systematized so that it forms the on-going marketing plan that helps you grow your salon during its first year.

  1. Set Pricing for Profitability

Pricing is one of the components of a formal marketing plan; yet for startups like new salons, it deserves special consideration. When setting pricing, there are many factors to consider, such as:

  • salon lease or mortgage payment
  • equipment lease or financing costs for furnishings
  • money promised to investors
  • payroll, commissions and associated taxes
  • products and supplies
  • facility and business insurance
  • income and business taxes

The costs that must be covered are only one aspect of setting pricing. Prices must also be appropriate for your brand when it comes to your target markets. For instance, are they price sensitive or would they be more likely to associate low prices with low quality. Understanding what the members of your target markets want as well as how they think must also guide your pricing strategy, as should another very important consideration: How much do you want (or need) to make?

  1. Plan a Salon Grand Opening

Your salon’s grand opening is another aspect of your overall marketing plan that merits its own break-out time for planning. The grand opening you hold to launch your salon could well be the buzz-building event that you hoped would help you fill up your books, but it won’t happen by accident and it won’t happen if your salon’s grand opening is like any other grand opening other businesses have held before you.

Hope is not a strategy when it comes to growing a business, nor is it a valid strategy when it comes to launching a new business. The more that you do to ensure a successful salon launch beforehand, the sooner you will be able to focus not only on running your salon, but on growing your business quickly.

What about you? What is the most innovative tactic you have seen to support the launch of a new salon or some other type of business? Leave your story in the comments below or tweet it to us at @KabbageInc.

Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.