People want to look good all year round which makes the personal grooming business a money-making industry. But just like any other venture, opening up a salon is littered with challenges that can lead to your undoing if you make the wrong move.
Avoid These 7 Mistakes Salon Owners Make
Due to the complicated nature of the job along with the myriad of responsibilities that go with it, a startup salon owner is bound to make mistakes along the way. But this doesn’t have to be the case if you carefully avoid the mistakes committed by those who came before you. Here they are.
1. Not knowing the customers’ needs
Ask anyone why women go to salons and the standard answer would be to make them look beautiful. But there is more to it. The real reason is not only for them to look beautiful but to feel young and beautiful, too. Beautifying oneself is about propping up self-confidence, self-esteem and pride which doesn’t carry a price tag.
Another little-known fact about going to the salon is its therapeutic effect on the emotion. Aside from getting dolled up, women talk a lot with their stylist and fellow customers, which is why they don’t mind spending a lot of time there. Going to the salon can be likened to a de-stressing ritual where they are pampered so they can forget about their worries.
Owners should take note of these facts and make sure that the customers’ stay is relaxing and conducive for bonding. Install air-conditioning and proper lighting. Make the interiors beautiful and neat. Have a ready supply of fashion and gossip magazines. Make sure that the TV shows programs that cater to women like soap operas and talk shows.
2. Neglecting customers
Sometimes salon owners are engrossed in attracting new customers that they forget their long-time patrons. Show appreciation to your regulars by throwing them a party during the anniversary of your opening. You can also give them a loyalty card wherein they can avail of a free haircut every 11th time they come back.
Train your beauty therapists on how to interact with the customers by asking the right questions without making them feel uncomfortable and providing them with personalized service. Once the customer walks out your door rejuvenated and feeling good about herself, she will reward you by referring her friends to your salon.
3. Failing to take care of business
One of the biggest mistakes of most salon owners is running the shop as a creative venture rather than as a business venture. Relying on your creative talents alone will not keep your business going. You might get plenty of clients, but it doesn’t assure profits.
Once you become a salon owner, you must devote your time building your business, not behind the chair. Leave the craft to your stylists and concentrate on other aspects of your business like management and marketing. Invest in human capital through training programs to update your beauty therapists on the latest trends in makeup and hairstyling.
Don’t be afraid your stylists might leave after creating their own following. Many actually did but took with them only the creative knowledge, not the business experience, the reason why they failed in the long run. To keep your employees, cultivate an environment where they can have fun at work and enjoy a fulfilling creative outlet while earning a good living.
4. Not valuing employees
Entrepreneurs work hard fixing every problem of their business that they tend to disregard their employees’ concerns until the problem becomes too big to handle. Disregarding complaints breeds discontentment and worse, resentment among employees.
Small problems like who should clean up after closing and rivalry between peers should be dealt with immediately. Organize an employees’ outing with team-building activities every two years to foster teamwork in your workplace. Let their families join the day out.
Include your employees in drawing plans for them to develop a sense of belongingness in your business. Most often the best ideas come from the employees themselves. Take care of your workers to minimize employee turnover and spare you from the constant training of replacements.
5. Star complex
As the owner, you may tend to feel very important to the point of believing that your salon won’t be able to operate properly without you. This should never be the case. In fact, this could potentially hold back your business from growing. Don’t expect to branch out to other locations if this is your attitude as you will never be able to manage multiple branches.
A truly successful business is one that runs smoothly even without your presence. Your employees are so good at their jobs that they no longer need constant supervision which would allow you to do other things like going on a vacation. This means you are able to earn money by letting your employees do all the work for you.
The key here is training which some owners avoid for fear that their employees will just leave them and set up their own shop. But this won’t happen if they are satisfied and well paid. Well-treated employees tend to be loyal as they stick to the workplace where they are happy.
All your hard work in starting your business begins to pay off the moment you are no longer the star of your salon. That is also the best time for you to branch out or venture in other kinds of business. In the event you decide to sell your salon, buyers will find value in its sustainable cash flow as they are confident regular patrons will stick with it despite the change of ownership.
6. Taking marketing for granted
Opening shop at a busy spot does not mean customers will flock to your establishment. Businesses located in supposedly “high traffic” areas have actually closed. Relying on word of mouth alone to promote your business does not assure the desired results. You have to get the word out that you have opened a new salon.
How do you do that? By embarking on a marketing strategy. Advertise in your local newspaper preferably with discount coupons. Sponsor a school or town fair beauty pageant by offering free hair and makeup to the candidates and providing some of the minor prizes.
Have a strong presence in social media where you can post photos of the hair and makeup job you did on satisfied clients (with their permission, of course). Having your own website is fine but you can take advantage of the other platforms for free like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
7. Spending too much on beauty products
If you’re attending a convention for salon owners, don’t fall for the marketing gimmicks of hair and beauty products sold at trade booths. They’ll make you buy the products in bulk at a wholesale price only to end up with too much stock in your salon which you will have a hard time disposing.
The truth is that customers go to salons to get their hair done, not to buy the products on display. What they are paying for is the stylist’s skills. What they really care about is the result which means they don’t care what product you use on them. Otherwise, they’ll just buy the product and do the makeup and hairstyling themselves.
If this was helpful, and you want to learn more about opening your own salon and get started now, we’ve created a hair salon startup checklist for you. Click here to get your free Hair Salon startup checklist today.