Opening your first beauty, nail or hairdressing salon is a daunting task. Your first day is something you look forward to but getting there takes a lot of work. Here is what to expect.
Things will not run smoothly all of the time
The first thing to say is that no matter how carefully you plan, things will go wrong. It is bound to, when it comes to opening business premises there are a lot of moving parts.
Prepare yourself for delays
You only need one thing to be done late for your schedule to slide. Therefore, you must build plenty of extra time into your setup process. Be realistic about what can be done and think carefully before pushing a service provider to do something earlier than initially stated.
They may agree, but often they will not deliver by the earlier deadline. When pressured, we all tend to say what the other person wants to hear and end up overcommitting as a result.
Working from a comprehensive checklist is essential
Even the most experienced business owners forget things. Whether you are opening your first store or your tenth one this ultimate checklist for opening a salon is essential. It explains what you need to do.
Importantly, the list is in the order everything has to be done. For example, there is no point in having a salon designed before you know for sure that you can get a license for the retail unit you want to use.
The first few weeks are likely to be crazy
Provided you have done a good job of marketing, you are likely to see an initial rush of customers. Especially if you run launch offers. This is a good thing but making a good first impression is essential. It is all too easy to become so busy that you can´t consistently deliver excellent service.
Your team is the key to success
Sometimes hiring an extra pair of experienced hands to take you through the first month or two is a good idea. They will help everyone to find their feet and get all of your processes up and running smoothly. If you want guidance on putting together a team of workers for your salon, click here.
It will take time to build your customer base
After the initial rush, when curiosity brings a lot of people in, things are likely to go a bit quiet. Most salons find that it takes about a year to establish a core group of clients that come in every week or month.
You need to stock take very regularly
Given the fact that the first few weeks are likely to be busy, it is important to have plenty of supplies in stock. Think carefully about what you need and place your order well in advance of your opening day.
From day 1, track how much of each item you are using to provide each treatment. Doing this will enable you to reorder things before you run out and understand the true cost of providing each of your services.
Initially, you should stock check at least once a week. This will help you to spot which supplies are going down faster than expected and which are just sitting there, unused. There is a lot of money tied up in that dead stock, so if you bought it on a sale or return basis, send it back. This guide will help you to manage the inventory of your new salon.
Your customers will surprise you
No matter how well you have done your research there will be customer needs and product trends that you have not anticipated. Be ready for this and adapt. So, leave a little in your budget to buy the supplies and equipment you may need to provide these extra services.
Your branding is more important than you think
Many small business owners do not think much about branding. Often, this is a mistake. With physical businesses, your branding is important. It is what helps people to remember that you are there and to think of you when they want their hair cut, nails done or beauty treatments.
Other salon owners can be your biggest allies
Most new salon owners are very surprised by how much they have to learn when opening their business. Being an employee of a salon is nothing like running your own. It is, therefore, a good idea to network with other owners. Listen to their experiences and read about them too in articles like this one and this one.