Thinking of starting your own salon business? The haircare and beauty industry is still expected to grow to an $87 billion global market size in 2023 from $69 billion in 2016. So, whether you are an experienced hairdresser or an entrepreneur just thinking of jumping into the lucrative beauty industry, it’s definitely going to be an exciting ride. It’s no secret that people are spending more and more on beauty, so there’s never been a better time to open and run a salon than today. However, just because it’s such a promising industry, doesn’t mean success is guaranteed. Don’t get us wrong, many salon businesses will fail, and this is why having a clear strategy and planning the business right from the get-go is very important. Poor planning is a recipe for disaster for any business, and you wouldn’t want to follow the same steps. Here, we will discuss all you need to know about starting a salon business, and let us begin right away. Different Types of Salon Businesses Before anything else, you should consider that there are many different types of salons available, and you should first decide which type(s) your salon business is going to be: Traditional: you either rent or own a property where you set up your salon. Owning your own property will give you more freedom of doing what you want (i.e. decoration), but you’ll need a bigger startup cost. On the other hand, renting a property will lower your startup cost at the expense of freedom. Home-based: if you have a large enough space in your house, then you can start the salon as a home-based business. This will help lower your startup cost, but again, you won’t get much freedom. Depending on the location, there can be different requirements that might apply like the need for a special entrance, parking area, and so on. Mobile salon: in this business model, you (or your hairdresser/therapist) are the one visiting your client to provide hairdressing and/or beauty services. This can be an attractive service for very busy people or those who simply prefer service at their homes. Very low startup costs, but you’ll need to consider transportation and logistics. Also, it can be more difficult to scale the business with this model. Franchise: pretty self-explanatory, in this model you are licensing a salon of an existing brand with franchise opportunities. You’ll get support from this brand (i.e. training, marketing), but the initial startup costs will be higher since you’ll also need to pay the franchise fee. Also, you’ll have less freedom in designing your own salon space and in expanding your business. Market Research Before committing to starting a salon, it’s crucial to first perform market research to assess three things: Whether there’s enough demand for another salon in the area. Even if you are going to be the only salon, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee demand. Who are going to be your potential clients and how to attract them The competition in the area, whether it’s manageable, and how you are going to compete Nowadays, you can perform pretty decent market research and competitive analysis even with just Google searches. The better you understand your target market and your competition, the more successful your business will be. Establish a Strong Brand and Online Presence Even if your salon is going to be located in a prime, busy area, you won’t be able to survive from walk-ins alone. You’ll need to establish strong and recognizable branding so potential clients know who you are, where your location is, and especially why they should visit your salon instead of your competitors. Decide on a unique and easy-to-pronounce/remember salon name, and be consistent with your branding efforts from the design of your logo, your salon’s interior, your website, social media posts, and others. Also, establish your online presence in four different areas: Your website: There are numerous affordable (and even free) services that can help you build a professional-looking website. So, there’s simply no excuse not to have one. Your website should feature complete information about your salon and the services you provide (including prices), attractive photos and videos, and a reliable online reservation function. Social media Pretty self-explanatory, regularly post on relevant social media networks (mainly Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest) to build loyal followers. Consider investing in social media ads and influencer marketing. Online reservation 40% of online bookings nowadays actually happen after hours. So, a flexible, 24/7 reservation is a must. Make it as easy as possible for potential clients to book their appointments, and this is why you should integrate a reliable online salon booking system to your website and social platforms. Google Maps SEO Make sure your Google Maps listing is available on the top spots when potential clients search for queries like “salons near me”, “hairdressers near me”, and similar ones. You can do this by: Claiming and verifying Google Maps/Google My Business listing Optimizing your Google My Business Listing, focus on providing accurate and complete information for your users. Building local citations by listing your salon business on relevant online directories Getting more reviews from existing clients, especially on Google Maps but also on relevant review sites/platforms Closing Thoughts The secret to a successful salon business, or any business, is proper planning. By following the tips we’ve shared above, you can start planning and designing your salon business for success from the start. There are a lot of marketing ideas and strategies that can transform the way your salon gets more clients and grows your business. The marketing and branding tips we’ve shared above can be your foundations in building a comprehensive marketing strategy for the long term. Remember that the secret of marketing success is knowing and understanding your target audience. The better you provide value and benefits and solve their pain points, the more satisfied they’ll be and the more likely they’ll recommend your salon to others. This is how you grow your business naturally.