If only opening a hair salon was as easy as ten steps, but it's a start! Jack Kilpatrick, owner and director of JKP HairSpa in Whitstable shares his experience and advice.
Step 1: Have a clear vision
You need to know what you want your business to be and the direction you want your salon to take. This will be the foundation on every decision you make going forward. At this very early stage I would be creating mood boards, Pinterest boards so I can really start to bring what’s in my head to paper and start to build the direction my new business will take.
Step 2: Plan, plan, plan!
Once you have created your vision you can now really start to put your plan in place, how do you want to move forward? You’ll need to start thinking about the location and size of the salon and also if you are going to have employed staff or self employed, how many staff you will have and also what product lines you will stock. This will start to form your business plan giving you the chance to really start moving forward.
Step 3: Write a business plan
You will need a business plan that covers every aspect of the business including research into the local competition, looking at how others are pricing their services, what is the footfall of the area, and what marketing strategies are you going to put into place. You will also need to look into budget forecasting. This should give you an overview and estimate of what you can expect the business to look like. Make sure when forecasting you plan for the worst case scenario for the business to still operate successfully when things can sometimes go wrong.
Step 4: Set up a financial plan
Once you have your business plan in place, this is the right time to speak with the banks or investors to get the money you need to start the business. Speaking from experience my number 1 piece of advise would be get more than you think you need. Ideally you would need to have 6 months contingency fund in the bank as sometimes it can be slippery slope and cause a lot of stress if finances are tight from the outset.
Step 5: Find your location
The location of your business is very important and can have an impact of what market sector you are trying to attract. In the times of social media I personally don’t think you need to be in the really expensive high street properties as a small business. Pick a back street and let the reputation of the business attract customers through recommendation and double down on marketing.
Step 6: Get designing!
I would highly recommend working with an interior designer and architect if possible as they will have good ideas on how best to use the space you have. If you are unable to afford them then to get the number of chairs as a rough guide is to find out the square footage of the shop and the divide it by 150. This should tell you how many chairs you can get in the salon
. This calculation includes a basin area, reception are and staff room.
Step 7: Recruitment
Whilst the renovation of the salon is happening you can also be recruiting the dream team you need to fulfil your business objectives. You should have a clear picture of how many stylists/receptionists/ assistants you need to start the salon from your business plan. Use local recruitment directories, social media and trade magazines to advertise the positions you are recruiting for. Make it exciting and different and let prospective hairstylists know why they should work for you.
Step 8: Marketing and PR
Through out the process of the building and recruiting you should also be marketing the opening of the salon so that you can hit the ground running once the doors open. In an ideal world I would work with a marketing and PR firm (LWPR) that specialises in the hair and beauty industry as they can advise you on best practices on what will most impactful. In your set up costs I would always allocate a good budget for marketing the opening.
Step 9: Training
Before you open you want to train all staff in the policies and procedures you want for the salon. I would recommend writing a salon policies and procedures manual that all staff have as a guide to how the salon runs. Try to get it right from day one as it is a lot easier to do from the start than to try and implement later.
Step 10: Host a soft launch party
Before you have a launch party I would recommended you have a good week or two of the doors being open and doing clients friends and family so that any teething problems can be found out and dealt with.
We hope that opening a hair salon brings you every success and fulfilment.