The Pitfalls To Avoid When Becoming A Salon Owner

Written by Chloe Harwood

Launching your own business is daunting. That’s why so many people never act upon their dream, instead choosing to remain an employee rather than a business owner and an employer. However, if you are part of the beauty industry that requires creative flair and vision, and you also have a brain for business, you have a great chance of becoming a successful salon owner. Imagine venturing to your premises every morning to open up the salon doors safe in the knowledge that the brand, the premises, and the company are all yours. You no longer have to report into a manager or check with the head stylist to see if you can cut hair in a certain way. This is your venture, your dream, and your business.

Setting up a hair salon is not without its pitfalls. A mind blowing 80% of businesses cease trading within the first eighteen months, and it’s vital that you do everything within your power to ensure that you don’t fall into this statistic. Take a look at these mistakes to avoid when setting up a hair salon to ensure that you have the greatest chance of business success.

Getting The Premises Wrong

Selecting a location for your salon can be a minefield. The choice of area, building type, and lease price is vast, and it can be hard to strike the correct balance. Those salons that make the gravest errors are those that choose to base their business in an area that is already seeing retail outlets shut up shop and that have very little or no passing trade. The rents in this area are cheap for one reason only: no one can feasibly run a successful business from an area like this.

At the other end of the scale, you may have fallen in love with a stunning building in the center of town where there is mammoth foot fall of your target clientele of wealthy thirty something women. That’s great, isn’t it? It could be but what if the lease is expensive and you can’t make the sums add up? You could be doing a roaring trade generating new leads every day and securing repeat appointments but if you are still not covering your rent, you cannot afford to pay your staff, and you are nowhere near even breaking even then your business is doomed to fail.

Ensure that you find a premises that is within the budget that you have set out in your business plan which has the right mix of adequate space, strong foot fall and good accessibility.

Not Investing In Logistics

Like any business, salons have become more technologically advanced over the last decade. As well as online marketing through personal blogs, social media channels and email campaigns, it pays to look into software to aid in the smooth running of the business. By taking up the offer of a salon software free trial, you can experience the increased efficiency this promotes and see the benefit to your business first hand. Your receptionist will no longer have to spend hours providing that courtesy phone call to all clients reminding them of their appointments as the software will do it for you. It can even run your payroll and help you analyze your finances allowing you and your staff team more time to be productive elsewhere.

Hiring The Wrong Stylists

It’s vital that you interview adequately when hiring your first intake of staff. These are the initial people that will be cutting, styling and coloring your clients hair. The chances are that these first impressions will result in at least one or two reviews on social media channels or review sites that other potential customers may see, so you need their experiences to be positive.

There is nothing worse than hiring staff on a whim without taking up references or assessing skill levels. You may end up with an employee who has fabricated their resume, always turns up late and is only at your salon for the money. You must check their employment history and start them on a trial run so you can assess their credentials. If you’re happy with them and believe that they will foster the ethos of your business, then you can welcome them into your salon family full time.

Not Being Proactive

You could have the most creative stylists, the finest premises and provide the most exceptional customer experience yet if no one is aware of this, your customer base will never become established. It’s imperative that you secure an online presence for your business. You need a website, a blog and the standard social media accounts. Potential customers want to read high-quality content online and need to be wowed visually. As you are trying to make a name for yourself within a creative industry, the visual aesthetics of your website need to be more impressive than, say, an accountant or doctor’s surgery.

Make sure that your Facebook page and Twitter feeds are current and relevant. Try and post something at least every other day whether this is a link to your latest blog post or a promotional offer for new customers. If you don’t have any online presence and you are relying solely on passing traffic, you are missing out on the largest tool to capture potential customers. This will inevitably mean that your salon will not keep up with the more proactive and established businesses in your vicinity.

Inability To Control Your Budget

If you aren’t the most number savvy person and you want to limit costly mistakes, ensure that you keep all financial dealings as simple as possible or employ the services of an accountant who specializes in helping startups to support with your banking, tax implications and profit/loss calculations.

Don’t overpay your stylists and ensure you keep overheads down to a minimum without forfeiting on quality. If a client would like a glass of champagne while they wait for their consultation, you don’t have to serve them a large flute of Dom Perignon. Be astute and choose quality but at an affordable price to the business.

Setting up any creative venture is rife with pitfalls. However, if you take note of this guide, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that your salon does more than just survive its first eighteen months but that it thrives.

About the author

Chloe Harwood